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Queen to hand over some national patronages to other Royal Family members

The Queen is to step down as patron of more than 20 national organisations at the end of the year, Buckingham Palace has said.

The Queen, who celebrated her 90th birthday in April, will relinquish her association with the bodies - just as the Duke of Edinburgh broke formal ties with some of his patronages when he turned 90 in 2011.

The move is likely to be seen as a common-sense decision which acknowledges the Queen's advancing years but Buckingham Palace stressed the monarch is still patron of more than 600 organisations.

The patronages will be taken on by members of the Royal Family and organisations involved include Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Barnardo's, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) and Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: "At the end of the Queen's 90th birthday year, Her Majesty will step down as patron from a number of national organisations. The patronages will be passed on to other members of the Royal Family in the coming months.

"Her Majesty is currently patron of more than 600 organisations and has enjoyed a close and active association with a great number of them throughout her reign. Her Majesty will continue to serve as patron to hundreds of charities and institutions but will now share this work with her family. Many of the organisations listed below already have other members of the Royal Family as vice-patrons or presidents, which will ensure a smooth transition.

"This decision follows the example set by the Duke of Edinburgh who resigned from a number of patronages on the occasion of his 90th birthday in 2011."

The Queen will be stepping down as patron from 25 organisations and bodies in total - many she has served for decades - including the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), Save the Children UK and Royal Navy and Royal Marines Children's Fund.

Now in her 91st year, the Queen continues to carry out a full programme of engagements but the monarch's long-haul flights have been under review for a number of years.

On the Queen's behalf, senior members of the Royal Family have made trips to her realms - countries where the Queen is head of state - like New Zealand, Canada and Jamaica in recent years.

And for a number of years, some investitures have been staged at Windsor Castle, alongside those at Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, allowing the Queen more time at her favoured Berkshire home.

Prince Harry was named as the new patron of both the Rugby Football League and the Rugby Football Union succeeding his grandmother the Queen.

While the Duchess of Cambridge has been announced as the patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club and the Duchess of Cornwall will become Barnardo's patron.

The Duke of York will become patron of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Children's Fund - which supports children whose parents work, or have worked, for the Naval Service.

Military charity Blind Veterans UK thanked the Queen for more than 64 years of service and welcomed her successor in the role, the Countess of Wessex.

It said the Queen's association dated back to her time as a princess, when she donated £36 she received as a wedding gift from citizens of Grahamstown, South Africa to the group, then known as St Dunstan's, to be used for the purchase of a guide dog in 1948.

She became patron of Blind Veterans UK in 1952, taking over from her father King George VI.

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