Earl of Wessex new royal patron for Festival

The Earl of Wessex who has taken over from the Queen as royal patron of the Edinburgh International Festival. Picture; PA
The Earl of Wessex who has taken over from the Queen as royal patron of the Edinburgh International Festival. Picture; PA
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The Earl of Wessex has taken over from the Queen as royal patron of the Edinburgh International Festival.

Buckingham Palace announced in December last year that the Queen would stand down as patron of 25 organisations at the end of her 90th year.

With the celebration of the Queen’s official birthday in June, patronage of the International Festival now passes to Edward.

This year marks the festival’s 70th anniversary and the Earl is the third royal to become patron of the organisation after the Queen and the Queen Mother.

Edward is already patron of a number of cultural organisations, including the National Youth Theatre, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Northern Ballet and the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland.

International Festival director Fergus Linehan said: ‘We are thrilled to welcome the Earl of Wessex as patron of the International Festival.

“His royal highness has a great interest in performing arts and we look forward to welcoming him to see some of the world’s greatest artists and ensembles here in Edinburgh.”

Mr Linehan also paid tribute to the Queen’s long service as patron and the continued support of the royal family throughout the festival’s history.

He added: “On behalf of the trustee board and staff of the International Festival, I’d like to thank the Queen for her long-standing support.

“Her majesty often visited the International Festival alongside members of the royal family and we are delighted that this family connection continues as we welcome the Earl of Wessex as our third royal patron.”