Giving Back: the Heiress’s Charities

Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge paints a picture during a charity visit during her 2011 North American Tour

Recently, I realized that the British aristocracy does a lot for charity. Charity polo match, charity shopping trip, charity luncheon, charity bracelets. This is something that is lost in the American culture. It’s nearly impossible to find an item you can buy with proceeds going to charity. I’m not sure why Americans don’t give back the way other cultures do but I decided to make a small change in my little world, and I asked myself what Kate would do.

Kate is a big patron of charities. Perhaps it is just the culture she lives in, but she often attending these charities balls, rowing races, shopping trips, along with being a patron of many charities.

Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, adopted the following four charities as a patron on January of 2012.

  • Patron of Action on Addiction
  • Royal Patron of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices
  • Royal Patron of The Art Room
  • Patron of the The National Portrait Gallery, London

She makes frequent visits to these charities, both officially and unofficially. Catherine also volunteers for the Scout Association and has been researching more charities to support in the future. She chose these charities based on her interests and lifestyle values, focusing on what was important to her.

All Royals support individual charities and choose them without suggestion or coercion, but rather what they value. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry aim to support charities based on the following areas of focus:

1) Armed Forces – Promoting the welfare of those who are serving or who have served their country in the Armed Forces;

2) Young People – Helping children and young people to build their skills, confidence and aspirations;

3) Conservation – Supporting communities to protect and conserve their natural resources for future generations.

These categories seemed like the best way to start to adopting charities of my own. I spent days researching, asking advice, and prioritizing the problems I wanted to see solved in our world. In order to be more “like Kate,” in her elegance, style, and good-hearted nature, I selected three charities to support, one from each of the above categories.

Armed Forces: With a family full of veterans, I wanted to support the military families. The sacrifice of an army wife or an air force child is more than we realize. Along with the looming threat of losing a loved one, they face financial hardships and lifestyle boundaries all while their spouse or parents is overseas. Operation Homefront is an American charity that supports these families. Military families are nominated and request donations and help for very specific problems. While you can donate money to a general fund, you can also select a specific family to support.  Many families are requesting donations for a very specific purpose, like an unexpected car expense or home repair.  It is a small donation that can make all the difference to a family who sacrifices so much for our freedom.

Young People: I researched quite a few charities for children for this decision. I knew I wanted a charity that helps as many children as possible, and I wanted a charity that helped children lead healthy and happy lives. Children’s Miracle Network does just that.  I was impressed by the range of ailments the network supports – everything from broken bones to unidentifiable diseases. Active in North America, the charity helps to support the leading children’s hospitals so they can provide amazing medical care. Children’s Miracle Network helps children recover from rare diseases, catastrophic injuries, and crippling illnesses to lead fulfilling lives.

 Conservation: This topic was a bit trickier for me. With a little research, I found that the United States has a lot of land and natural resources to preserve for our future. I found the Humane Society to best fit my values and ideals for a conservation charity. Not only does the Humane Society support domestic animals (like my cat, Princess Grace, or the Duchess’s dog, Gucci), but they conserve and protect wild animals and their natural habitats. Polar bears, seals, bald eagles, and deer are all protected thanks to the work that the Humane Society does. Fifteen years from now I will want to take my children to see the natural wonders of our country, and this charity can help me to do that.

This Christmas season, I will be making donations to these charities, along with one of Kate’s charities (you can read more about that in a later post). Along with these small steps, I will be donating stuffed toys to my local hospital and volunteering at a charity Christmas bazaar through my church. I think Kate would approve!

xo The Heiress


What do you do to make the world a better place? What are your favorite charities? Tell us! We’d love to hear from you.

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Creative Director at Effervescence Media Group
Christine is the editor of What Would Kate Do? and The Refined Side. When she isn’t writing, she can be found reading with a cup of tea. Her interests lie in history, etiquette, and consumer culture. She resides in Washington, D.C.
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