In their roles as the leaders of the nation, the members of the Royal Family are involved with some charities across the UK. Since the 18th century, the Royal Family have been associated with the charities of their choice. Between them, they currently hold 3,000 patronages of charitable organisations.
As an active and hardworking member of the Royal Family, the Princess Royal too has lent her name to a range of charities and organisations. Among these is the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU), an association of which the Princess has a been a Patron for nearly 30 years.
The Scottish Football Union, as it was known then, was founded in 1873, ahead of the formation of the International Rugby Football Board in 1886. The very first rugby international match was played at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh, on a cricket field. This tradition persisted, and all international matches in Scotland were played on cricket fields, until 1897, when the Scottish Football Union bought land at Inverleith.
Inverleith was the home of Scottish Rugby until the Murrayfield Stadium was built in 1925. Shortly before the completion of the stadium, the SFU changed its name to the Scottish Rugby Union. Princess Anne has been a regular visitor to Murrayfield since the 1980’s and watches team Scotland play multiple times a year.
“The Princess Royal is a long-standing and committed supporter of Scottish rugby,” said a spokesperson for the SRU. “We were greatly honoured when she performed the official opening of the East Stand at Murrayfield in 1983 and were absolutely delighted when she became our patron in the 1986-7 season. She has been a most welcome visitor to Murrayfield in her capacity as our patron in every season since.”
Her Royal Highness is also associated numerous sporting charities, including Friends of Scottish Rugby and Gloucestershire County RFU. In 2012, the London Scottish FC announced that Princess Anne was their new Patron, making them the only Rugby Club with a Royal patronage.
Tomorrow, Princess Anne will attend the RWC2015 match between Scotland and Japan – and it’s not hard to guess which team she will be rooting for!
Photo credit: Harry (Howard) Potts