The Duchess of Sussex announces Patronages
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex will become Patron of four organisations that reflect the causes and issues with which she has long been associated including the arts, access to education, support for women and animal welfare.
Her Majesty The Queen has passed on two patronages to The Duchess of Sussex –The National Theatre and The Association of Commonwealth Universities. The Queen has held the roles for 45 and 33 years respectively. Her Royal Highness will also take on Patronage of two additional charities as part of her official working portfolio – Smart Works and Mayhew.
The Duchess is delighted to become Patron of both national and grassroots organisations that are part of the fabric of the UK, and is very much looking forward to working with them to bring wider public attention to their causes. Her Royal Highness feels she can use her position to focus attention on, and make a particular difference to these organisations and, more widely, the sectors they each represent.
For the arts, the National Theatre’s mission is to make world class theatre that is entertaining, challenging and inspiring for everyone and to be as inclusive, diverse and national as possible. In support of access to education, the Association of Commonwealth Universities is the world's first and oldest international university network and the only accredited organisation representing higher education across all 53 Commonwealth countries.
With regards to supporting women, Smart Works helps long-term unemployed and vulnerable women regain the skills, confidence and tools to succeed at job interviews, return to employment and transform their lives. In terms of animal welfare, Mayhew is a grassroots charity working in a unique way to improve the lives of animals and people to better communities both in London and internationally.
Over the last year, Her Royal Highness has held meetings and conducted private visits with each of these organisations. The Duchess will today visit Smart Works and over the next few weeks will undertake public visits to the other three organisations.
Further information on these organisations and why The Duchess has chosen to support them as Patron follows:
The National Theatre
The Duchess is a strong believer in using the arts to bring people from different backgrounds and communities together. The National Theatre’s mission is to make world class theatre that’s entertaining, challenging and inspiring – and to make it for everyone. It aims to reach the widest possible audience and to be as inclusive, diverse and national as possible with a broad range of productions that play in London, on tour around the UK, on Broadway and across the globe.
The National Theatre's extensive UK-wide learning and participation programme supports young people’s creative education through performance and writing programmes like Connections, New Views and Let’s Play. Its major new initiative Public Acts creates extraordinary acts of theatre and community; the first Public Acts production was 2018’s Pericles. The National Theatre extends its reach through digital programmes including NT Live, which broadcasts some of the best of British theatre to over 2,500 venues in 65 countries, and the free streaming service On Demand In Schools, used by nearly 60% of UK state secondary schools.
The National Theatre invests in the future of theatre by developing talent, creating bold new work and building audiences, partnering with a range of UK theatres and theatre companies. For more information, please visit https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/.
Whilst Her Royal Highness spent ten years working in television, her training is in theatre. As well as a double major in theatre and international relations from Northwestern University, which is renowned for its drama programme, Her Royal Highness volunteered at a performing arts after school programme for children in underprivileged school districts in Los Angeles.
The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)
As a university graduate, Her Royal Highness is a strong advocate of accessible education for all, something she spoke of most recently during her visit to Fiji last year. Established in 1913, the ACU is the world's first and oldest international university network, with more than 500 member institutions in over 50 countries. It is the only accredited organisation representing higher education across the Commonwealth. The ACU champions higher education as a force for good in the Commonwealth and beyond.
Among its key principles is the value of higher education to society – or its role ‘as a common good’ – and the conviction that this value is enhanced by international collaboration. The ACU manages international scholarship schemes – including the UK government’s three major scholarship programmes and The Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships – that offer life-changing educational opportunities, convenes universities to address key policy challenges such as climate resilience and peace and reconciliation, and promotes the role of universities in delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals. For more information please visit https://www.acu.ac.uk/.
During her recent visit to Fiji, The Duchess announced new Gender Grants for ACU member universities in the Pacific to fund new learning initiatives aimed at empowering female university staff and promoting gender equality. Her Royal Highness last month met with university leaders, academics and international scholarship students as they discussed the role of higher education in addressing issues such as human trafficking, modern slavery, gender equality, peace and reconciliation, and climate change.
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