Meghan Markle Is Accused of Not Helping Her Struggling Theatre Patronage Amid the Pandemic

In early 2020, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and her husband, Prince Harry, announced they would be stepping down from being senior members of the royal family. The couple subsequently moved to California, where they have been living as the pandemic rages on around the world.

Although they have stepped down from their original positions, Meghan and Harry are still allowed to keep the patronages in the UK that they acquired from before. However, some people are now wondering whether it is a good idea given they are no longer living in the UK. For example, one of Meghan’s patronages, the National Theatre, has been struggling amid the pandemic, and the Duchess of Sussex is accused of not doing enough to help.

Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Meghan Markle is now an ‘absentee patron’ of the National Theatre in the UK

Meghan was given the patronage to support the National Theatre in January 2019. Queen Elizabeth had been the patron for over four decades, though it seems Her Majesty felt Meghan was a good fit given her background as an actress.

However, after Meghan relocated to the U.S. amid the pandemic, she has been acting as an “absentee patron,” according to Express.co.uk, for the National Theatre. Despite still technically being a patron, Meghan cannot support the theatre as much as before.

“What’s more, because they have decided to hold onto these patronages, they cannot be transferred to someone else in the Royal Family, who may be more present and available to give them the attention they deserve,” Express.co.uk noted.

This situation has also been made worse by the theatre industry’s inability to host shows during the pandemic. Because theatre shows often require audience members to sit close together, theatres have not been able to perform for months now due to social distancing guidelines.

Report says the theatre was ‘fuming’ when Meghan abruptly left the royal family

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Before Meghan and Harry announced their decision to step down from their positions in January 2020, Meghan had visited the Dorfman Theatre at the National Theatre. Express.co.uk reported that Meghan “gave no indication that she would be moving away” during the visit.

This allegedly left people at the theatre “fuming” after Meghan’s announcement was up. An official said, according to Express.co.uk, “It’s fair to say there is a lot of worry about whether the Duchess will stick around after failing to tell theatre bosses of her intentions, which was published on social media hours after her meeting.”

A director at the National Theatre denied any bad blood between the patronage and Meghan

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However, a director at the National Theatre, Rufus Norris, has denied reports of tension between Meghan and the theatre.

He told the Telegraph in February, “That is completely their business about how they [the Duke and Duchess] manage what is undoubtedly a very complicated situation for them. From our perspective, I don’t think it’s going to change anything.”

Norris also added continued to be “engaged” with the theatre’s work.