It was widely speculated and much talked about and now we have official confirmation. Among the four new patronages being taken on by the Duchess of Sussex is that of the National Theatre.
Meghan takes over the role from the Queen who has been the organisation’s royal patron since 1974. The Queen had provided support for the National Theatre from its earliest days in the 1960s. She officially opened its now world famous home on London’s South Bank in 1976 and has visited regularly since. She now passes all that on to the Duchess of Sussex.
As it was announced that Meghan would become the National Theatre’s patron, the Royal Household underlined her commitment to theatre and its role in bringing different communities together. Meghan’s degree, from Northwestern University, is in theatre and international relations while she also volunteered at an after school programme in performing arts for children in underprivileged areas of Los Angeles.
The National Theatre was set up with the aim of making world class theatre accessible to everyone. As well as shows at its London base, it has regular productions touring the UK and internationally. The organisation also has an ongoing learning programme across the country as well as writing schemes and digital projects including a free streaming service for schools to allow pupils to access theatre.
The National Theatre said it was honoured to have the Duchess of Sussex as its new patron with its Director, Rufus Norris, adding ‘’the Duchess shares our deeply-held conviction that theatre has the power to bring together people from all communities and walks of life’’. He also thanked the Queen for her involvement with the organisation, praising her ‘’long and unwavering support and service’’ and saying ‘’we have celebrated many moments together including, in recent years, the Diamond Jubilee and the marking of our 50th anniversary’’.
The Duchess of Sussex announced three other patronages on January 10th – Smart Works (which helps women into employment), the Association of Commonwealth Universities and animal welfare charity, Mayhew.