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Duchess of Cornwall takes over Meghan Markle's theatre role following royal exit

The National Theatre has a new patron

The Duchess of Cornwall has been announced as the new patron of The National Theatre, taking over from the Duchess of Sussex who previously held the role when she was working for the royal family.

Following Meghan, and her husband Prince Harry's exit from royal life in 2020, the patronage has been handed over to Camilla, who is a long-standing supporter of the arts, is a devoted fan of theatre, and is a champion of literature and drama.

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The decision was made by the Queen who has been associated with the National Theatre since its earliest days at the Old Vic in the 1960s. She last visited with her late husband the Duke of Edinburgh as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations in 2013.

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Meghan took over the patronage in 2019 from the Queen, who had previously held the position for 45 years. But when she and Harry quit as working members of the royal family, their patronages were handed back to The Firm.

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Camilla is an avid theatre-goer and regularly visits arts organisations in the UK and overseas. Most recently, she and Charles paid a visit to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane last July.

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Camilla visiting the Theatre Royal Drury Lane last July

And in October 2020, she presented lyricist Don Black with the special Olivier Award at a virtual ceremony. Camilla said of theatre artists affected by the pandemic: "I should like to thank those of you whose profession is in the theatre for your determination and your flexibility. Please remain resilient – we need you and we have missed you."

Her other arts patronages include The Royal Academy of Dance, Royal Society of Literature, Friends of The Royal Academy, London Chamber Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra, Theatre Royal Bath, Unicorn Theatre for Children and Georgian Theatre Royal.

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The Duchess at the Olivier Awards

Rufus Norris, Director and Joint Chief Executive of the National Theatre, said: "It is a privilege to welcome The Duchess of Cornwall as the National Theatre's Royal Patron. The Duchess shares our belief that theatre enriches our lives in so many ways and that everyone should have access to the arts and creativity no matter where they are in the world.

"The Duchess has shown great support to our industry throughout the pandemic, and I look forward to working with Her Royal Highness for many years to come. I would also like to express my thanks to The Queen for Her Majesty's long and unwavering support and service to the National Theatre."

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