As I write, the monarch has come to our little town…sorry, city. It’s great that Doncaster has featured in the King and Queen Consort’s mini tour of Yorkshire, and it will be interesting to see how his reign will differ from his mother’s.
Upon inheriting the throne, King Charles also inherited all her charity patronages—some 600+ positions, in addition to the 420 he already held as the Prince of Wales.
According to this article from the University of Liverpool, patronages are a two-way street. Yes, they provide a multitude of PR and marketing opportunities for the organisation in question, but it appears that they provide a great deal of purpose and fulfilment for the royal in receipt of the patronage.
Such arrangements between brands and royalty have been in place for more than nine hundred years, and the current royal family hold more than 3000 between them. I talked about royal representation in this article, after Prince Harry was hired in what could be described as a non-job for an ambitious brand. It’s rare that such patronages attract money into the charitable organisations they serve, though it can’t be denied that having royal representation adds a distinct level of credibility and professionalism for the company.
King Charles has said that he plans to redistribute his mother’s patronages amongst the other royals; however, he has also said that his ascension will prompt the slimming down of the monarchy. So, if there are fewer working royals to spread the patronages amongst, will he do away with some of these arrangements altogether?
Though many of the royals who are further down the line of succession to the throne have careers in the public arena, those who are nearer the top have their diaries filled with public engagements. It must get rather monotonous to be ferried around just to cut a ribbon and/or shake the hands of the dignitaries and representatives sent to greet you. I can see how being the figurehead of a very worthy charity could make a top royal feel like their position and service has extra meaning.
King Charles was in Doncaster to ‘sign off’ the city centre status it recently gained. The last time he was in the area was in 2019, when he visited the village of Fishlake, which had suffered catastrophic flooding over the festive period. This recent visit from the King was well attended, and Doncaster’s public enthusiastically welcomed him and the Queen Consort to the city centre. This was in contrast to the reception the couple had received in York, which was their first stop on the same day—a young University of York student attempted to pelt the royals with eggs as they conducted a walkabout.
Public opinion of the monarchy waxes and wanes; however, the respect a charity patronage brings tends to remain constant. In theory, the process sounds simple: interested companies approach the relevant private secretary of the royal they hope will represent them. However, I can imagine there is a lot of competition and more hoops to jump through at each stage.