Meghan Markle is kicking off the new year with a major new royal responsibility. The Duchess of Sussex is officially taking over from the Queen as the royal patron of the National Theatre. This marks Meghan's first patronage as a member of the royal family, coming almost eight months after she married Prince Harry in May 2018.
The news was first reported by Carolyn Durand and Kate Mansey for The Mail on Sunday. and was confirmed on January 10. Sources told The Mail that the Queen gave her granddaughter-in-law the responsibility "as a mark of her growing confidence in the Duchess," Durand and Mansey report. The Palace formally announced the news on social media revealing that, "Her Majesty The Queen has passed on two Patronages to The Duchess of Sussex – @NationalTheatre and @The_ACU. The Queen has held the roles for 45 and 33 years respectively."
It was previously rumored that Meghan would take over the theater patronage after she had a private meeting with its director, Rufus Norris, in December. It's a fitting position for the duchess, who built a career as an actress before becoming a royal.
Meghan's duties as a royal patron will include "strengthening connections between the theatre and American benefactors," The Mail reports. The former actress has an advantage here, as she grew up in the U.S. The role may also involve working with The American Associates of the National Theatre, a New York-based charity that helps raise funds for the theater's productions.
Meghan's sister-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge, who married into the royal family in 2011, has her fair share of royal patronages. They range from various museums (a nod to the duchess's love of art) to child care charities. Her first patronage was for The Royal Foundation, which was announced in October 2011, six months after her wedding to Prince William.
We haven't seen Meghan out and about since she attended the church service with the royal family on Christmas Day, but royal fans can expect to see her again soon. Kensington Palace announced this morning that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have their first engagement of the year set for next Monday, January 14.
The couple will visit Birkenhead, which is just outside of Liverpool. They'll meet with a number of local organizations, including Tomorrow's Women, a charity that offers workshops, courses, and activities for local adult women, and The Hive, a center for youth with disabilities.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will visit Birkenhead on Monday 14th January.- Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 7, 2019
Their Royal Highnesses will visit a number of local organisations that support and empower groups within the local community, including @TomorrowsWomen and @TheHiveYZ. pic.twitter.com/hC3Q5uK25n
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