Meghan Markle Receives Not One But Four Royal Patronages

Kensington Palace today released an official statement on Meghan Markle's first four royal patronages, given to her as the Queen begins to retire from public life and pass on more responsibilities to younger royals. The four charities the new princess will be working with are: the National Theatre, Smart Works Charity, the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), and Mayhew.

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Kensington Palace today released an official statement on Meghan Markle's first four royal patronages, given to her as the Queen begins to retire from public life and pass on more responsibilities to younger royals. The four charities the new princess will be working with are... drumroll... the National Theatre, Smart Works Charity, the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), and Mayhew! As reported by The Telegraph, Meghan "is understood to have paid numerous quiet visits to each of the charities already (opens in new tab)," and apparently she's planning one to Smart Works today! This one will be a surprise public outing (opens in new tab)—her first official royal engagement with Prince Harry is scheduled for January 14.

There were already some early reports that Meghan was set to take over London's National Theatre (opens in new tab) from the Queen, an intuitive pairing that's connected with Meghan's early days as an actor. The other three patronages are a happy surprise, although a few of Meghan's previous public outings gave us some hints. Hilarious, the National Theatre might have, uh, jumped the gun a tiny bit on its announcement, as first spotted by royal reporter Hannah Furness:

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The four patronages are in line with what Meghan has said are important causes for her. Beyond the National Theatre, and its focus on creativity and artistic expression, Mayhew is an animal charity that focuses on the welfare of cats and dogs in particular. Smart Works helps unemployed women looking to find jobs by providing assistance with interview coaching and clothes they can wear—and we know the duchess loves her some fashion. The ACU focuses on higher education across England and beyond. Along with the National Theatre, it's a patronage the Queen is passing directly to Meghan. The duchess has already visited the association publicly (opens in new tab), so this one makes sense too.

According to a spokesperson from Kensington Palace, Meghan couldn't be more thrilled:

Clearly, pregnancy isn't slowing Meghan down, in keeping with her interest to work until she delivers (opens in new tab). If the reports are true, we'll get some public outings to these charities before the mom-to-be goes on leave!

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Katherine J. Igoe
Katherine J. Igoe

Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.