This is proving an odd summer for the British Royal Family. Per tradition, members of the family pack it in for the month of August, engagements slow (in some cases to a screeching halt), and holidays are taken by not only the royals, but their staffs and the reporters who cover them. The risk with this schedule is that when there is news it has a way of dominating attention because there’s nothing else going on with which to distract. Such is the case this week, so let’s get into it.
On Tuesday the 2018-2019 summary report of the Sovereign Grant was released, sparking a slew of news stories on how much money the Royal Family brought in and spent, and raising the age-old question of whether their expenditure is worth the monarchy’s cost.
As royal watchers well know, June is a banner month for many of the British Royal Family’s biggest annual events. Just 24 hours after members of the House of Windsor convened at St George’s Chapel for the Order of the Garter ceremony, several more descended on Ascot for the annual horse races that will run through the week. The Queen, a keen horsewoman, has only missed this event once since ascending the throne and this year had the added pizzazz of including King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands.
This year’s Order of the Garter service at Windsor Castle is an especially significant one as the Queen has welcomed King Felipe of Spain and King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands into the fold. The monarchs were appointed in 2017 and 2018, respectively, and formally invested today as Supernumerary, or ‘Stranger’, Knights of the Garter.
Happy Friday! I thought we’d celebrate with a quick royal roundup on a few odds and ends going on with the Royal Family this week.
It’s that time of year again! The British Royal Family gathered for Trooping the Colour, one of the biggest banner events in the royal calendar. For the uninitiated, TTC is a military display put on by regiments of British and Commonwealth armies. Each year, the Royal Family processes in a public parade and then watches the fly past from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
As many of you may know, today is the 75th anniversary of D-Day, when Allied forces launched the largest combined land, air, and naval operation in history to liberate German-occupied France. The epicenter of today’s commemorations went on in Normandy itself, but additional services and ceremonies were held throughout the United States, Canada, and of course, the United Kingdom.
Monday kicked off a three-day state visit from the United States, and while meetings and public engagements will be ongoing today and tomorrow, most of the big ticket (read: royal) items happened on Day One.
There’s been some ongoing conversation online as to which members of the Royal Family supported the Queen during this particular visit, and so I think it’s worth noting that generally there is one family member – and their spouse if they’re married – that acts as the host, while other family members will attend certain engagements, and then a good group of them joins the state banquet held at Buckingham Palace.
The Prince of Wales hosted today’s garden party at Buckingham Palace on the Queen’s behalf, with the Duchess of Cornwall and the Princess Royal by his side. These gatherings have been held at the Palace every spring since the reign of Queen Victoria, while there’s a corresponding party at Holyroodhouse when the Queen’s in Scotland in July.
The Royal Foundation, led by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, launched a new 24/7 textline to support people in crisis. The service, Give Us a Shout, was quietly rolled out earlier this year on a trial basis and has reportedly already served 60,000 people. It’s also based on volunteers, of which it has amassed 1,000, with William calling for another 3,000 in the video share by the organization this morning.