In case there wasn’t enough going on this year, two couples within the Royal Family have announced their separations. This is obviously sad news, regardless of the circumstances, and unfortunately the timing of it all means that it’s fitting into a broader narrative that the Queen’s family is full of young people making her white hair go even whiter. Honestly, if the Queen was able to trudge through the 1990s, I think she’ll be okay.
As the Duke of Sussex took final leave of London and jetted back to Vancouver, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge carried out a new milestone in their own royal careers: hosting their first reception at Buckingham Palace. The juxtaposition remains startling, but this engagement came as close to a response as we’re going to get from the rest of the Family – a display of unity. While William and Kate headlined Monday evening, the Palace announced that they were to be flanked by the Princess Royal and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
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.
[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.
We just did a roundup on Monday, but in the interest of covering off on the week with a few stray stories (none of which really warrant their own post), I thought I’d do another before the weekend. We left off with the Prince of Wales and Duke of York both visiting the Queen at Balmoral last weekend, but since then the Queen’s second son departed Scotland for a holiday in Malaga with his ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York.
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.
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.
Like two Stuart princesses before her, George II’s eldest daughter, Anne, married into the Dutch Royal Family, taking her place as the Princess of Orange. The marriage wasn’t her first choice, but it was her best shot at not ending up a spinster at her detested brother’s court. Unfortunately, though blessed with her mother’s intellect, she inherited her father’s social charm.
The Queen, accompanied by her two eldest children, attended this year’s Braemar Gathering at the Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park in Braemar, Aberdeenshire. The event has the regular attendance of the monarch ever since Queen Victoria first showed up in 1848, and, held on the first Saturday of September, it coincides perfectly with when the sovereign is in residence at Balmoral Castle.
Well, apologies again for being late to the party, but it’s been that kind of week…and it’ll be that kind of next week if we’re being really honest. HOWEVER, there’s no way I’m going to skip the opening day of Ascot, particularly when the Duchess of Sussex showed up for the first time, so let’s catch up!