Fields in Trust

Our History

Since 1925, we’ve worked to ensure the survival of precious parks and green spaces by securing legal protections, supporting landowners, and lobbying policymakers for change.

Foundation and Royal Patronage

We were founded by HRH The Duke of York, later HM King George VI, in 1925 as the National Playing Fields Association and are proud of our long heritage protecting parks and green spaces. In 1932 our first Patron, HM King George V granted our Royal Charter. Today, we are fortunate to have the active support of our President HRH The Prince of Wales who took over this role when HRH The Duke of Edinburgh retired after 64 years. HM Queen Elizabeth II was Patron of the charity throughout the seven decades of her reign. We are extremely grateful to the Royal Family for their long-standing support.

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh KG KT

During his long and committed service, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was involved in every aspect of the organisation. As well as regularly working in the office, he attended opening ceremonies of protected parks and playing fields, played in many fundraising cricket matches, and hosted charity galas. We are enormously indebted to The Duke for his support and were deeply saddened by his passing aged 99 in April 2021.

Our History

Discover more about our decades of history in this interactive archive which charts the story of our founding, to the world’s first charity single by Frank Sinatra, plus much more.

1925 - 1937

HRH The Duke of York (later HM King George VI) served as our first President from our founding in 1925 and set a precedent of hands-on involvement in the activities of the charity.

1938 - 1946

After His Royal Highness ascended to the Throne in 1937 both Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby and...

1947 - 1948

...Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma undertook spells in the role before handing over to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in 1948.

1948 - 2012

The Duke was an extremely committed President and served 64 years before retiring in 2013.

2013 - Current

HRH The Prince of Wales took on the Presidency which he retains to this day. 

The Prince of Wales shares our commitment to creating a better future for parks and green spaces to help people and nature thrive. He was the Patron of our Diamond Jubilee Appeal leading the efforts to secure a legacy of over 1200 protected spaces as a tribute to HM The Queen.