What is a Royal Patronage and what will happen now the Queen’s stripped Prince Andrew of his?

What is a Royal Patronage is the question on many royal fans' minds after Her Majesty's recent statement.

What is a Royal Patronage as the Queen strips Prince Andrew of his patronages
(Image credit: Image credit: Future// Image 1: Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images // Image 2: Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images)

What is a Royal Patronage is a question many might be wondering as the Queen confirms that Prince Andrew has been stripped of his Patronages and military honors.  

The Queen has shared an official statement that revealed Prince Andrew had lost his Royal Patronages and military honors a day after the the lawsuit against him intensified. The Duke of York had submitted a bid to have Virginia Giuffre's civil case scrapped but this has now been dismissed by a New York Judge and the case can go ahead. Virginia alleged that she was the victim of sexual abuse by Prince Andrew when she was 17. The Duke of York has repeatedly and vehemently denied the allegations made against him. 

Since the US Judge’s ruling, Buckingham Palace has released a short statement, declaring, “With the Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen. The Duke of York will continue to not undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.” 

With this decision Prince Andrew has also lost his HRH title as well as his patronages and military honors. But what is a Royal Patronage and what will happen to those that used to be held by the Duke of York now?

What is a Royal Patronage?

The Queen and other members of the Royal Family have thousands of Royal Patronages between them and this is the term given to when the royals link up with charities, military associations, professional bodies or public service organizations. Having a prominent royal as a Patron helps give these organizations additional publicity and showcases their vital work and contributions to society. 

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Whilst some Royal Patronages are well known organizations, others can be smaller, more local or more specialist. The Royal Family’s official website has revealed that the royals often limit the number of patronages to a number that is manageable for them so that they are able to give each of them a “significant amount” of their time. 

However, they add that an exception is the Queen, who’s previously been said to hold over 600 Patronages, a lot of which she inherited from past monarchs.

According to The Independent, before he stepped away from public duties in 2019, Prince Andrew reportedly held over 200 Royal Patronages. These included those of charities, military groups, sailing clubs and golf clubs. 

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew, Duke of York (wearing the uniform of Colonel of the Grenadier Guards) watch a flypast from the balcony of Buckingham Palace

(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Over the subsequent years several organizations and charities are understood to have cut their ties to the Duke of York. The publication also claims that amongst the military affiliations he lost, Prince Andrew will no longer be Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, honorary air commodore of RAF Lossiemouth or colonel-in-chief of the Royal Irish Regiment, along with many other honors.

What will happen to Prince Andrew’s Royal Patronages now?

Following the recent Palace announcement many royal fans might now be wondering what will happen to Prince Andrew’s royal patronages and military affiliations. As a formerly prominent member of The Firm, the Duke of York was a Patron to a number of organizations. However, these patronages now officially belong to Her Majesty having been returned with immediate effect. 

Prince Andrew, Duke of York & Queen Elizabeth II watch the horses in the parade ring as they attend Day 2 of Royal Ascot

(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

According to The Guardian, the patronages and honors that were once held by Prince Andrew are reportedly set to be redistributed amongst other members of the Royal Family by the Queen. They added that sources have stressed that these patronages would never be returned to the Duke of York, regardless of what might happen in the future. 

It’s also been claimed that the decision for the Queen to strip Prince Andrew of his patronages and military titles was one “widely discussed” with senior royals, including his brother the Prince of Wales and nephew, Prince William. For the patronages in question, however, it could perhaps be a little while yet before they receive a new Royal Patron. 

Not only is this an immensely challenging time for the Queen to decide on all those receiving them, but past events have shown it can take time for a redistribution to happen.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 at Westminster Abbey

(Image credit: Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle “stepped back” as senior members of the Royal Family in 2020 and the Sussexes later lost their royal patronages. As reported by ITV, in a statement at the time Buckingham Palace declared, "The honorary military appointments and royal patronages held by the duke and duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of the royal family. While all are saddened by their decision, the duke and duchess remain much loved members of the family."

Reports around this time claimed the Queen had “likely candidates” in mind to receive these, with people predicting Duchess Kate was to be handed Prince Harry’s former sporting role.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex meets pupils during his visit to The Rugby Football Union All Schools Programme

(Image credit: Photo by Arthur Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

However despite this, no official announcement has been made about this and according to the Rugby Football Union website, their Royal Patron is currently the Queen, after the patronage was returned to her. Whilst Meghan Markle’s successor as Royal Patron of the National Theatre has not yet been announced, nor has who might follow Prince Harry as Captain General Royal Marines if his military titles are also set to be redistributed.

With this in mind it’s not clear how soon Prince Andrew’s former Royal Patronages will be handed to other members of the Royal Family following the Queen’s recent statement, though it will likely require much consideration from the monarch before a decision on who will receive them is reached. 

What relation is Prince Andrew to the Queen? 

Prince Andrew, Duke of York is the third of the Queen’s children and was born at Buckingham Palace on February 19th, 1960. He was the first child born to a reigning monarch for over a century, with his older siblings Prince Charles and Princess Anne having been born when their mother was still Princess Elizabeth. He is currently ninth in the royal line of succession behind Prince Charles, Prince William and his three children and Prince Harry and his two children. He lives at the Royal Lodge in Windsor, close by to the Queen’s Berkshire home, Windsor Castle, and was made Duke of York in 1986 at the time of his marriage.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew, Duke of York on day five of Royal Ascot

(Image credit: Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

Who was Prince Andrew married to?

Until 1996 when they divorced, Prince Andrew was married to Sarah Ferguson. The former couple tied the knot at Westminster Abbey in July ten years earlier and separated in 1992 during what became known as the Queen’s “annus horribilis” or “horrible year”. Prince Andrew and Sarah are parents to Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie and grandparents to their respective children, August Brooksbank and Sienna Mapelli Mozzi. 

Prince Andrew, Duke Of York And Sarah, Duchess Of York At Wentworth Golf Club In Surrey

(Image credit: Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Following the recent news, a source has claimed to OK! Online that, "Fergie is devastated. She's a very positive person and she always sees the sunny side up in life, but this has been a blow.”

Sarah Ferguson also resides at the Royal Lodge, albeit in a different part of the home to her former husband, and over the years have been said to have remained good friends after their divorce.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use , Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!