Meghan Markle‘s royal patronage with Mayhew, a British animal welfare charity, has ended after nearly three years as a patron. On Wednesday, the organization shared a heartfelt letter written by Markle to the community.
The Duchess of Sussex began her patronage after being introduced to Mayhew by her good friend and animal behaviorist, Oli Juste, who passed away earlier this year. “We shared, amongst many things, a commitment to animal welfare, and a deep love of rescue dogs,” Markle wrote in the letter. “In fact, it was Oli and his fiancé Rob who helped care for my rescue dog, Guy, when I had just moved to the UK and he was recovering from a debilitating accident. They loved him as though he was their own.”
Remembering her time spent as a patron, Markle wrote, “As my three-year patronage to Mayhew came to a close earlier this year, I reflected on the work they have achieved in the hardest of times—during a global pandemic with minimal resources, safeguarding staff from their stations in Afghanistan, and still resolving to remain steadfast in their vital day to day work for animal and human welfare throughout London and across the globe.”
The mother-of-two went on to add that in Juste’s memory, she has decided to dedicate a wing in Mayhew to him. “We will be creating the Oli Juste wing at Mayhew, to shelter the animals who may have a harder time finding their forever homes. Because much like Oli, they will never be forgotten, and they will always be loved,” wrote Markle.
The heartfelt letter concluded with a message for the community: “Though my time as patron of Mayhew has come to a close, my unwavering support has not. I encourage each of you to support in whatever way you are able. The emotional support of a rescue animal is unparalleled—as you’ll soon realize: it is not you who saves them, it is they who save you.”
Howard Bridges, the CEO of Mayhew also shared a few words on Markle’s departure: “We are indebted to The Duchess for her dedicated support over the past three years; she shares Mayhew’s values and commitment to improving the lives of in-need animals and pet owners in our local communities across the UK, and internationally.”