Meghan Markle Receives Not One But Four Royal Patronages

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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," and apparently she's planning one to Smart Works today! This one will be a surprise public outing—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 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, so this one makes sense too.

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

"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."

Clearly, pregnancy isn't slowing Meghan down, in keeping with her interest to work until she delivers. 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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