What does Meghan’s new patronage mean for The National Theatre?

Meghan Markle

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the term “patronage”, a royal patronage can be useful in helping to promote and strengthen the image of great causes.

Kensington suggested that the four organisations – the National Theatre, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, The Mayhew and Smart Works, which had been selected for Meghan to be a patron of, had been chosen as “causes and issues with which [Meghan] has long been associated”.

If you’re following Kensington Palace on Instagram, then it’s likely that you’ve already seen that, so far, Meghan Markle’s use of her new responsibilities are well under-way. And she’s probably having the time of her life, since the selected charities depict the Duchess’ passion for access to education, support for women, animal welfare and the arts.

Her enthusiastic embrace of her new role is hardly surprising, considering her background in the non-profit sector. Since the beginning of January, Meghan has become proactive in getting involved in community discussions, with long-term unemployed and vulnerable women, which forms an integral approach of Smart Works Charity.

And, I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited for how she’s planning on using her new influence in the arts, The National Theatre (NT).

With a background in not only the arts, as an actress and blogger, but as a campaigner, prior to marrying Prince Harry in May 2018, it’s quite possible that The National Theatre may be getting a few things switched-up. Already having developed some great goals, including aiming to create a world-class theatre for everyone, and implementing a learning and participation programme that supports young people’s creativity across the UK, the NT is barking along the lines of equality and inclusiveness that Meghan so loves to see.

But you know, I think we’re going to see these goals being taken to the max, with Meghan on the scene.

By now, most people have heard the story of how, at just 11, Meghan wrote to the US first lady at the time, Hillary Clinton, to make complaints about the sexism being perpetuated in TV advertisements, and successfully got the ads’ transcript changed as a result.

Judging by her past behaviour, then, it doesn’t seem like Meghan will be tolerating any ignorance on the NT landscape.

A “strong believer in using the arts to bring people from different backgrounds and communities together”, according to Kensington Palace, it would seem that Meghan will be harnessing the NT as a tool for strengthening cultural diversity.

With the National Theatre artistic director, Rufus Norris, sharing her aspirations, Meghan’s influence in British theatre may have few limits. As a response to the announcement of Meghan’s patronage, Norris said,

‘The Duchess shares our deeply-held conviction that theatre has the power to bring people together from all communities and walks of life. I very much look forward to working closely with Her Royal Highness in the years to come’.

I think we can expect Meghan to use her increasingly influential platform to, fervently and shrewdly, advocate for inclusiveness and diversity in the arts.

Do any of you have any thoughts about what’s on Meghan’s agenda? Comment below on what changes you’re expecting/hoping Meghan to make in British Theatre!


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