2018 was a banner year for the British Royal Family between two weddings, a baby and the Commonwealth’s succession secure in the Prince of Wales. It was not, however, a year in which there was much angst over engagement numbers. By now we well know that the Queen’s four children will carry their weight, while the Queen is ramping down her duties, her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, is retired, and her grandaughters-in-law found themselves pregnant and/or not yet full-time royals.
As such, the big news from end of year stats on who worked the most – how many days and how many engagements – comes down to the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex.
So, let’s cut to the chase: No, neither William nor Harry worked comparable amounts to their father, uncles or aunt. They still had a pretty good year, particularly William, and frankly that’s what’s most important.
William’s workload is basically on par with that of his step-mother, the Duchess of Cornwall, and his aunt, the Countess of Wessex. What we are being shown, essentially, is that at this point in the Queen’s reign, her four children are expected to shoulder the lion’s share of the work, while her sons’ wives and grandsons are expected to divvy up the rest. Yes, William is in what the rest of us would call his professional prime, but by royal standards, he’s still only second-in-line to the throne.
Do I wish William’s numbers were higher? Sure. There’s a perfectly compelling case to be made for why William should work more than, say, the Duke of York, but it’s been made clear that we’re not going to get that just yet and frankly I’m tired of arguing the point back and forth. For right now, it is what it is.
Harry’s numbers are a tad lower, but not monstrously so. Given that he was involved in planning a wedding and took some time off for a honeymoon, etc. his statistics feel about right.
As for Kate and Meghan, this is pretty straightforward: Kate was on maternity leave from the end of March until the second week of October, while Meghan didn’t officially join the RF until May. As such, their numbers are pretty decent, bolstered in large part by overseas tours. Assuming Cambridge Baby #4 isn’t announced, 2019 will give a much fairer depiction of Kate’s next phase of royal life, while Meghan will have another truncated year due to maternity leave.
Finally, the crown must go to the Princess Royal who carried out 518 engagements in 2018, while the Prince of Wales was nipping at her heels with 507. As the monarch’s eldest children that feels entirely appropriate and whatever else you might say about these two, it’s hard to argue their work ethic.
Later this week I’ll do an EOY recap of the BRF’s year and we can cover some of the many highlights.