King shows support for firefighters and their families with new charity role

The King has become patron of The Fire Fighters Charity – a role previously held by the late Queen.

Charles accepted the position following a review of more than 1,000 patronages by the Royal Household.

The organisation, which offers health and wellbeing support to the UK’s fire services community, said the King’s appointment marks the continuation of a longstanding relationship with the royal family.

Royal visit to Scotland
The Prince of Wales is shown a new fire engine at Dumfries House in East Ayrshire in Scotland in 2016 (Danny Lawson/PA)

Elizabeth II became patron of the then-Fire Services National Benevolent Fund in 1953 and retained the patronage for 69 years until her death.

The organisation changed its name to The Fire Fighters Charity in 2008.

The late Queen was distraught in 1992 when her own royal residence, Windsor Castle, was ravaged by flames, destroying 115 rooms including the vast medieval St George’s Hall.

Disasters and Accidents – Windsor Castle Fire – Windsor
Queen Elizabeth II inspects the ruins of Windsor Castle with a fireman in 1992 (Tim Ockenden/PA)

Sherine Wheeler, chief executive of The Fire Fighters Charity, said: “The patronage of the late Queen, over almost seven decades, reflected the high regard in which our fire and rescue services – and those who work for them – are held by the Royal Household.

“So, I am delighted that we can continue to honour this legacy under the patronage of His Majesty The King.

“We extend our deep gratitude to him for his continued support and dedication to our work to ensure all those in the fire and rescue services community live healthy and happy lives.”

The Duke of Cambridge visit to Harcombe House
William with former firefighter Richard Baldwin in an art therapy session during a visit to The Fire Fighters Charity’s Harcombe House centre in Chudleigh, Devon (Ben Birchall/PA)

The Prince of Wales also has close ties with the charity, which has worked with his Royal Foundation.

William visited The Fire Fighters Charity’s centre in Chudleigh, Devon, in 2019 to mark Emergency Services Day and hear about the support it provides to members of the UK’s fire services and their families.