The Duchess’ announced the end of her patronage with animal charity Mayhew – one of the few roles she kept when she and Prince Harry stepped back as full-time royals in 2020
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Meghan Markle has cut even more ties to the UK after announcing the end of another Royal Patronage.
The Duchess’ announced the end of her patronage with animal charity Mayhew – one of the few roles she kept when she and Prince Harry stepped back as full-time royals in 2020.
The London-based charity announced the end of their patronage yesterday, while adding it had been “an incredible privilege” to work closely with the Duchess.
The mother-of-two also shared an open letter detailing her heartbreak as close friend Oli Juste, an animal behaviourist who introduced her to Mayhew in 2019, tragically died earlier this year.
In this letter, the Duchess added that the new wing of the charity’s animal shelter would be named after him.
Meghan also praised the charity’s work through the coronavirus pandemic and in the evacuation of Afghanistan last summer.
Her decision to quit leaves only one charity patronage left for her in Britain, the women’s clothes and job interview coaching charity Smart Works, which did not respond last night to questions about whether she remained a patron.
Many royal insiders wonder whether she will ever return to Britain, where she and Harry retain a home in theory at Frogmore Cottage.
Their 10-month-old daughter, Lilibet, has never met her family in the UK and their son Archie, who will be three in May, has not been here since autumn 2019.
During her three-year patronage of the charity, the Duchess used her public standing to promote the work of Mayhew.
In 2021, she wrote an essay highlighting the work it had done delivering care packages to pet owners stuck in lockdown or isolation during the pandemic.
The Duchess said that “despite the hardship, Mayhew has been able to continue providing vital support to cats and dogs, and the communities around them.”
Her patronage of the Mayhew had been one of several commitments she had kept when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped back as full-time royals in 2020.
In her letter announcing her departure from Mayhew, the Duchess of Sussex wrote: “I was introduced to Mayhew by my dear friend, animal behaviorist, Oli Juste. We shared, amongst many things, a commitment to animal welfare, and a deep love of rescue dogs.
“In fact, it was Oli and his fiancé Rob who helped care for my rescue dog, Guy, when I had just moved to the UK and he was recovering from a debilitating accident. They loved him as though he was their own.”
Meghan adopted a rescue beagle named Guy while she was living in Toronto and later adopted Pula the labrador with Prince Harry, now both dogs live with the couple in their home in Montecito, California.
She continued: “It was nearly four years ago, as I was exploring possible organizations to volunteer with, that Oli brought me to Mayhew.
“He knew that beyond their adoption and rescue programs, their international work to keep animals safe, and their local work to find abandoned pets homes, that I would be drawn to their deep love of community, which transcended the animals themselves, and extended to the people around them. He was right. I fell in love with Mayhew, and soon became their Royal patron.”
Mayhew’s chief executive Howard Bridges said the Duchess has “generously made a donation in memory of her much-loved friend Oli Juste.”
Speaking of her loss, Meghan penned: “On January 15, 2022, my beloved friend Oli tragically and very suddenly passed away. It has left me, and so many others, heartbroken and reflective—knowing that the legacy he leaves for our furry friends is beautifully simple: just love them.Especially those left behind or forgotten.
“In his memory, we will be creating the Oli Juste Wing at Mayhew, to shelter the animals who may have a harder time finding their forever homes. Because much like Oli, they will never be forgotten, and they will always be loved.
“Though my time as patron of Mayhew has come to close, my unwavering support has not. I encourage each of you to support in whatever way you are able. The emotional support of a rescue animal is unparalleled—as you’ll soon realize : it is not you who saves them, it is they who save you.
“To the Mayhew community, thank you for entrusting me as your patron. It has been an honor.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.