Kate Middleton has taken over from Prince Harry as royal patron of the Rugby Football Union, however it’s taken the Queen two years to decide what to do with her grandson and Meghan Markle’s roles
The Queen delayed reallocating Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal patronages as she didn’t want to risk “antagonising” the couple, an insider has claimed.
When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex turned their backs on royal life in 2019, they were forced to give up many of the roles they had previously been handed by the Monarch – including patronages of England Rugby, The Royal National Theater and the Association of Commonwealth universities.
The couple reportedly wanted to keep their roles, releasing a sharp message after the Queen stripped them of their patronages saying “We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”
After the Sussexes’ shock statement and crisis talks among the firm, including the infamous Sandringham Summit meeting, the Queen released a statement confirming the logistics of them stepping down.
This included details of what would happen to their roles, stating: “The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by The Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of The Royal Family.”
However, two years on from ‘Megxit’, royal watchers were beginning to wonder what had happen to the roles, and nothing had been mentioned about the reallocation.
But this week, the Queen has announced that the Duchess of Cambridge will take on one of Harry’s titles and become the new patron of English rugby.
She’s the first person to take over one of the Sussexes’ former roles, with the Daily Mail reporting an official announcement is expected “imminently”.
Adam Gerrard/Daily Mirror)
The appointment is an interesting one as it will see her going head to head with husband Prince William, who is patron of the Welsh Rugby Union.
An insider told the Daily Mail that the Queen delayed handed out the couple’s roles as she didn’t want to risk antagonizing Prince Harry, especially as he’s spent his first two years of freedom making shocking claims about the royal family.
The source told the newspaper: “People just tread a bit carefully when it comes to them.”
Harry is a huge rugby fan and also plays the sport. He was vice-patron of the RFU from 2010 to 2016 before taking over from the Queen as patron.
The 95-year-old monarch also handed him the patronage of the RFL in 2016 and carried out the draw for the forthcoming World Cup in January 2020 at the height of the “Megxit” saga.
But with the Six Nations Championship imminent, the need for a figurehead was said to be “pressing”.
If announced soon, we’re likely to see Kate and William’s competitive sides come out in the Six Nations – which starts next month – as their teams go head to head.
Kate is extremely sporty, and is already patron of the All England Lawn and Tennis Croquet Club, the Lawn Tennis Association, SportsAid and the 1851 Trust, which works with young people.
Long before her 2011 marriage to William, Kate and her family would plan their weekends around international rugby matches.
She attended the 2015 World Cup in England and the 2017 Six Nations clash between France and Wales in Paris.
She’s also a keen tennis and hockey play and has sailed from a young age, championing the physical and mental benefits of sports.
The Queen’s decision could also spark more of Harry and Meghan’s patronages being redistributed, including the presidency of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and the London Marathon Charitable Trust.
She also has to work out what’s going to happen to Prince Andrew’s patronages, which he’s been stripped of as part of his on-going legal case.