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Meghan Markle made patron of charity Smart Works

PATRON: Lady Juliet Hughes-Hallett (left), chair of Smart Works and Kate Stephens (right) CEO of Smart Works welcome the Duchess of Sussex (centre) as she arrives for a visit to Smart Works this morning

MEGHAN MARKLE has been made patron of four organisations, including Smart Works, a charity that helps unemployed women get back into work.

Kensington Palace announced that the Duchess of Sussex will take up the appointments this morning.

In a statement, the palace said: “The Duchess of Sussex will become patron of four organisations that reflect the causes and issues with which she has long been associated including the arts, access to education, support for women and animal welfare.”

As well as the Smart Works, the duchess will also become patron of the National Theatre, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the first and oldest international university network, and animal welfare charity Mayhew.

The duchess, who has previously met with Smart Works clients, of which half are from ethnic minority backgrounds and a considerable amount are single mothers, has made a visit to the charity's head office today.

Lady Hughes-Hallett, chair and founder of Smart Works, said: “We are thrilled to announce that the Duchess of Sussex will become the royal patron of Smart Works. An acknowledged champion of women and their rights worldwide, the duchess will motivate ever more women to come to our centres 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.”

“We have been honoured to welcome the duchess to our west London centre and see her engage with our clients and volunteers. Her empathy and insight were obvious. The duchess is a natural coach and our clients were inspired and helped by her.”

The patronages at the National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities have both been passed on to the duchess from the Queen, who has been patron of the organisations for 45 and 33 years respectively.

Dr Joanna Newman, chief executive and secretary general of the ACU, said: "We are absolutely delighted that HRH the Duchess of Sussex has chosen to become patron of the ACU. The duchess shares our passion for the transformational power of higher education, and Her Royal Highness' support will help champion higher education as a force for good in the Commonwealth and beyond."

The National Theatre welcomed Meghan's appointment and thanked the Queen for her unwavering support and service.

In a statement, Mayhew said: “We're honoured to reveal that Her Royal Highness the duchess of Sussex has become a patron of Mayhew. We're thrilled that HRH shares our commitment to improving the lives of animals and people, and are excited to make a difference together.”

The duchess will make public visits to the other three organisations over the coming weeks.

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