Buckingham Palace announced on Tuesday 20 December that Her Majesty The Queen will be stepping down from her role as patron for 25 organisations at the end of 2016 and that the patronages would be taken on by other members of the royal family.
It has now been revealed that His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge will succeed his grandmother as patron of the Welsh Rugby Union.
The transfer of the patronage to Prince William was of little surprise as he has been vice royal patron of the union since 2007 when the WRU created the Prince William Cup in 2007 to celebrate the 100 years of rugby union history between Wales and South Africa. Prince William was present at the inaugural match at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales on 24 November 2007and presented the trophy to winners South Africa.
Welsh Rugby Union president Dennis Gethin released a statement thanking Her Majesty for her support over the years and making it clear the WRU eagerly welcomes the patronages of the Duke.
Mr Gethin, who was awarded his OBE by Prince William earlier this month, welcomed the Duke’s new appointment saying, ‘We are delighted that the Duke of Cambridge will take over from his grandmother as patron of the Welsh Rugby Union…Since becoming vice patron in 2007, His Royal Highness has been a great ambassador, not only for the Welsh Rugby Union, but for young people and for sport generally.’
Gethin added that Prince William ‘makes a great difference to everyone he meets on his regular visits to Wales and to Principality Stadium, interacting with all kinds of individuals and groups including players past and present, volunteers, apprentices, veterans and staff.’
It was also announced that His Royal Highness Prince Harry will take over as royal patron of the RFU, the English Rugby Union, which The Queen has been patron of since 1952. Harry has been vice royal patron of the union since 2010.