Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, visited the National Theatre today for the first time in taking over as patron from Meghan Markle, who was stripped of the position when she left the Royal Family
The Duchess of Cornwall has visited the National Theatre for the first time since taking over as royal patron from Meghan Markle.
Camilla was handed the prestigious role by the Queen last month after Meghan was stripped of the position as part of the post-Megxit review.
It was one of several royal patronages handed to Meghan when she married Harry and it appeared to be the perfect fit for the former actress, who found fame in hit TV legal drama Suits.
But it appears the patronage has twice been the source of major tension between both Meghan and Camilla, who is also a known lover of the arts.
The first time came in 2019 as according to a source, when the Queen handed Meghan the patronage, the news did not go down too well with Camilla.
They told the Times : “She really wanted it. She was pretty miffed when it went to Meghan.”
However, Meghan managed just one official visit to the National Theatre before she and Harry announced they were stepping down as senior royals and moving to the US for a new life.
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The second time Meghan’s former patronage drove a wedge between her and her stepmother-in-law was in 2020, when the Mirror revealed an incident left Camilla “very upset”.
On that day, Meghan released photos of herself visiting the National Theatre at the same time Camilla gave a landmark speech at the 10th anniversary of the Women of the World Festival in London on domestic abuse.
Meghan allegedly broke a pledge not to overshadow Camilla’s vital campaign by getting the pictures of her private visit to the National Theatre to be published the same day.
During the visit to the London theatre today, Camilla met meet staff and members of the National Theatre’s community programme, Public Acts, as well as the theatre’s executive director, Kate Varah, and director Rufus Norris.
She also visited the Olivier Theatre and watch a 10-minute workshop on The Odyssey, by the Public Acts company, the National Theatre’s nationwide initiative to create extraordinary acts of theatre and community.
After Camilla was invited up on stage, where she asked staff individual questions about their role in the company and how long they had been there.
“It looked like fun!” she said to one performer as she made the rounds while being warned “not to touch” by one of the costume designers showing Camilla their work.
Before she made her exit, Camilla was invited by the theatre’s director to smash some prop plates on stage, to which she joyfully obliged.
Mr Norris gave a short speech welcoming the duchess, before she met representatives from departments across the National Theatre including the prop and costume teams, cast members and puppeteers from The Ocean At The End of the Lane and front of house staff.
The new duty for Camilla is another sign of the Queen’s faith in her daughter-in-law, who she endorsed as a future Queen Consort while marking her historic Platinum Jubilee last month.
The Queen has been associated with the National Theatre since its earliest days at the Old Vic in the 1960s, last visiting with the Duke of Edinburgh as part of its 50th-anniversary celebrations in 2013.
In addition to a number of private visits, The Duchess of Cornwall most recently visited the Theatre Royal Drury Lane with The Prince of Wales in July and spoke about the importance and resilience of theatre at the virtual Olivier Awards in 2020.
Camilla has previously been described as an avid theatre-goer, whose existing 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.