Theatre lets its royal secret slip
IT HAD been one of the most closely guarded secrets of the Duchess of Sussex’s career, as she worked behind the scenes to perfect her first royal patronages and announce them to the world.
That is, until someone at the National Theatre got a little overexcited.
The theatre last night accidentally published official confirmation that the Duchess would be its royal patron on its website, with a photograph celebrating the news.
In a post on the “what’s on” page of the site, dated today and intended to be shared once the news was confirmed by Kensington Palace, the theatre declared: “The Duchess of Sussex announced as our new Royal Patron.”
The patronage is currently held by the Queen, who is understood to be handing it over to her grand-daughterin-law in a public show of support.
The role will be considered an ideal fit for the Duchess, who was an actress before marrying into the Royal family.
She is known to have recently invited Rufus Norris, the artistic director of the theatre, for a private meeting at the palace, with industry leaders later
speaking of their hopes that she would take up a role championing the arts.
The announcement was to be the result of months of careful planning, with the Duchess and her team making secret visits to numerous charities. Palace sources had previously disclosed that she had held regular private meetings with charity leaders, emphasising her desire to choose patronages care- fully and build life-long relationships.
The Duchess is also known to have met the Campaign for Female Education, which works to empower young women in Africa, and The Association of Commonwealth Universities.
The first confirmed patronage will see the Duchess work with the National Theatre to build on its mission to con- vince a new, young, diverse audience that the art form is for them.
Norris is a vocal advocate for broadening theatre audiences, pledging to increase the diversity of actors and staff and promising a 50-50 gender balance.
The Duchess of Cambridge will next week visit The Royal Opera House costume department to learn about the 10,000 outfits it uses each year. ♦ Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers will be seen in Japan for the first time, as it is displayed there along with 60 other paintings from the National Gallery. The 1888 work will be shown in the exhibition Masterpieces From The National Gallery, London, to coincide with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Sunflowers is rarely lent and this will be only the third time it has left the country.
News of the Duchess of Sussex’s National Theatre patronage was accidentally leaked on its website a day early