Buckingham Palace

The Queen, 70 years and the charity sector

By Alex Miller 30 May 2022 3 minute read

An official Platinum Jubilee programme, from the Royal Collection’s ‘Official Royal Gifts and Souvenirs shop’, will set you back £10 and over 84 pages you can learn all about the Queen’s reign and the planned festivities of the Jubilee weekend.

In this country, the monarchy act somewhat like the page numbers to our national story—one way or another, whether you like it or not, present on each page. Our entire national story would probably stretch over more than 84 pages (and cost you more than £10), but after 70 years in position, the Queen has been a constant for decades, whilst the pages of our national story have kept turning.

The past 70 years for the social sector

At moments like this, people choose to look back and reflect on times gone by in concurrence with the celebratory milestone in question: in this instance 70 years.

How has the social sector developed over the course of the monarch’s reign? Well, in the few lines I have available to me in this blog, it is obvious that the scale and scope of our sector has grown significantly, confronting issues that weren’t on the agenda decades ago, for example climate change. Our use of digital tools and data to help achieve our missions has grown dramatically also. However, there is of course much more work still to be done to ensure our sector is working in the best possible way for those who need us most—challenging the entrenched systems that hold back progress.

Civil society plays a hugely important role in this country, rising up to meet the crises that have sadly occurred all too often over the course of this 70-year reign, and of course, the Queen has been a fixture in our sector over the past 70 years too. Not quite door knocking or running marathons, but lending her support to a wide range of charities throughout her reign through her patronages.

The Queen’s patronages

How large is this support? How many charities does the Queen put her name to? Get ready for some important Jubilee trivia.

According to the website Royal.uk, a site which aims to provide an authoritative resource of information about the monarchy, over 3,000 organisations list a member of the Royal Family as their patron or president. This of course doesn’t answer our question, as we are looking specifically at the Queen and specifically her charities—not her ‘military associations’ and ‘professional bodies’.

For those interested, members of the Royal family receive hundreds of requests each year from organisations enquiring about patronages, and therefore they tend to keep their patronages to a ‘manageable number’, apart from the Queen and previously the Duke of Edinburgh who, according to this site, once held ‘over a thousand’ patronages between them.

This Guardian article from ten years ago gets us closest to a definitive answer by sharing details of research conducted by Charities Aid Foundation in 2012. The Queen was patron to 510 British charities at the time of her Diamond Jubilee, and a further 90 charities based around the world. The Queen’s charity portfolio, if you will, was 14% community and civic causes, and education and training charities made up another 14%.

As this particular Jubilee gets written into our collective history, and now that you are armed with some key stats for your extra days off work with family and friends, it’s worth taking the time to recognise the role of our sector and your organisation in our national story.

As we look ahead to the bank holidays, the social sector will hopefully benefit greatly from this opportunity to come together, have a street party, share these days off with your neighbours and build connections within your community. Here’s to another 70 years of development in the sector, helping those most in need and fighting for changes to the systems that stand in the way of people living happy and healthy lives.

This year NPC is celebrating its 20th anniversary, a slightly smaller milestone but a momentous one for us nonetheless. You can find out more about supporting our future, helping us to champion our sector and reach the 70-year mark ourselves, in this blog here.

The Queen has been a fixture in our sector over the past 70 years. How many charities is she a patron of? Find out here: Click To Tweet


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