Kensington Palace has announced The Duchess of Sussex’s four new patronages on Thursday, 10 January 2019, focusing on key areas of interest, arts, access to education, support for women and animal welfare.
Queen Elizabeth II has passed on two Patronages to Meghan: the National Theatre which she held for 45 years, and the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) for 33 years.
Meghan will take on the other two patronages, Smart Works and Mayhew, as part of her official working portfolio.
During the past year, The Duchess of Sussex has held meetings and conducted private visits with each organisation.
According to a statement from Kensington Palace, ‘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.’
Following the announcement, Meghan visited Smart Works which helps long-term unemployed and vulnerable women regain the skills, confidence and tools to help them to succeed at job interviews, return to work and transform their lives.
We are honoured to announce that HRH The Duchess of Sussex has become the Royal Patron of Smart Works. The decision reflects The Duchess’s passion in supporting women, and her commitment will help women in need across the UK.
Statement from Smart Works
Smart Works CEO Kate Stephens said, ‘We are passionate about helping women be the best that they can be. As The Duchess said today having so many other women believing in you is the piece that makes Smart Works so special.’
Most of these women come from prisons, care homes, homeless shelters, mental health charities and job centres. They have been unsuccessful after applying for 20 or more jobs and struggle from a lack of confidence.
The Duchess joined a roundtable discussion with volunteers at Smart Work’s London headquarters and met some of the women who have been successful in finding employment after receiving help from the charity.
Each client has a personalised styling session with two volunteer stylists, receives a complete outfit of high-quality clothes and accessories for specific job interviews which she can keep. She also receives one-on-one coaching.
During her visit, the Duchess met one client, Ruma, who had been unemployed for nearly a year. She attended an interview and now has part-time work, and will be coming back to Smart Works to choose some outfits from the Dressing Room for her new job.
Meghan helped another client, Patsy, with choosing an outfit and accessories to wear for a forthcoming job interview.
Smart Works aims to dress 3,500 women in 2019 from their two London offices and additional centres in Edinburgh, Manchester, Reading, Birmingham and Newcastle.
Please visit http://smartworks.org.uk/ to find out more details.
Kensington Palace has announced the Duchess of Sussex will visit The Mayhew on Wednesday, 16 January 2019.
Mayhew is an animal charity, established in 1886 which is funded entirely by public donations, working to improve the lives of dogs, cats and people in communities in Great Britain and overseas.
The charity looks for new ways to reduce the number of animals in need through pro-active communities, educational initiatives and preventative veterinary care.
It works with homelessness charities to ensure people and their pets can stay together, including running a Pet Refuge programme to provide shelter and short-term care for people’s pets during times of crisis.
The Duchess will visit her other two patronages, The National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities, in the forthcoming weeks.
The National Theatre
Although the Duchess of Sussex spent ten years working in television, especially the TV series, Suits, she also trained for the theatre.
Meghan graduated from Northwestern University, renowned for its drama programme, with a double major in theatre and international relations.
She also volunteered at a performing arts after-school programme for children living in underprivileged school districts in Los Angeles.
The Duchess is said to be a strong believer in using the arts to bring people from different communities and backgrounds together.
The National Theatre’s mission is to produce world-class theatre that entertains, challenges and inspires and make it for everyone: the widest possible audience. It aims to be inclusive, diverse and national as possible with a broad range of productions performed in London, on tour around the United Kingdom, on Broadway in the United States and across the globe, including Australia.
The National Theatre’s extensive learning and participation programme supports young people’s creative education through performance and writing programmes like Connections, New Views and Let’s Play.
Audiences can now be reached through digital programmes, including NT Live, which broadcasts some of the best of British theatre to over 2,500 venues in 65 countries, and through free streaming services On Demand in schools.
Please visit https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/ to find out more about The National Theatre.
The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)
The Association of Commonwealth Universities, founded in 1913, is the world’s first and oldest international university network.
It is the only accredited organisation representing higher education across all 53 Commonwealth countries, with more than 500 member institutions.
The ACU manages international scholarship schemes, including the UK government’s three major scholarship programmes and the Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships, which offer life-changing educational opportunities.
The Duchess of Sussex is a strong advocate of accessible education for everyone, which she mentioned in a speech during a visit to Fiji in 2018.
For more information please visit https://www.acu.ac.uk/.
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