Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II today announced that she will be stepping down as patron of 25 charities, including from Wimbledon, in a step towards easing workload ahead of her 91st birthday nin 2017.
Buckingham Palace said the announcement was the start of a process that would see patronages passed on to other royal family members in the coming months, believed to be a way of allowing the monarch to make fewer public appearances.
“At the end of the Queen’s 90th birthday year, Her Majesty will step down as patron from a number of national organisations. Her Majesty will continue to serve as patron to hundreds of charities and institutions but will now share this work with her family,” a Buckingham Palace statement said.
“Many of the organisations already have other members of the Royal Family as vice-patrons or presidents, which will ensure a smooth transition. This decision follows the example set by the Duke of Edinburgh, who resigned from a number of patronages on the occasion of his 90th birthday in 2011,” it said. The Queen’s husband Prince Philip, 95, had stepped away from a number of charities five years ago.
Tuesday’s announcement covers patronages to the Holocaust Day Memorial Trust, NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), Barnardo’s and Save the Children among those being passed on to other members of the royal family.
The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, better known as Wimbledon, will go to tennis fan Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. The Queen has been Patron of the world’s oldest tennis tournament Wimbledon since 1952, the first year of her reign, though she is not a tennis fan and has only taken her place in the royal box a handful of times.
“We would like to thank Her Majesty for her long and unwavering service to The Club and The Championships during her time as our Patron. We remain immensely proud of her role in the history of the Club and The Championships,” said Philip Brook, chairman of the club while paying tribute to her years of service.
“We would like to welcome HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, who will take up the Queen’s former duties as our Patron, and also recognise with appreciation the ongoing contribution of HRH The Duke of Kent, who will continue his long-standing role as our President,” Brook said.
The Duke of Kent is expected to continue presenting the singles trophies at Wimbledon, but the Duchess may be invited to present some of the trophies for doubles. The Rugby Football Union has announced that rugby fan Prince Harry will take over from the Queen as its patron. The Queen is royal patron of more than 600 bodies, 433 of which she has been patron of since 1952.