Royal philanthropy in a republican climate – a view from Australia

Michael Liffman

There is limited enthusiasm for royal involvement in Australian philanthropy, reflecting a general – though not unambiguous – current of republicanism

There are two primary modes in which Australia’s royal attachment through the British Commonwealth might be relevant to our philanthropic sector: as supporter and contributor, and as imprimatur.

With regard to the former, there is little evidence or expectation of individual royals making financial contributions to Australia’s charitable sector or even of becoming personally involved as patrons or supporters. Whether this reflects scepticism about the interest, generosity or motivations of the royal family, or an acceptance that if Australia is to become a republic it should not expect or accept such involvement, is not clear: probably both.

While for some donors, organisations bearing the title ‘Royal’ might seem less in need of support or less activist, probably for the more establishment philanthropic circles – from which the bulk of major gifts have traditionally come – and certainly for the public whose financial support remains so important, the title remains of considerable benefit.

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