The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, has been announced as the National Theatre’s new Royal Patron.
After 45 years in the role, Her Majesty the Queen has passed on the patronage to the Duchess of Sussex. This ends a long association between the Queen and the National Theatre dating back to the theatre’s beginnings at the Old Vic in the 1960s.
Markle’s decision to become the Royal Patron is part of her philosophy that the arts can be used to bring people of different backgrounds and communities together. The Duchess of Sussex herself worked as an actress most notably on the TV show Suits, but her training began in theatre, receiving a double major in theatre and international relations from Northwestern University. The Duchess of Sussex has also spent time volunteering at a performing arts programme for children in underprivileged schools in Los Angeles.
Rufus Norris, artistic 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 news was accidentally leaked on the National Theatre website yesterday prior to today’s official announcement.
The Duchess of Sussex is expected to carry out a public visit to the National Theatre in coming weeks with details still to be announced.