Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, announced as the National Theatre’s new Royal Patron

Updated on 23 October 2019

The National Theatre has recently announced Meghan MarkleDuchess of Sussex, as their new Royal Patron. The news comes just a month after the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, graced the Dominion Theatre stage in support of the Invictus Games during a special gala performance of Bat Out of Hell. Members of the Royal Family have all throughout history supported London theatre, going all the way back to Shakespearean days. Queen Victoria, for example, famously purchased 20 private seats at the Royal Albert Hall on a 999-year lease and was also, naturally, the proud owner of the venue‘s Queen’s Box.

Meghan Markle succeeds the 'throne' as the National's Royal Patron

Meghan Markle’s patronage to the National goes hand in hand with her personal beliefs in the importance of supporting the arts and bringing people from diverse backgrounds together to enjoy the show. The role of Royal Patron has been passed down to the Duchess by Her Majesty The Queen, who has performed in the role for the last 45 years and has associated herself with the organisation since its early Old Vic days in the 1960s. Meghan Markle has notably spent many years championing the arts and is confident in her ability to make a difference.

The history of the role as National Theatre Royal Patron

The Queen became the Royal Patron of the National Theatre back in 1974 and attended the venue’s Royal Gala opening at South Bank in 1976, where she vowed to create a magical venue that could be enjoyed by people from all walks of life. This position continues to be held by the National Theatre to this day.

Before being named Royal Patron, HRH Queen Elizabeth II attended the 1951 Festival of Britain with her mother and partook in the ceremony of the laying of the foundation stone for the National Theatre. The stone remains on display in the foyer of the building, along with the stone that commemorates the 1988 granting of the Royal Charter.

The Queen and Prince Philip have been audience members to a number of National Theatre shows in recent years and were particularly fond of War Horse. The show’s puppet horse, Joey, has performed for Her Royal Highness many times, but most notably during the 2012 Diamond Jubilee celebrations and her 90th birthday in 2017.

The Queen’s last visit to the National Theatre was in 2013 during the venue’s 50th-anniversary celebrations. Accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth II opened the Max Rayne Centre, toured the NT’s new workshop spaces, viewed a rehearsal for Emil and the Detectives, and saw a performance of the Guys and Dolls number, ‘Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat,’ alongside the National Theatre staff. Joey the puppet horse escorted the Royal Family out of the building and Queen Elizabeth famously told Joey, ‘It’s lovely to see you again.’

What National Theatre shows are on right now?

The West End is currently running, or scheduled to run, such National Theatre productions as Nine Night, The Lehman Trilogy, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and Home, I'm Darling. 

The National Theatre is widely known for being the starting point for many West End shows. Natasha Gordon's debut play, Nine Nightfor example, began at the National Theatre before transferring to London's Trafalgar Studios, where it ultimately became the first ever play written by a black playwright to run in the West End. The smash-hit play about the complexity of family relationships is booking until 23 February 2019. Hurry and book your Nine Night tickets now while stocks last!

Save money on tickets to these National Theatre productions!

The Curious Incident (now - 27 April 2019)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is now playing at the Piccadilly Theatre and booking until 27 April 2019. Tickets to The Curious Incident are on sale now with no booking fees when you book by 31 January 2019. This offer is valid for all performances until 9 February 2019.

Book your tickets to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Piccadilly.

Home, I'm Darling (26 January - 13 April 2019)
Following a sold-out run at the National Theatre, retro play Home, I'm Darling opens at the Duke of York's Theatre on 26 January. Katherine Parkinson stars as Judy, a stay-at-home housewife who is obsessed with all-things-60s. But there's more than meets the eye when it comes to being a Stepford Wife. Get cheap tickets to Home, I'm Darling for as low as £22 on select seats and performances!

Book your Home, I'm Darling tickets.

The Lehman Trilogy (11 May - 3 August 2019)
Following in the footsteps of The Curious Incident, this National Theatre marvel is set to hit the Piccadilly Theatre this summer. Witness the rise and fall of the Lehman Brothers empire, from the moment the family came to America as a first-generation immigrant right to the financial crash of 2008. Tickets to The Lehman Trilogy are currently as low as £22 for select seats and performances.

Book your tickets to The Lehman Trilogy at the Piccadilly.

Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

Ephram is a jack of all trades and enjoys attending theatre, classical music concerts and the opera.