Meghan Markle has been given her first four royal patronages, CNN reports, and she will champion education, the arts, animals, and vulnerable women.
A royal patronage, for those not familiar, is, in a way, a job. Though they don't get paid for their work, the royals serve as the public face of the charities they represent, helping raise money and awareness for causes near and dear to them.
Since the British royal family lacks any real political power, it's been tradition for them to not only carry out the ceremonial duties of the British government, but also take on patronages to advocate for causes near and dear to them. Queen Elizabeth, for example, has over a thousand patronages, according to the royal family's website, as does her husband, Prince Philip; most of those were inherited from previous monarchs. The remaining thousand or so patronages held by the Windsors are split, not necessarily evenly, among the remaining members of the family.
"Every member of the Royal Family receives hundreds of requests each year from organisations asking for their support. Royal patronages add status to an organisation, and visits and involvement from a Royal Patron can often bring much needed publicity."Speaking of inheriting royal patronages, Meghan's first four have been assigned to her by none other than the Queen herself, who was previously patron of two of those causes. So what are Meghan's new patronages?
The one that is likely closest to her heart is her new job as patron of Smart Works, a charity that helps vulnerable women with job interview training and employment training. Meghan, who has described herself as a feminist, has already worked with vulnerable London women before, compiling a cookbook of recipes from survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire.
Juliet Hughes-Hallett, chair and founder of Smart Works, is thrilled to have the duchess on board.
"An acknowledged champion of women and their rights worldwide, the Duchess will motivate ever more women to come to our centers and get the job that will transform their lives. The Duchess's patronage will inspire the women we serve and help them reach for the stars."Another is Mayhew, described by CNN as "a grassroots charity supporting animal welfare both in London and internationally."
Her other two patronages are being handed down to her by the Queen, who had previously been their patron.
London's National Theatre not only puts on shows, but also has a learning center and otherwise champions the arts. And the Association of Commonwealth Universities promotes higher education in the U.K. and around the world.