National Theatre artistic director dismisses claims of a rift with patron Meghan Markle

Annie Lord
Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex: PA

Meghan Markle’s role as patron of the National Theatre will be “business as usual” despite her move to Canada.

Artistic director Rufus Norris has denied claims that any of the National Theatre’s bosses were left “fuming” by Meghan and Harry’s decision to leave the UK, calling those allegations a “total fiction”.

Norris told The Telegraph: “There has been no indication at all from her that her engagement with us would be anything other than business as usual.

“She has proven to be a very engaged patron and we look forward to working with her. She has star reach, she understands the nature of what we’re trying to do.”

Meghan was made a patron of the National Theatre in January 2019. At the same time, she also took on honorary roles with Mayhew, Smart Works, and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

News of Markle’s continued patronage comes after an announcement from the Queen and other senior royal officials that Harry and Meghan will no longer be able to use the Sussex Royal label.

A source told the Daily Mail: “As the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are stepping back as senior members of the royal family and will work towards financial independence, use of the word ‘royal’, in this context, needed to be reviewed.”

Harry and Meghan built a website based on the title. They have also registered Sussex Royal as a trademark internationally on items including clothing, stationery, books and teaching materials.