Let’s not talk about Sussexit. Instead, let’s catch up on literally everyone else in the Royal Family, because surprisingly there’s been a fair bit going on. Most of what follows is from the last week, with a few tidbits that date back a little earlier but were lost in the Christmas shuffle.
Well. Wednesday was a crazy day. If you missed the drama, then you can catch up here on the initial wave of reporting. Today, we’re going to touch on some odds and ends that didn’t make it into my initial post because of all the information coming out, as well as weigh in on some of the reactions and narratives beginning to build.
[N.B. The below post was written before the Sussexes’ news yesterday. Since it’s not overly relevant to this topic, I haven’t edited it, save one little note at the end.]
Before we get started, Happy Birthday to the Duchess of Cambridge, who turns 38 today! The occasion was marked at Anmer Hall last weekend, but I’m sure there are some day-of festivities planned now that the family has returned to London. We’ll next see her out and about on Wednesday when she and the Duke visit Bradford for their first engagement of the new year.
With that, let’s turn to the matter at hand: last year’s engagement numbers. If you keep up with royal news then you may have seen the end-of-year articles tracking who the “hardest working” member of the Royal Family was in 2019. If you read more than one, then you may have noticed very different statistics get reported. There’s no exact science to these tallies – what constitutes an engagement is in the eye of the beholder, however the most traditional approach is to count it if it made it into the Court Circular.
Merry Christmas! I hope everyone is having a happy and relaxing holiday. As we speak, I am typing this next to my sleeping Cavalier King Charles, a roaring fire, and a very festive Christmas tree 🙂 With presents opened and an interlude before dinner, it seems like a good time to check in with the Royal Family. As many of you have no doubt seen, this was a big year over at Sandringham: Prince George and Princess Charlotte joined the Christmas Day walkabout.
Last night the Queen hosted this year’s diplomatic reception at Buckingham Palace, an annual to-do that convenes thousands of representatives from over 100 countries. Members of the Royal Family always attend, and given that the event is white tie, we are always gifted tiaras, family orders, and all the other royal trappings.
This is technically a private reception, and as such, historically, we have had to make do with arrival shots of family members going through the BP gates. Last year, however, photos taken from the party were shared, a shift the Palace has doubled down on this year. It’s a subtle change, but I think an important one – opportunities to allow access in a controlled way are almost always a smart move in the long run, in my opinion.
That’s a lot of acronyms in a title, but last night the Queen hosted a reception celebrating 70 years of NATO at Buckingham Palace. Guests included Presidents Trump and Macron, Canadian PM Trudeau, the UK’s Boris Johnson, among many others. And while the Queen, the Prince of Wales, and the Duchess of Cornwall were in full host mode, the Duchess of Cambridge was the only representative of the “younger” royals thanks to the Duke of Cambridge’s visit to Kuwait and the Sussexes’ extended break from duties.
On Sunday, following the previous evening’s Festival of Remembrance, the British Royal Family turned out for the Remembrance service at The Cenotaph. This annual event is not only a hallmark of the royal calendar, but one that convenes the UK’s veterans, senior politicians, and members of the public for a somber recognition of those who lost their lives in service to the nation. Frankly, there are few countries who mark this occasion better.
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.