King Charles III Becomes Patron of The Royal Ballet School

King Charles III Becomes Patron of The Royal Ballet School

In May 2024, The Royal Ballet School announced that His Majesty King Charles III will be its Patron. The announcement followed the Royal Household’s review of 1,000 Royal Patronages and charity Presidencies as part of the celebrations marking the first anniversary of His Majesty’s coronation.

Previously, Queen Elizabeth II honoured the School with Royal Patronage for over 65 years. Her sister, Princess Margaret, was the School’s President until her death in 2002, and King Charles, then Prince of Wales, became President in 2003. Princess Margaret’s daughter, Lady Sarah Chatto, is now the School’s  President.

A Legacy of Royal Patronage

The King, Queen, and other members of the Royal Family dedicate their names and time to numerous charities and organisations. A Royal Patron or President brings essential publicity to these organisations, highlighting and promoting their significant achievements and contributions to society.

Queen Elizabeth became the Patron of The Royal Ballet School in 1956. This occurred when the School, The Royal Ballet, and the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet (later renamed Birmingham Royal Ballet after its move in 1990) received a Royal Charter. The Charter unified the two Companies and the School into a single, threefold institution.

King Charles’ Commitment to the Arts

King Charles has always had a strong interest in the arts, heavily influenced by his grandmother’s love for classical music. He remembers her taking him to see the Bolshoi Ballet, a leading Russian ballet company, at Covent Garden when he was seven.

His Majesty has long supported the arts through his charities, with an emphasis on providing transformative opportunities for young people. The national charity Children & the Arts, which he founded in 2006, has helped over half a million children access creative and artistic experiences they might not have otherwise had.

His Majesty’s History With The Royal Ballet School

King Charles has visited The Royal Ballet School several times to meet with students and staff, observe classes, and attend performances. As Prince of Wales, he visited the School for the first time as its President in 2004. He returned in 2009 for the White Lodge opening gala, launching the event with a speech on the importance of fostering young people’s potential.

Students had the honour of performing for His Majesty at Buckingham Palace in 2012. He greeted the attending staff and students and met with recent alumni, including Marcelino Sambé, Anna Rose O’Sullivan, and Matthew Ball.

In 2016, King Charles visited the School to watch classes and meet staff and students. The School also presented him with a pair of decorated pointe shoes as a gift for Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday.

In 2019, students performed at a special gala at the Royal Opera House to celebrate King Charles’ 70th birthday. The world premiere of The Cunning Little Vixen featured White Lodge and Upper School students. His Majesty attended opening night and met with members of the cast after the performance.

King Charles’ Ongoing Support of the School

In addition to serving as President and now Patron of the School, King Charles has also supported students through the Prince of Wales Bursary Fund. Established on his 70th birthday, the fund comprised donations from generous philanthropists to provide bursary support for young dancers. On average, 88% of students receive financial aid to attend the School.

Anna Birkett, the School’s Interim Chair of Governors, says the School was “delighted and greatly honoured” to learn about the continued Royal Patronage.

“We are deeply grateful to His Majesty The King for his continued recognition and support of our work,” Birkett says. “We particularly value our continued close association ahead of the School’s historic centenary in 2026, which we look forward to celebrating with His Majesty.”

About The Royal Ballet School

A world leader in classical ballet training, The Royal Ballet School nurtures talented young dancers for careers with prestigious companies like The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet. Students showcase their skills on renowned global stages, including the Royal Opera House, and learn from some of the best dance teachers. The School’s admissions process evaluates only a dancer’s talent and potential in classic ballet, not their academic ability or household income.

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