A Brief History of Her Majesty The Queen’s Patronages

An important part of the work of The Queen is to support and encourage public and voluntary service. One of the ways in which Her Majesty does this is through involvement with charities and other organisations. Her Majesty’s patronage of these organisations helps to recognise their achievements and the contributions they make to the many different sectors of public life in the UK and across the Commonwealth.

The practice of members of the Royal Family lending their names to organisations through formal patronages is thought to have existed since the 18th century. The first recorded patronage was King George II’s involvement with the Society of Antiquaries, an organisation concerned with architectural and art history, conservation and heraldry. The society still exists today and retains its Royal patronage through The Duke of Gloucester’s involvement. Many other organisations have enjoyed a long history of Royal association. Royal Patrons only very occasionally take on completely new charities and the majority of their patronages are of UK-based organisations.

Queen Elizabeth II accepts bouquets of flowers and chats happily with some of her subjects during a celebratory walkabout in Cheapside on her Silver Jubilee, 7th June 1977. (Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Did You Know?

The Queen has over 600 patronages, a large number of which were inherited from her father, King George VI, on her Accession. The Queen is also Patron of the Mothers’ Union, a role which was first held by Queen Victoria in 1898. Further The Queen has inherited patronages from Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and The Princess Margaret.

Click HERE to learn more about The Queen’s patronages.

The Queen supports the work of organisations with which she is linked by means such as visits to meet organisers and volunteers and hosting events at a Royal residence to recognise and reward achievement and success.

Princess Elizabeth makes a broadcast from the gardens of Government House in Cape Town, South Africa, on the occasion of her 21st birthday, 21st April 1947. In it, she pledged her service to the British Commonwealth and Empire. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)