National Theatre head dismisses claims of rift with Duchess of Sussex

National Theatre head dismisses claims of rift with Duchess of Sussex
National Theatre head dismisses claims of rift with Duchess of Sussex

The National Theatre's artistic director has dismissed claims of a rift with its patron, the Duchess of Sussex.

The Daily Mail had reported that "National Theatre bosses were left fuming" when the former actress, who became the venue's patron in January 2019, and her husband the Duke of Sussex announced they were scaling back their royal duties and moving to Canada.

But Rufus Norris said the report was incorrect.

Up Next Gala 2019 - London
Up Next Gala 2019 - London

"A complete fiction," he told The Daily Telegraph.

"From our perspective, I don't think it's going to change anything."

The theatre has become known in recent times for its community theatre programmes as much as for hosting performances from Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett.

It will have achieved Mr Norris's five-year targets of 50% of its writers, directors and actors being female as well as 20% of writers and directors and 25% of performers being "people of colour" by next year, the artistic director said.

Mr Norris also said he was looking forward to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson's forthcoming biography of William Shakespeare.

"Here is someone who understands that the most famous Briton that ever walked was a playwright," he said.