An important part of the royal family's duties is giving back. All its senior members hold multiple patronages with different charities and organizations, and each is unique. On Dec. 4, 2019, Queen Elizabeth II passed on the patronage to Family Action — a charity founded in 1869 to help families in difficulty by giving them practical help and support — to granddaughter-in-law (and future queen consort) Duchess Kate. The monarch, who took over the patronage from Queen Mary in 1953, had held the patronage for 65 years. Here, the Duchess of Cambridge is seen handing out reindeer food to children supported by Family Action during a visit to Peterley Manor Farm in Great Missenden, England, on the same day her new patronage was announced. Keep reading to learn more about other royal family members' charities and patronages…
Prince Harry co-founded the charity Sentebale with the help of Lesotho's Prince Seeiso in 2006. The organization, which works to help the orphans of Lesotho, takes its name from the Sesotho word for "forget me not." In 2016, they expanded to help children in Botswana as well.
Prince William has been a patron of the Metropolitan and City Police Orphans Fund since 2017. This charity supports the kids of both serving and former officers if they are killed, retire on pension or become incapacitated.
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Though new to Britain's royal family, Duchess Meghan has already started lining up her patronages. First up is the National Theatre. The former actress succeeded Queen Elizabeth II in this role, serving as patron to an organization whose mission is to make entertainment for everyone.
Since 1988, Prince Charles has been a patron of Garden Organic. This U.K.-based organization advocates for organic growing methods in order to protect the food supply, environment and citizens' health and well-being. They work with schools to teach children gardening projects to show them where their food comes from and to promote eating more fruits and vegetables.
On June 25, 2019, Queen Elizabeth II passed to Duchess Kate her Royal Photographic Society patronage, which the monarch held for an incredible 67 years. It's a great fit for the Duchess of Cambridge, an avid and talented photographer herself. Kate marked the occasion by participating in a photography workshop run by the Royal Photographic Society and Action for Children — of which she's also a patron — on the same day.
Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie are both patrons of Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity that helps give life-changing care to teens with cancer. Aside from supporting the teens, the organization also provides support for their families. The princesses became patrons in 2016, following in the footsteps of their mother, Sarah, the Duchess of York, who started her patronage in 1990.
Many of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall's patronages deal with health and animals, with Medical Detection Dogs uniting both interests. This group uses dogs to help diagnose illnesses like cancer. Dogs are also used to work with people suffering from diabetes, as the animals are able to detect when blood-sugar levels are too high or too low. They also can sniff for peanuts to protect those who have life-threatening allergies.
Queen Elizabeth II is a patron to over 600 charities and organizations, one of which is the Royal School of Church Music, a group dedicated to promoting music in Christian worship. It's overseen by the Church of England but is an interdenominational group. The queen is seen here attending one of the organization's services back in 1951 prior to her coronation.
Zara Tindall is a silver medal-winning Olympic equestrian, so it's no surprise that one of her patronages has to do with horses. She serves as a patron of the Mark Davies Injured Riders Fund, a charity aimed at helping equestrians get back in their feet after injury. Aside from helping those who've been hurt, the organization also promotes rider safety.
Many of Duchess Kate's chosen charities relate to kids, so her patronage of Action for Children is no surprise. This charity helps support disadvantaged and neglected children and youth through more than 650 different services, which include fostering, adopting and schooling.
Prince William serves as a patron of the Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust, the Welsh Rugby Union's official charity that supports injury players. They also work to prevent future injuries by investing in research and education.
The Art Room is an organization aimed at children aged 5 to 16 and is meant to help improve their confidence and self esteem. It's geared toward those with learning difficulties, giving them structure and a non-judgmental space to learn and talk to someone. Duchess Kate is a patron.
Queen Elizabeth II is a patron of Friends of the Elderly, whose charity work involves supporting older people in need due to isolation or poverty.
Prince Harry is not only a patron but very active with the Invictus Foundation, the organization that throws the Invictus Games each year. The games are an international sporting event for wounded, injured or sick servicemen and women.
Duchess Meghan is also a patron of Mayhew. This organization, which started back in 1886, helps with animal rescue, helping dogs find new homes and working on animal welfare cases in communities throughout the UK.
Prince William and Prince Harry co-founded The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry back in 2009. It originally had three main focuses — giving guidance and support to disadvantaged young people, building awareness on sustainable development and environmental conservation, and supporting the welfare of Armed Forces members and their families. It later included their wives and for a short time was called The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as it expanded its reach to include a focus on mental health issues. But in June 2019, the couples parted ways as it was revealed that Harry and wife Duchess Meghan planned to establish a foundation of their own. However, the palace revealed in a statement, "both couples will continue to work together on projects in the future, including on The Foundation's mental health program, Heads Together."
Prince Charles is the founder and patron of Youth Business International, an organization that helps young people start and grow their own businesses and create employment via a global network of independent non-profit initiatives.
The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families is also close to Duchess Kate's heart. This charity helps young people and their families who suffer from mental health problems. She's been a patron since 2016.
The Poppy Factory aims to help provide wounded, injured or sick veterans with permanent work after they've been injured during their service. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall is a patron of the organization.
Smart Works is another charity for which Duchess Meghan is a patron. It's a group that helps provide women with clothes, coaching and confidence to help them find employment.
Prince Andrew is the newest patron of the Outward Bound Trust. His father, Prince Philip, passed it on to him in 2019. The educational charity focuses on organizing character-building outdoor adventures and is now active in over 30 countries worldwide. Before becoming a patron of the organization, Prince Andrew practiced what he preached — he went abseiling down the Shard in London to raise money for the charity in 2012.
Duchess Kate is also a patron of All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, which she took over from Queen Elizabeth II. Part of her duties includes handing out awards to the winners of Wimbledon.
Another patronage Duchess Kate took over from Queen Elizabeth II? The Lawn Tennis Association, an organization whose goal is to get young people active and involved with the sport.
The Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre is close to Princess Beatrice's heart, as she was diagnosed with the disorder at age 7. The royal received help from this organization during her schooling and now serves as a patron. It provides free dyslexia screenings and assessments and helps those who can't afford fees get the help they need.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall is the patron of the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust. This charity works across the United Kingdom to help reduce repeat burglaries among the elderly, vulnerable and disadvantaged. The organization reaches out to victims of burglaries and helps equip them with tools, locks and security materials to secure their property while also offering counseling to victims on safety measures without charge.
East Anglia's Children's Hospices is another of Duchess Kate's patronages. This charity offers free services to children under 18 who are dealing with life-threatening illnesses.
Prince Charles has been a patron of Combat Stress, a charity aimed at helping veterans' mental health, since 2003.
Queen Elizabeth II is also a patron of Boys' Brigade, an interdenominational Christian youth organization for children aimed at giving them a chance to participate in fun and developmental activities that teach Christian values.
Duchess Kate is a patron of Place2Be, an organization that helps children in school deal with their struggles via emotional and therapeutic services to help boost their confidence. Some examples of what they help out with? Strategies to help cope with bullying, grief and domestic abuse.
Prince William is a patron of Tusk Trust, a wildlife nonprofit aimed at conserving wildlife, promoting education and supporting community development programs throughout Africa.
MapAction is an organization that helps aid agencies in the event of natural disasters via situational mapping. Prince Harry has been a royal patron since 2007.
Sarah, Duchess of York is a patron of Elephant Family, a charity that protects endangered Asian elephants via conservation projects all over Asia. The organization was actually founded by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall's brother Mark Shand. After he passed away, Camilla and husband Prince Charles took over as joint presidents.
Helen House offers a unique service, serving as the world's first children's hospice when it opened in 1982. In 2004, Douglas House opened as a hospice for young adults aged 16 to 35. Together, the hospices — now referred to as Helen & Douglas House — continue their mission to provide end-of-life care for children and young adults with numerous locations. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall is a patron.
Duchess Kate supports Action on Addiction, a charity offering support to both people with addictions and those living with them. The organization aims to improve research, prevention, treatment, support and professional development by helping the public understand the disease.
Both Peter Phillips and wife Autumn are royal patrons of Habitat for Humanity, the nonprofit that builds homes for low-income families. Peter also serves as an ambassador for their Youth Build Program, which helps young people get involved in the building and fundraising aspects of the organization.
Duchess Kate, Prince Harry and Prince William all support the 100 Women in Hedge Funds Philanthropic Initiatives. This organization aims to help in three areas — female and family health, mentorship opportunities and education.
Queen Elizabeth II serves as patron to STEP ONE, also known as the St. Loye's Foundation, an organization that gives people with disabilities vocational and professional employment training.
Duchess Kate also works with the Air Training Corps, an organization that educates the next generation of air cadets. Aside from teaching kids specific skills needed to fly, it also helps build up their confidence and aids with leadership abilities.
Prince William took over patronage of the Royal African Society from Queen Elizabeth II in 2016. The organization helps promote Africa in business, politics, culture and academia while also improving relations between Britain, Africa and the rest of the world.
Prince Charles has been a patron of Woodland Heritage since 2005. The charity works to improve the management of woodlands throughout Britain.
Sarah, Duchess of York is a patron of The Mullany Fund, a UK charity aimed at providing social mobility via the healthcare profession. The organization helps low-income medical students get through their schooling and also offers a mentor program.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall is a patron of The Silver Line, a charity aimed to help those 55 and older who are struggling with loneliness or are in need of advice. The charity is open 24 hours a day and regularly checks in and helps callers find local groups and services that might be able to help them.
Like many of Duchess Kate's other patronages, SportsAid focuses on both children and sports. This charity works to aid young talented athletes who don't have the means to go pro. It supported more than two thirds of the athletes competing on Britain's Olympic team.
Queen Elizabeth II is a patron of I CAN (Invalid Children's Aid Nationwide), a charity aimed at assisting with speech development in kids. Their mission is to help those with speech problems overcome their obstacles.
An organization close to Duchess Meghan's heart? The Association of Commonwealth Universities, which helps those eager to learn get access to higher education in Britain's Commonwealth countries.
Zara Tindall is a patron of the Catwalk Spinal Cord Injury Trust, a charity based out of New Zealand that supports spinal cord injury research.
Rhino Conservation Botswana is a Botswana-based charity aimed a protecting the country's rhinos. Prince Harry has been a patron since 2017 and has worked to help the organization achieve its goals of re-populating and conserving the species.
Prince William is also a patron of Centrepoint, a British charity that helps improve the lives of at-risk and disadvantaged youths and homeless young people.
Queen Elizabeth II is also a patron of The Council of Christians and Jews, an organization that advocates for Christians and Jews to work together to fight intolerance and prejudice.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall is a patron to the National Osteoporosis Society, a charity working to improve diagnosis, prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. The organization also helps to influence health and social care policies for those already suffering from the condition.
In 2018, it was announced that Duchess Kate would be a patron of Evelina London Children's Hospital, a medical center focused on providing healthcare to kids.