Smiling Camilla takes to the stage in new role swiped from Meghan Markle

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CAMILLA, Duchess of Cornwall, has stepped out for a visit to the National Theatre for the first time since taking over from Meghan Markle as royal patron.

The Duchess of Sussex was stripped of the patronage when she and Prince Harry stepped back as senior royals in 2020. It was one of two patronages bestowed upon Meghan, 40, in 2019.

The position had been held by the Queen for 45 years before being handed over to Meghan.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, 74, took up her role as patron of the National Theatre in March.

For the occasion, Prince Charles’ wife wore a black skirt suit, and a blue scarf accessorised with a navy Chanel bag, pearl earrings and a statement silver brooch.

During her visit, she met with patrons of the National Theatre’s Public Acts company.

The Duchess of Cornwall National Theatre

The Duchess of Cornwall became patron of the National Theatre in March (Image: Getty)

Camilla National Theatre

Camilla met staff and members of the National Theatre’s community programme ‘Public Acts’. (Image: Getty)

The Duchess was pictured beaming as she was introduced to the National Theatre’s Executive Director, Kate Varah and Director, Rufus Norris.

Camilla’s tour saw her visit the Olivier Theatre where she watched a 10-minute workshop on The Odyssey, by members of the National Theatre’s Public Acts company.

After this, she was invited on stage and introduced to participants of the Public Acts community company.

She met with representatives from departments across the National Theatre including the prop and costume teams, cast members and puppeteers from The Ocean at the End of the Lane and front of house staff.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall

The Duchess wore a black skirt suit, accessorised with a navy Chanel bag (Image: Getty)

Camilla plate National Theatre

The Duchess of Cornwall was asked to throw a plate during a visit to the National Theatre (Image: Getty)

She told one performer “It looked like fun!” and was also warned “not to touch” by one of the costume designers showing Camilla their work.

Before she made her exit, Camilla was invited by the theatre’s director to smash some prop plates on stage, to which she joyfully obliged.

The move was inspired by David Eldridge’s Middle, a production which opens on Wednesday.

Rufus Norris told the PA News agency that he thought it would be “fun” for the Duchess to try the technique out.

Camilla National Theatre

The Duchess met representatives from departments across the National Theatre (Image: Getty)

Camilla with Artistic Director and Joint Chief Executive of the National Theatre Rufus Norris

Camilla with Artistic Director and Joint Chief Executive of the National Theatre Rufus Norris (Image: Getty)

He said: “Let’s just say there’s a scene where not all the crockery survives the performance. So, as an example of what the props team get up to, it was an opportunity to have a bit of fun and let her throw stuff around for a bit.

“She did talk about trying it again later when she got home and I was a bit worried that may not be the best idea!”

He added that Camilla was particularly “surprised” by the volume of community and education work carried out by the National Theatre.

Mr Norris said: “We are absolutely delighted to be working with her. Before the workshop, we had a private meeting between Kate, myself and the duchess.

“The most important thing is to get to know each other and talk about the priorities for the royal family and how we can work together going forward.”

Duchess of Cornwall National Theatre

The Duchess looked at costumes and props during her visit (Image: Getty)

Photos from her visit also show the Duchess receiving both a bow and a handshake from a puppet.

An avid supporter of theatre and literature, Camilla was said to be “delighted” about taking over Meghan’s position as patron.

The Duchess is said to be especially keen to support the industry after it greatly suffered during the pandemic.

It is claimed Meghan was handed the patronage back in 2019 due to her career as an actress.

The esteemed role was among the patronages the Duchess lost after she and Harry confirmed they would be stepping down from royal duties.

During her time as patron Meghan made just one public appearance at the theatre, shortly after her appointment, and visited privately in March 2020.

 Source: EXPRESS CO UK

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