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Why Princess Diana let go of more than 100 patronages

It happened after her divorce from Prince Charles

princess diana patronage
Ainhoa Barcelona
Ainhoa BarcelonaContent Managing Editor
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The Duchess of Sussex has just been granted her first patronages, ticking off another royal 'first' since her wedding to Prince Harry. Meghan, so far, has been named patron of four charities or organisations. In total, the royals are currently patrons or presidents of more than 3,000 causes and in her time Princess Diana had links with more than 100 charities. But after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996, the mother-of-two ended all of her patronages bar six.

She kept her position as patron or president of Centrepoint, the English National Ballet, the Leprosy Mission, the National Aids Trust, London's Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children and the Royal Marsden Hospital. The organisations she cut ties with included Help the Aged, Barnardos, Relate and the Parkinson's Disease Society.

princess diana red cross© Photo: Getty Images

Diana ended all of her patronages bar six

At the time, Diana explained that she had made the decision "with great sadness" but wanted to concentrate her efforts on fewer causes. Her sons Princes William and Harry have gone on to follow in Diana's footsteps; the Duke of Cambridge is patron of Centrepoint, while Diana's niece Lady Kitty Spencer is an ambassador. William is also president of the Royal Marsden Hospital. Harry, meanwhile, has campaigned to end the stigma around HIV testing.

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William's wife Kate is due to visit the Royal Opera House in London next week, when she will find out about the costume department's work and hear from dancers of The Royal Ballet. Given that the palace are announcing new patronages this month, it wouldn't come as a complete surprise if Kate became a patron of either organisation. The Duchess loves the theatre and ballet, and took her daughter Princess Charlotte to see The Nutcracker last month.

Meghan visits Smart Works in Soho:

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Meghan's four patronages were announced on Wednesday morning. The pregnant royal, who is expected to visit each organisation before she goes on maternity leave, is patron of the National Theatre, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, animal rescue charity The Mayhew and female employment cause Smart Works.

She visited Smart Works on Wednesday – a charity that 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. Meghan, who dressed her baby bump in a black dress and camel coat, had been quietly visiting the Soho organisation for close to a year before her patronage was announced.

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