The Duchess of Sussex has been announced as the new royal patron of the National Theatre.
She takes on the title from the Queen, who has held the role for the past 45 years and has been associated with the theatre since its inception at the Old Vic in the 1960s.
The appointment was confirmed by Kensington Palace on January 10 and is among the first of the Duchess’ patronages to be announced.
Prior to her marriage to Prince Harry the Duke of Sussex last year, the duchess spent 10 years working in television as an actor, and was best known for appearing in US TV series Suits.
However, she trained in theatre and said she felt she could use her position to “focus attention on and make a particular difference to the sector”.
National Theatre director Rufus Norris said: “I would like to thank the Queen for Her Majesty’s long and unwavering support and service to the National Theatre. We were honoured when the Queen became our patron in 1974 and have celebrated many moments together including, in recent years, the Diamond Jubilee and the marking of our 50th anniversary.
“It is a privilege to welcome the Duchess of Sussex as our new patron. The duchess shares our deeply-held conviction that theatre has the power to bring together people from all communities and walks of life. I very much look forward to working closely with Her Royal Highness in the years to come.”
The duchess met with Norris last year on a private visit to the theatre, and is expected to return there for a public visit in the coming weeks.
The duchess’ patronage of the NT is one of four she has taken on, alongside the Association of Commonwealth Universities – in which she also succeeds the Queen as patron – women’s charity Smart Works and animal welfare charity Mayhew.