Our Royal Patron

Her Royal Highness, Princess Alexandra, was appointed Royal Patron of Rockinghorse in July 2017.

To celebrate her Patronage, Her Royal Highness made a special trip to the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton, which was opened by the Princess back in 2007. This completes a unique double for the Princess (The Queen’s cousin) having been the original children’s hospital Patron since 1954. Rockinghorse is now one of the few Sussex-based charities to hold Royal Patronage.

Her Royal Highness took over patronage of our charity from Lady Mary Herries (formerly Lady Mary Mumford), who sadly passed away in April 2017. Lady Mary was Lady-in-Waiting to Princess Alexandra for over 50 years, and was Rockinghorse’s one and only Patron in half a century. She had duly accepted the invitation from Dr Trevor Mann back in 1967 when our charity was founded.

During her visit, Princess Alexandra spent time visiting staff, patients and their families during a tour of the dedicated Children’s Emergency Department and the hospital’s surgical ward and critical care unit, before being welcomed at a reception hosted by the Alex and Rockinghorse. At the reception, Her Royal Highness unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark her visit (pictured above), celebrating 50 years of Rockinghorse and 10 years of the ‘new Alex’, since its move from Dyke Road in Brighton to the Royal Sussex County Hospital site.

Speaking at the time, Ryan Heal, Rockinghorse Chief Executive, thanked the Princess for accepting her role as Royal Patron, presenting Her Royal Highness with a specially commissioned diamond and gold Rockinghorse brooch designed by Brighton-based jewellers, Posh Totty Designs. He said: “As you can imagine, we are honoured to be awarded this visit by Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra at such a prominent time in both the charity’s and hospital’s history. It has been a truly momentous occasion and I sincerely thank everyone across the region who continues to support our cause for the sick children of Sussex.”

Marianne Griffiths, Chief Executive of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, added: “We’re very proud to welcome Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra to mark and celebrate 10 years of the new Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital and 50 years of our dedicated partner charity Rockinghorse. We are enormously grateful for the support that Rockinghorse continue to provide and really value our partnership that is centred on going above and beyond for patients.”

To view all the pictures from the visit, please click here.