The history of the British monarchy is steeped in tradition and pride, as the oldest form of government in the United Kingdom.
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II is sovereign and was crowned Monarch in 1953. Her Majesty serves as a symbol of unity and national pride. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex deeply believe in the role of The Monarchy, and their commitment to Her Majesty The Queen is unwavering. Their roles will continue to reflect their sense of duty and allegiance to The Monarch and her legacy in the world, as they transition into the new working model. As they move to become members of the Royal Family, with financial independence, their commitment to The Monarch is resolute, and they aim to continue to fly the flag for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as called upon.
The British Royal Family has forged links with thousands of charities, public institutions, military associations, and professional bodies in order to highlight the vital work they do for their communities. These efforts help recognise and support the organisations and their contributions to society.
“I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” Her Majesty The Queen
As members of the Royal Family, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex support Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by continuing her efforts to draw special attention to these groups as patrons of multiple organisations.
The history of patronages is a fascinating historical insight into the British Royal Family and the role they continue to play in The United Kingdom. For over three centuries, members of The British Royal Family have held patronages to advance causes and shine a light on important areas of interest for the nation. It was during World War II when members of the public were looking to The Royal Family for a sense of hope and patriotism that the Royal Family further embraced their roles as patrons on a greater scale. They did this by honouring grassroots clubs and organisations as well as larger establishments that reflected the fabric of the nation.
It is for this reason that patronages cover a broad spectrum of causes, a symbol of national pride that was so needed then and has carried over to present day. While there is a distinction between patronages and the community work the Duke and Duchess champion individually, there is sometimes overlap based on their interests. Today, Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have chosen their patronages to support charitable organisations that represent causes important to them and that honour the legacy of Her Majesty The Queen.
The Duke of Sussex
Dolen Cymru promotes strong ties and personal friendships between the people of Wales and the people of Lesotho. The organisation sends Welsh teachers, health professionals, and other leaders to share their expertise in Lesotho and bring new ideas back to Wales, enriching communities in both nations.Learn More (Opens in a New Tab)
Honouring The Duke of Sussex’s late childhood friend, the Henry Van Straubenzee Memorial Fund expands access to high-quality education for tens of thousands of children in rural Ugandan communities. The Fund provides educational resources and builds school facilities such as classrooms, science labs, and latrines.Learn More (Opens in a New Tab)
Established by The Duke in 2014, the Invictus Games bring together wounded, injured and sick servicemen, women, and veterans from many nations to compete in sporting events. Named after the Latin word for ‘unconquered’, the games help speed veterans’ recovery, build community, and show them, and the world, they are capable of incredible things.Learn More (Opens in a New Tab)
The London Marathon Charitable Trust supports initiatives that encourage and enable people of all backgrounds to participate in physical activity. Striving to make fitness activities more accessible to those who have been historically excluded from them—women and girls, older adults, ethnic minorities, socioeconomically disadvantaged groups, and people with disabilities—the organisation funds programmes and builds recreational facilities that serve tens of thousands of people.Learn More (Opens in a New Tab)
In the immediate wake of major disasters, MapAction collects real-time information and uses GPS to compile a detailed picture of the situation on the ground. Its maps enable governments, organisations, and the international community to understand humanitarian needs so they can efficiently respond to natural disasters, violent conflict, disease outbreaks, and other crises.Learn More (Opens in a New Tab)
This international charity helps rescue black and white rhinos from poaching hotspots across southern Africa and moves these majestic animals to the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Here, thanks to the dedicated team, strict monitoring, and the support of the Botswana Defence Force, the rhinos can thrive, helping to ensure the survival of their species.Learn More (Opens in a New Tab)
Employing over 1,500 people, the Royal Air Force Base Honington hosts and trains the RAF Force Protection, a group of specialists that manages strategic threats and ensures the safety of Royal Air Force personnel. The Duke of Sussex serves as its Honorary Air Force Commandant.Learn More (Opens in a New Tab)
One of five fighting arms of the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines are versatile, highly trained fighters prepared to take action at a moment’s notice and protect the country from a wide range of threats. Since December 2017, The Duke of Sussex has served as Captain General of the Royal Marines.Learn More (Opens in a New Tab)
The Rugby Football League supports and promotes the sport of Rugby League in the United Kingdom. They govern the England Rugby League team, organises elite championships, and develops new adaptations of the game that make it more accessible to all.Learn More (Opens in a New Tab)
England’s Rugby Football Union is the national body representing the country’s national team, elite rugby and the grassroots game. Based at the national stadium in Twickenham, its purpose is to encourage rugby, and its values, to flourish across England. Founded in 1871, it is made up of more than 2,000 clubs.Learn More (Opens in a New Tab)
The Rugby Football Union All Schools Programme brings rugby to state secondary schools in underserved areas. Reaching more than one million children since its inception in 2012, the programme fosters strong self-esteem, improved health, and better school performance among its participants.Learn More (Opens in a New Tab)
The Rugby Football Union Injured Players Foundation provides lifelong support to players who were permanently disabled due to rugby injuries at any level of the game. The Foundation also helps teammates and family members care for injured loved ones, and supports research and training programmes that help make rugby a safer game.Learn More (Opens in a New Tab)
Founded by The Duke of Sussex and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, Sentebale provides medical care, education, and supportive peer groups for children affected by HIV/AIDS in Lesotho, Botswana, and Malawi. By empowering children and young people to learn more about HIV and share their experiences with government officials, Sentebale is building a youth-led movement to confront the challenges of HIV throughout sub-Saharan Africa.Learn More (Opens in a New Tab)
Located at the entrance to the world-class Silverstone motor racing circuit, the Silverstone Heritage Experience teaches visitors about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) through the lens of British motor racing. Showcasing the sport’s rich history of technological innovation, the exhibition offers educational programmes that inspire an appreciation for engineering to more than 40,000 children and young people each year.Learn More (Opens in a New Tab)
The Royal Navy’s Small Ships and Diving Operations, a specialised team of divers and mine warfare experts, manages underwater threats and keeps the Royal Navy safe. The Duke of Sussex serves as its honorary Commodore-in-Chief.Learn More (Opens in a New Tab)
Wellchild provides comprehensive, compassionate care to chronically sick children while ensuring that researchers and policymakers are addressing the challenges of childhood illness. By helping families understand and meet their children’s health needs, Wellchild nurses enable children to leave the hospital and receive high-quality care from the comfort of their own homes.Learn More (Opens in a New Tab)
The Duchess of Sussex
Bringing together over 500 universities across the globe, the Association of Commonwealth Universities promotes international collaboration in higher education, equipping universities to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and address some of the most pressing global issues of our time. The ACU also manages the United Kingdom’s major scholarship programmes. The patronage of The ACU was handed over to The Duchess of Sussex from Her Majesty The Queen.Learn More (Opens in a New Tab)
Recognising that animals are integral to human well-being, Mayhew rescues and finds homes for abandoned dogs and cats in London, brings therapy dogs to the sick and elderly, and helps the homeless and other vulnerable pet owners care for their animals despite economic hardship. Internationally, Mayhew supports animal rights and veterinary care in Afghanistan, Georgia, Russia, and India.Learn More (Opens in a New Tab)
The National Theatre stages a diverse array of productions that entertain and inspire audiences in the United Kingdom and around the world. In service of its mission to impart a love of theatre to all people, The National also offers performance, writing, and community-building programmes that seek to make the world of theatre more inclusive and accessible. This patronage was offered to The Duchess of Sussex by Her Majesty The Queen.Learn More (Opens in a New Tab)
Empowering unemployed women to return to the workforce with confidence, Smart Works provides job-seeking women with complete outfits and one-on-one training in advance of their interviews. The organisation also facilitates the Smart Works Network, an ongoing support system for recently re-employed women. The Duchess of Sussex spearheaded a capsule collection of essential workwear, convening four clothing brands to create the key pieces for Smartworks clients who are mobilising back into the workforce. This collection utilised the 1:1 model where for each item purchased, a like item was donated to the organisation. The successful campaign sought to reshape the concept of the traditional charity model. As The Duchess said, “By shifting the concept from charity to community, we become part of each others’ success story. It’s no longer a handout, but rather a hand held.”Learn More (Opens in a New Tab)
Previous Tours and Trips:
Since the announcement of their engagement in November 2017, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have embarked on hundreds of official visits throughout the United Kingdom, in addition to notable overseas tours to support the Commonwealth and beyond.
In 2018, The Duke and Duchess traveled to Ireland, the UK’s closest and most important neighbour, as one of their first official trips as a married couple. It was an important opportunity to not only represent the UK government, but also highlight the rich cultural heritage of this amazing country.
The visit was seen as an important moment in UK-Ireland relations, helping celebrate the bond between the two nations, and furthering future prospects in trade, tourism and culture.
From the historic Book of Kells, one of Ireland’s greatest cultural treasures, to Dogpatch Labs, a startup hub in Dublin’s Digital Docklands, The Duke and Duchess were able to learn about Irish history and modern enterprise.
“We draw strength from one another as neighbours, partners, and above all, as friends.” — The Duke of Sussex, speaking at the British Ambassador’s residence at Glencairn.
In the autumn of 2018, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex traveled to Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand, to reaffirm each country’s close ties to the United Kingdom and to highlight important global issues of climate change, mental health and gender equality. It was also on this tour that the couple joyfully announced that they were expecting their first child.
As well as promoting the UK as a welcome home for business, education and tourism, the four host nations were able to promote their country on the world stage, and work with The Duke and Duchess to amplify the work being done by charities and organisations in their nations. In particular, Their Royal Highnesses were able to show how inspiring young people in each country were demonstrating leadership on a wide variety of issues.
A major focus for Their Royal Highnesses was also the Invictus Games, founded by The Duke of Sussex, which took place in Sydney, highlighting once again the power of the armed forces community worldwide and the incredible achievements of injured wounded and sick service personnel.
Details on The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s impactful official visit to Morocco will be added in due course.
In September 2019, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex undertook a 10 day tour of Southern Africa to boost UK relations with South Africa, Angola, Malawi, and Botswana while building support for climate change initiatives, women’s rights, illegal wildlife trade, race relations, and cultural understanding. Both private and official visits during this trip supported the goals across these countries:
In South Africa, Their Royal Highnesses began with a visit to the Nyanga township with The Justice Desk Project (NGO) supported by The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust dedicated to making women and girls safer. Against the backdrop of protests against GBV, The Duchess focused much of her private time on meetings and visits to address femicide, gender based violence, and the remedies so many are working towards within this region.
The Duke and Duchess also celebrated South Africa’s diversity both at the Homecoming Centre in Cape Town and on Heritage Day at Bo Kaap, acknowledging the pain of apartheid, division and tension this country has suffered, but working towards a united vision for the future.
In addition, they worked on the ground with mental health organisations, convened female entrepreneurs, met with young mothers affected by HIV/AIDS, and talked about goals of inclusivity with iconic figures and rights champions such as Desmond Tutu, Graca Machel and Sophia Williams De Bruyn.
The Duchess also convened representatives from across Africa at an ACU roundtable to discuss access to education and presented grants on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen.
While in Botswana, The Duke worked closely with Dr Mike Chase of Elephants Without Borders in Chobe National Park, to plant over 200 trees in the neighbouring reserve as part of the regeneration of this vital ecosystem. Additionally, The Duke, who is founding patron of Sentebale, continued the charity’s work to eradicate the stigma of HIV, and to see the progress this impactful organisation has made on the ground in Botswana.
The Duke continued to Angola during this 1o day tour to retrace his mother’s footsteps in the legacy work she accomplished by working towards a landmine-free world. Now, 20+ years on, he witnessed the profound impact of her work and progress made, but also the vital need to energise international efforts to rid the world of landmines by 2025, knowing that 60 million people still live in fear of landmines everyday.
The Duke was also able to highlight the importance of protecting vital ecosystems with Luengue-Luiana National Park joining The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, while The Duchess continued meetings on gender equity in South Africa.
Once in Malawi, The Duke dedicated two more national parks to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, as a continuation of the discussions he had with the President in 2016. He also focused on the powerful partnership between Malawi’s Game Rangers, the British Army and African Parks, an initiative that he’s been working on since 2016. The Duke took the opportunity to congratulate the President of Malawi for his progressive vision for the future.
The Duke also met with CAMA, an organisation that he and The Duchess have worked closely with to empower women and to support girls’ education. As they ended their tour, Their Royal Highnesses traveled to Johannesburg to meet with the President of South Africa and the First Lady to discuss UK and South Africa relations, and to further the goals of this visit requested by the FCO and commissioned by Her Majesty the Queen.