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The Not Forgotten Association: Close to the Royal Family’s hearts for a century

The Royal Family are associated with a large number of organisations and charities, with these relationships often dating back many years. This is particularly true of the Not Forgotten Association, for whom a garden party will be held at Buckingham Palace on 23 May, to be attended by HRH The Duchess of Gloucester.

The origins of the association began in 1919, when Marta Cunningham, an American soprano, discovered thousands of injured servicemen in hospitals across the country. In one hospital alone, Marta found approximately 600 patients. In a wish to provide support and entertainment to these servicemen, Marta formed the Not Forgotten Association.

The Royal Family have been involved with the association since it’s inauguration and with the permission of King George V and Queen Mary, the first garden party was held at Buckingham Palace on 12 August 1920. Within the first year alone, around 10,000 service personnel were supported, through the provision of afternoon teas and musical entertainment. Cigarettes and tea were provided at the first garden party, and the service personnel toured the Royal Mews and relaxed in the gardens of the palace.

The charity now organises and provides leisure and recreational activities, travel and holidays for serving personnel who are wounded or injured and for veterans with illness or disability. The charity supports serving personnel and veterans from the British Army, the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, the Royal Marines and the Merchant Navy. The motto of the association is ‘from comradeship to challenge’, and the support given is designed to boost morale, confidence and wellbeing.

The first royal patron of the association was Princess Mary, and on her death in 1965, this patronage passed to The Duchess of Kent. Princess Anne is the association’s current patron, taking on this role in 2000. A garden party continues to be held annually at Buckingham Palace for the association, who have provided support to approximately one million service men and women since the organisation’s creation.