Meghan made patron of National Theatre

The Duchess of Sussex Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Meghan has also become patron of a women's charity

The Duchess of Sussex has been made the patron of the National Theatre as well as three other organisations.

Meghan's first sole royal patronages will also champion education, women's employment and animal welfare.

The duchess, who is a former actress, has taken on honorary roles with Mayhew, Smart Works, and the Association of Commonwealth Universities, Kensington Palace said.

A royal patronage can help promote the profile of good causes.

The duchess has already met women who have benefited from Smart Works, a charity which helps long-term unemployed and vulnerable women get back into work.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Meghan visited the Smart Works charity just after her patronage was announced

Who is Meghan supporting?

  • Mayhew is an animal welfare charity set up in 1886 which helps cats and dogs through community initiatives and veterinary care. It also works with homelessness charities in London to make sure people and their dogs can be kept together
  • The National Theatre (NT) aims to make world-class theatre for everyone. The NT's learning and participation programmes support young people's creativity across the UK
  • Smart Works provides high-quality clothes and one-to-one interview preparation to unemployed women. They can be referred from jobcentres, prisons, care homes, homeless shelters, work programmes, and mental health charities
  • The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) describes itself as the world's first and oldest international university network. It supports the development of higher education across the Commonwealth

Buckingham Palace said that "patronages generally reflect the interests of the member of the Royal Family involved".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The duchess helped pick out jewellery for women at Smart Works

Meghan Markle made her name as an actress, campaigner and blogger before marrying Prince Harry in May 2018. She is best known for playing lawyer Rachel Zane in US TV drama Suits.

She started campaigning for gender equality at an early age, writing to the then US first lady, Hillary Clinton, at the age of 11, lamenting a washing-up liquid's TV ad strapline: "Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans."

Within a month, manufacturers Procter and Gamble had changed the word "women" to "people".

Kensington Palace said in a statement: "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."

The Queen passed on two patronages - the National Theatre and the ACU - to the duchess.

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