Meghan Markle: How Many Patronages Does the Duchess of Sussex Have?

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex has long been one for giving back.

After she married Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex in 2018 and officially became a member of the British royal family, she became responsible for her own patronages. What are patronages? How many does Meghan have? And what’s the deal with her (and Harry’s) patronages now that they are no longer senior royals? Find out ahead.  

What are patronages?

A patronage means an individual or an organization — in this case Meghan on behalf of the royal family — supports a charity or group by raising awareness and funds for causes they care about.

For instance, when someone is a patron of the arts, they support musicians, painters, and the like by supporting the cause themselves and encouraging others to do the same. Royals do exactly that by attaching themselves to certain causes or organizations and attending events on their behalf.  

Meghan Markle visits the National Theatre on Jan. 30, 2019
Meghan Markle visits the National Theatre on Jan. 30, 2019 | Jon Bond – WPA Pool/Getty Images

How are patronages chosen? 

Typically, patronages are picked to reflect the interests of the royal family member involved. For example, Catherine, Duchess of Sussex is an avid photographer so one of her patronages is for the Royal Photographic Society, according to CNN. Currently, the royal family lends their support to more than 3,000 organizations.

Meghan Markle became patron of 4 charities in 2019

The royal family announced in Jan. 2019 that Meghan would become patron of four charities: the National Theatre, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, Mayhew, and Smart Works.

“Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex will become Patron of four organisations that reflect the causes and issues with which she has long been associated including the arts, access to education, support for women and animal welfare,” the statement said. 

Meghan Markle during a visit to Smart Works on Jan. 10, 2019
Meghan Markle during a visit to Smart Works on Jan. 10, 2019 | Clodagh Kilcoyne – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Two of Meghan’s patronages, the National Theatre and Association of Commonwealth Universities, were given to her from Queen Elizabeth II. The other two, a dog shelter called Mayhew and Smart Works a charity aimed at helping unemployed women through the job interview process, were new additions. 

After she guest-edited British Vogue’s Sept. issue in 2019, Meghan partnered with designers to create a capsule collection of workwear staples to benefit Smart Works. The Duchess of Sussex has also been seen making visits to the National Theatre. In addition to that, Meghan has attended events for the Association of Commonwealth Universities as well as Mayhew. 

She’s keeping her patronages and so is Prince Harry

When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made their bombshell announcement in Jan. 2020 that they were stepping down as senior members of the royal family, understandably, there were a lot of questions. One of them being, what would happen to their patronages? 

In their Instagram post announcing the move, Meghan and Harry said they’d “continue to “honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages,” suggesting they wouldn’t step away from the charities they supported as senior royals.

Meghan Markle visits Mayhew on Jan. 16, 2019
Meghan Markle visits Mayhew on Jan. 16, 2019 | Eddie Mulholland – WPA Pool/Getty Images

According to BBC News, a statement from Buckingham Palace said the same thing, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would continue their associations and private patronages “with the queen’s blessing.” 

Royal correspondent, Emily Andrews, reported in Jan. 2020, Harry had to drop some honorary military posts as a result of stepping down. However, he is said to continue his own patronages. Harry and Meghan also remain president and vice president of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. 

While Meghan and Harry carve out a new path for themselves, we’ll likely see them forge relationships with even more charitable organizations. Royal watchers will have to wait and see what’s next for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.