Her Majesty The Queen has passed on the Royal Patronage of the National Theatre to The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, after 45 years in the role.
Having been associated with the National Theatre for 45 years, serving as Royal Patron since its formative days at The Old Vic in the 1960s, The Queen is transferring the title of Royal Patron to The Duchess of Sussex, who has spent decades championing the arts and hopes to harness them to unite people from different backgrounds and communities.
As a former actress, The Duchess’ training came while treading the boards; she holds a double major in theatre and international relations from Northwestern University. During this time, she volunteered at a performing arts after-school programme for underprivileged children.
Her Majesty The Queen last visited the National Theatre in 2013, reopening the Southbank venue on its 50th anniversary following major redevelopments, as well as meeting the iconic puppet Joey from War Horse.
Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre, said: “I would like to thank The Queen for Her Majesty’s long and unwavering support and service to the National Theatre. We were honoured when The Queen became our Patron in 1974 and have celebrated many moments together including, in recent years, the Diamond Jubilee and the marking of our 50th anniversary.
“It is a privilege to welcome The Duchess of Sussex as our new Patron. The Duchess shares our deeply-held conviction that theatre has the power to bring together people from all communities and walks of life. I very much look forward to working closely with Her Royal Highness in the years to come.”
The Duchess is expected to carry out a public visit to the National Theatre in the coming weeks.