Heritage

How a New Patronage Hints at Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Future Roles Within the Commonwealth

Meghan was announced patron of the Association of Commonwealth Universities on January 10.
IMAGE GETTY IMAGES/ MARK METCALFE
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On January 10, the royal family announced that Meghan Markle would be taking on new patronages, one of which is the Association of Commonwealth Universities. The ACU seemed a natural fit for the Duchess of Sussex, given her ongoing passion for education. (The three other organizations, the National Theatre, Mayhew, and Smart Works highlight Meghan's well-known interest in the arts, animal welfare, and women's empowerment, respectively.) But the ACU also hinted at Meghan and Prince Harry's future roles within the Commonwealth.

"The Association of Commonwealth Universities is an interesting one because, to me, that clearly reflects Meghan's interest in education and education for all, which we know that she is passionate about, but I think it also reflects the fact that she and Harry are going to have very prominent roles within the Commonwealth moving forward," royal reporter Victoria Murphy tells Town & Country.

"The Commonwealth is an institution that is very important to the royal family, and this patronage signifies to me that we can expect Meghan along with Harry to play a big role in that," Murphy continued.

For those unfamiliar, the Commonwealth is an association of 53 countries, many of which are former British territories. The Queen is the institution's leader, and in April of 2018, a decision was made that Prince Charles would be her successor in that symbolic role, as it is not a hereditary position.

Last year, it was also announced that Prince Harry would be taking on the role of Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, another indication that both he and Meghan would play a prominent role in the royal family's work within the Commonwealth.

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Even at her wedding, Meghan suggested that she could focus on causes important to the Commonwealth through her veil, which was embroidered with one wildflower from each of the Commonwealth countries (plus one for California, and another which represented her first home with Prince Harry, Nottingham Cottage).


The Commonwealth is very important to the Queen, Murphy says, and her passing on this patronage to Meghan can be seen as a validation of what the Duchess has already been able to accomplish in her first few months as a royal.

"I think the fact that two of Meghan's patronages have been given to her by the Queen so early on in her royal career—especially ones that the Queen has held for a very long time—is definitely an endorsement of Meghan’s work within the family," Murphy says.

*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com

*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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Caroline Hallemann
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