Our Patron

Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal

Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal has been Patron of the Restorative Justice Council since January 2011. Over the past twelve years, she has been a strong advocate for improving access to restorative justice for victims of crime and increasing the wider use of restorative practices within our schools. The Princess Royal’s commitment to the RJC and wider restorative sector is exemplified in the open letter to our members below.


Open letter to Restorative Justice Council Members (2018)

There is much to celebrate about the progress made in restorative practice in recent years. The evidence that restorative justice leads to high victim satisfaction and reduced reoffending has propelled its availability across England and Wales. In many areas, victims of crime, from low-level offences to the most complex cases, can contact their local service and experience a high-quality restorative justice service. I visited two such services in 2018 (in Torquay, Devon and Wallsend, Northumbria) where I met passionate staff and volunteers, committed commissioners and heard a shared language of restoration.

How we relate to each other is more important than ever. In schools, restorative practice provides a key opportunity to embed the importance of relationships with others at an early age. At a celebration with restorative schools in Cornwall last year, I spoke with school pupils and university students about how restorative approaches help them to articulate their feelings, feel empathy and resolve conflict. We are holding our children back if we do not equip them with these skills that are so essential for them later in life.

At a visit to Enfield Youth Offending Unit in north London last summer, a young girl described to me how participating in a restorative community panel helped her take responsibility for the harm she had caused and take action to set things right. The panel was made up of volunteers from the local area, who give their time to help young people avoid being drawn into a current of crime. Only with community support and compassion can our children and young people steer a safe course into adulthood and achieve their full potential. More progress can be made, of course. In the absence of a national government restorative justice action plan, the onus is on police and crime commissioners to advance the quality and availability of restorative justice services in their area. I hope the RJC and its members can support Commissioners to continue to build and strengthen their services for victims and offenders across the country.

Restorative practice in schools exists in pockets across the country and I know the RJC and its members are striving for greater recognition and understanding of its benefits within these settings. Restorative approaches in prisons and forensic mental health settings are showing that a new way of organisational working is possible. These approaches have the potential to transform working environments. The benefits of these approaches need to be understood and communicated if restorative practice is to achieve its transformative potential.

The strength of the RJC is its members, and my visits have shown me how diverse that membership is. The breadth of work taking place across the sector, from schools to prisons to children's homes, shows how crosscutting the principles of restorative practice can be. I have had the pleasure of meeting staff, volunteers and participants from a range of sectors and backgrounds, but what unites us?

In my view it is our emphasis on the importance of our relationships. Our relationships define us. They are the glue that hold our families, communities and country together. These relationships are damaged when we cause harm to one another. Restorative justice enables us to build the empathy, trust and understanding needed to repair them.

I have been heartened to see this focus on the fundamental importance of relationships played out and reinforced again and again by restorative organisations across the country. This would not be possible without the hard work and commitment of all of those involved in the RJC and those organisations and individuals affiliated with the charity.

In her role as Patron, The Princess Royal has visited several of the RJC’s member organisations and has attended many RJC events, most recently our first Annual Northern Ireland conference held in Belfast.

Picture Gallery


Visit to Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner (2018)

Queens Garden Party (2022)

Northern Ireland Conference (2023)

Northern Ireland Conference (2023)

Northern Ireland Conference (2023)

Northern Ireland Conference (2023)

Northern Ireland Conference (2023)

Northern Ireland Conference (2023)