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Queen Camilla

Queen Camilla steps in where Anne Boleyn feared to tread

When King Charles ascended the throne in September 2022, Buckingham Palace announced that a full review of royal patronages was under way. The review has been concluded, and a new list of royal patronages has been shared. Queen Camilla has taken on several new patronages, including one that dates back to the twelfth century. 

It was announced this week that The Queen will be patron of the Royal Foundation of St. Katharine. The organisation was originally founded by Queen Matilda (wife of King Stephen) in 1148. Originally, it was a religious hospital where thirteen poor parishioners were chosen to live in the priory and say mass for Matilda, Stephen, and their family in exchange for care. 

The hospital continued on until 1825 when its buildings were demolished in order to make space for the new St. Katharine’s Docks. It was rebuilt northeast of Regent’s Park where it still is today. 

As of 2011, the Royal Foundation of St. Katharine offers urban retreats for a sense of calm within a busy London. It also has a community food bank to help vulnerable families in the community. 

Queen Camilla is the thirtieth Queen to act as patron to the RFSK since Queen Matilda’s founding. Almost all queens of England and then Britain have taken on this role; Anne Boleyn is a notable exception. 

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Historian and blogger at AnHistorianAboutTown.com