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His Majesty The King, our Patron, President of the National Trust
His Majesty The King, our Patron, President of the National Trust | © Chris Jackson

The former Prince of Wales was our President from 2003 until the death of Her Majesty the Queen and his ascension to the throne. In May 2024 he continued his royal patronage, acting as our Patron.

His Majesty's role at the Trust

He was Patron of the Trust's Centenary in 1995 and subsequently agreed to be President, succeeding Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

He held the role of President of the Trust from 2003 until the death of Her Majesty The Queen and his ascension to the throne in 2022. In May 2024 he continued his royal patronage, acting as our Patron.

In this capacity, the former Prince of Wales took a personal interest in all aspects of our work. He hosted fundraising events, met with volunteers and visited properties on a regular basis.

The National Trust in His Majesty's own words

This is what he said about the National Trust when he became President in 2003:

'As President of the National Trust, I never cease to be amazed by the uniquely varied activity with which it is involved: it is custodian of an extraordinary range of our national heritage, from beautiful countryside and coastline to fine gardens and country houses. Yet the Trust is not only about the 'great and grand'; it looks after many unexpected treasures too.

'Properties like the exquisite 16-sided A La Ronde in Devon, or the last working spade mill, Pattersons, in Northern Ireland, or even The Workhouse at Southwell in Nottinghamshire, which reflects the day-to-day life of the very poorest in the 19th century.

'My late grandmother, The Queen Mother, was President of the National Trust for many years – and I was enormously proud to be her Vice-President. I was therefore delighted to become President in her place because the National Trust has meant a great deal to me over the years.

'I believe I have become President at a very interesting time in the National Trust's history as it builds on its foundation in the 19th century, its development in the 20th century and now faces the new challenges of the 21st. It has to represent continuity, but also far-sightedness, just as the landscape gardeners of the 18th century planned for the future as they laid out gardens like Stourhead and Croome Park, both now looked after by the Trust.

'While there is an increased understanding and appreciation of precious landscape and architecture, there continues to be a growing concern about the impact of the constant expansion of urban areas, of roads and airports. These twin concerns – the positive and the negative – are expressed in television and radio programmes, campaigns and protests, and also in the growing membership of the National Trust itself.

'I believe that the Trust's work is no less important in the countryside: it owns some 250,000 hectares and has many farmers as tenants, often in the remotest parts of the country where farming is financially precarious. Here the Trust's mission to support local communities to maintain continuity, while conserving the natural environment for this and future generations to enjoy, is so vital.

'I hope that, like me, inspired by this valuable organisation, you will have the opportunity of exploring the huge variety of beautiful places in the care of the National Trust. Members will find some unexpected and new treasures, while others, I hope, discover a wealth of beauty and history on their doorstep and, as a result, perhaps be moved to support the work of the National Trust in preserving the best of our heritage for future generations to enjoy, and, you never know, even be inspired enough to understand the continuing need for an 'organic', sympathetic building tradition when it comes to the way we build the future heritage in our precious countryside today.'

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