The National Theater said it was delighted the Duchess of Cornwall, a long-standing supporter for the arts, had been given the role, describing her as a devoted fan of theater and champion of literature and drama. Rufus Norris, director and joint chief executive of the National Theater, hailed the appointment made by the Queen.
He said: “It is a privilege to welcome the Duchess of Cornwall as the National Theater’s Royal Patron.
“The Duchess shares our belief that theater enriches our lives in so many ways and that everyone should have access to the arts and creativity no matter where they are in the world.
“The duchess has shown great support to our industry throughout the pandemic, and I look forward to working with Her Royal Highness for many years to come.
“I would also like to express my thanks to the Queen for Her Majesty’s long and unwavering support and service to the National Theater.”
The Queen has been associated with the National Theater since its earliest days at the Old Vic in the 1960s, last visiting with the Duke of Edinburgh, as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations in 2013.
The appointment of Camilla by the Queen marks the first of the Duchess of Sussex’s former patronages to be taken over since she stepped back as a senior member of the Royal Family with her husband Prince Harry.
Royal Expert Marlene Koenig commented on Twitter that Meghan only held another two patronages, one of which was shared with her husband.
She said: “The only other two are the queens commonwealth trust and the association of Commonwealth Universities. The former was with the Duke of Sussex. “
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It comes after the Duchess of Cambridge became the new patron of the England Rugby Union, making Kate the first Royal to take over one of Prince Harry’s former roles, a year after he was stripped of his honorary titles.
The new duty for Camilla is another sign of the Queen’s faith in her daughter-in-law, who she endorsed as a future Queen Consort while marking her historic Platinum Jubilee last month.
Her Majesty confirmed in February of last year that it will not be possible for Harry and Meghan to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service as they stepped away from the work of the Royal Family.
Back in June 2019, Kensington Palace announced that Meghan would succeed her grandmother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth, in the role as patron of the theater.
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Kensington Palace shared: “The Duchess is a strong believer in using the arts to bring people from different backgrounds and communities together.”
In February 2020, the National Theater’s artistic director Rufus Norris shared that Mrs Markle was still extremely involved in the organization, saying “she has proven to be a very engaged patron, and we look forward to working with her”.
Yet, in February 2021, after a year-long review, Meghan and Prince Harry had to officially give up their royal patronages and they reverted back to Queen Elizabeth.
In a statement, the National Theater thanked Meghan Markle for her support, saying: “The Duchess championed our work with communities and young people across the UK and our mission to make theater accessible to all.”
On Twitter, royal fans also congratulated Camilla on the new role.
One user, Jen, said: “Wonderful news. Congratulations to the Duchess and to our treasured National Theater! “
Another user, @loveforcambridg, wrote: “Ah this is great news. So happy for the Duchess of Cornwall and the National Theater too for finally having a caring, present Patron. “
A third user, Gill Wallace, added: “Congratulations to the National Theater. The Duchess of Cornwall will be a wonderful Patron. “