The Duchess of Cornwall has been made royal patron of the National Theatre by the Queen, the first of Meghan Markle’s former patronages to be reassigned, it has been confirmed.
The Duchess of Sussex was stripped of the prestigious title after she and husband Prince Harry announced in 2020 that they would step back as “senior” royals and work to become financially independent.
The move has been interpreted as a further sign of the Queen’s faith in her daughter-in-law, who she endorsed as a future Queen Consort while marking her Platinum Jubilee in February.
As the Queen officially celebrated 70 years since she acceded to the throne, she said it would be her “sincere wish” that Camilla would become Queen Consort when Charles becomes King.
The National Theatre said it was delighted the Duchess, a long-standing supporter for the arts, had been given the role, describing her as a devoted fan of theatre and champion of literature and drama.
Rufus Norris, director and joint chief executive of the National Theatre, said: “It is a privilege to welcome the Duchess of Cornwall as the National Theatre’s Royal Patron.
”The Duchess shares our belief that theatre 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 Theatre.“
Prince Harry admitted he felt “hurt” by his grandmother the Queen’s decision to strip him of his royal patronages and honorary titles, although he said he “respects” her decision.
He added that he would “still love for us to be able to continue to support those associations, albeit without the title or the role”.
Meghan added: “We’re still doing it. We’re still going to always do the work.”
The Queen has been associated with the National Theatre 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.
Camilla is an avid theatre-goer, whose existing patronages include The Royal Academy of Dance, Royal Society of Literature, Friends of The Royal Academy, London Chamber Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra, Theatre Royal Bath, Unicorn Theatre for Children and Georgian Theatre Royal.