Just in: The Queen hands the Duchess of Sussex her first patronages
Here’s what she’ll oversee
It’s going to be a busy year ahead for the Duchess of Sussex. Not only is the new royal preparing to welcome her first child with Prince Harry in the spring, she has also just been given her first patronages by the Queen.
Kensington Palace announced the news in a release just moments ago, revealing that Meghan is now the patron of four organisations which they said "reflect the causes and issues with which she has long been associated including the arts, access to education, support for women and animal welfare."
From today, the Duchess is the official patron of The National Theatre and of The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU). Furthermore, she will also handle the patronage of two charities, Smart Works (which helps unemployed and vulnerable women find work and develop their professional skills) and Mayhew (a charity focused on the wellbeing of animals), moving forward.
Queen Elizabeth served as the patron for The National Theatre for 45 years and The Association of Commonwealth Universities for 33, making these causes incredibly important ones to hand over to Meghan. It is fitting that Meghan will now work with The National Theatre given her extensive acting career prior to becoming a royal, and the fact that she did a double major in theatre and international studies at Northwestern University. Her other patronage was hinted at during her first royal tour in Fiji where Meghan announced new Gender Grants for ACU member universities in the Pacific. She also met with various leaders and students from the ACU network in previous months to tackle some of the world's most pressing topics including human trafficking and climate change.
Meghan will make her first visit as Patron of Smart Works today with visits to the other three organisations scheduled over the coming weeks.
In the release, the Palace noted the Duchess "is delighted to become Patron of both national and grassroots organisations that are part of the fabric of the UK, and is very much looking forward to working with them to bring wider attention to their causes. Her Royal Highness feels she can use her position to focus attention on, and make a particular difference to these organisations, and more widely, the sectors they represent."
The Duchess is also a patron of The Royal Foundation alongside Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.