The King – he says YES!

10th May 2024

The Friends of Winchester Cathedral and Norwich Cathedral have both announced that His Majesty King Charles III has accepted their invitation to be patron.

The confirmation of his patronage at Winchester follows a tradition spanning more than eight decades. The first Royal Patron of the Friends was HRH The Duke of Connaught, Queen Victoria’s third son, on his death King George VI became Royal Patron in 1942 and then Queen Elizabeth II accepted the patronage on her accession to the throne in 1953.

A letter to The Friends from Buckingham Palace said

“Following the thorough analysis of over one thousand organisations … His Majesty would be delighted to accept the Patronage of The Friends of Winchester Cathedral.”

Bruce Parker, current chairman of The Friends which was formed in 1931, said:

“For more than eighty years, we have been immensely proud to have the monarch’s patronage so for His Majesty to continue this support is such an honour.

“As Buckingham Palace said in its announcement, ‘Royal patronage highlights the vital work of organisations and allows their many achievements and valuable contributions to society to be more widely recognised and promoted’.

“While we help look after the fabric of Winchester Cathedral, we know His Majesty will very much approve of our efforts to promote and support our choral foundation and music generally.

“We know Their Majesties have had to slim down their commitments and so we feel particularly privileged to have been chosen. Let’s hope we can soon welcome our new Royal Patron to Winchester,” he added.

The Friends’ most recent contribution to the life and work of Winchester Cathedral was over £400,000 towards the restoration of the organ and over the years they have provided substantial support in a number of ways including repairs to stonework, stained glass windows, funding the Fleury building extension and more recently, funding high qualirty video and sound equipment to enable live-streaming.

And in Norwich too, the Friends received confirmation of His Majesty’s patronage from the Palace this week. The King’s patronage follows on from other royal patronages including that of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II who was previously patron.

The Friends’ first annual report in 1930 states that His Majesty King George V had given his approval and, along with other members of the Royal Family, had offered support for the Friends.

Chairman of the Friends of Norwich, Charles Barratt said:

“I am absolutely delighted on behalf of all the Friends that the honour of Royal Patronage will continue into our 95th year. It is so appropriate as we approach our centenary celebrations.”

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Dr Andrew Braddock, said:

“Norwich Cathedral is honoured and delighted that His Majesty the King has accepted the patronage of the Friends of Norwich Cathedral.

“The historic and close ties between the Royal Family, Norfolk and the Cathedral are something we celebrate.

“His Majesty’s patronage is a huge encouragement for the Friends in all they do to support the Cathedral,” he added.

Founded on 18 February 1930, the Friends is an independent charity which was set up to raise funds to help maintain Norwich Cathedral’s fabric.

Since that time, the charity has supported the building of the Hostry and Refectory, restoration work in the Cloister, and the rebuilding of the Cathedral’s organ.

The Friends of Norwich Cathedral currently has more than 1,800 members.

For more information about the Friends of Norwich Cathedral, visit

York Minster has also announced that His Majesty the King has reconfirmed his patronage of the York Minster Fund.

The York Minster Fund was created during one of the Minster’s greatest challenges in recent history – the threatened collapse of its Central Tower in 1967 and is the Minster’s lead fundraising partner.

Since that time the Fund has raised money for a range of projects at York Minster, and in 2007 it became the cathedral’s lead fundraising partner.

It raises an average of £1m each year to support ongoing conservation and restoration, as well as the cathedral’s work in music, learning and education.

The Fund is currently focusing on raising funds to provide state-of-the-art protective glazing to all 128 of the cathedral’s windows over the next 20 years.

The £11m project is being supported by a grant of up to £1m from the Heritage Lottery Fund to match every pound raised by the public and YMF, with the money used to establish an endowment fund to help pay for the glazing project. Find out more here.

The Friends of Canterbury Cathedral Friends has just announced they have received confirmation that His Majesty ‘would be delighted to accept the Patronage of The Friends of Canterbury Cathedral’.

The Friends was founded in 1927 and was one of the first organisations of its kind in the UK.

They call themselves the Cathedral’s fan club and as well as organising a rich programme of events throughout the year, including some exclusive friends events, they work together to cherish the building, contributing financially, and directly to many individual and vital projects, and providing a channel for individuals to show their support.

Exeter Cathedral too has announced that King Charles has this week confirmed his continued Royal Patronage of the Exeter Cathedral 2020s Development Appeal.

The Development Appeal aims to raise £10 million in the coming five years. With support from generous grant-giving Trusts and Foundations, donations and legacy gifts the cathedral has been able to complete the first phase of Chapter House refurbishment works with a new glass lobby, underfloor heating and a new lighting scheme. In the next phase it aims to renew and restore the East End of the Cathedral in 2022-2025, and build the Cloister Gallery, raise funding for the music endowment, to be invested with the Exeter Cathedral Music Foundation Trust and undertake other works as needed.

A further appeal, estimated at some £8 million, will follow in the next five years to 2030 to complete the works to the Cathedral Nave and entrances at the West End, and to further improve our facilities, to deliver effective working, increased exhibition capacity and the long-term viability of our other key buildings.

Photo credit – Russell Sach / Exeter Cathedral