Running out of royals? -

Running out of royals?

The older Windsors take on far more annual duties than the younger set. But recent royal illnesses may put an end to that.


Sang Tan/AP

Recently the health of the older generation of royals has been under a microscope. First the Queen all but disappeared from view after she was admitted to hospital with gastroenteritis on March 4. Big public engagements were cancelled, including a trip to Italy, though she did continue with those that were in the safe confines of royal residences.

Finally, on Wednesday, she moved back into the limelight, going to the Baker Street Station of the London Underground for the 150th anniversary of the oldest subway system in the world.

Then today, Buckingham Palace confirmed that her cousin, HRH Prince Edward, duke of Kent, was admitted to hospital. He’d suffered a minor stroke, sources said. All of his engagements have been cancelled.

And that brings up a demographic time bomb placed at the heart of the Windsor team. For, according to Tim O’Donovan’s meticulous accounting of annual royal duties, members of the family undertook 4,470 engagements in 2012. And of those, 25 per cent were done by Windsors over the age of 76, including the Queen, Prince Philip, the duke of Kent and his sister, Princess Alexandra. Extend the group of royals to those age 60 and older and the number jumps to 3,019 or 67 per cent.

So at a time when other senior citizens are putting up their feet and relaxing, these nine Windsors polished off two-thirds of all the family’s work.

While the young royals—William, Kate and Harry—may be the bright, shiny faces of the future, right now they don’t do a lot of hospital openings or gala premieres. William (88 duties) and Harry (61) are both in the military while Kate, even before she got pregnant, was doing a very light load as she concentrated on settling into married life. In 2012 the 30-year-old undertook 111 engagements while the duke of Kent, 77, undertook 239 engagements–more than double Kate’s.

The illnesses of the Queen and duke of Kent are a signal that in the near future the number of engagements undertaken by the royal family is going to plummet.

And for a dynasty that needs to be seen to be believed, that’s got to be a worry.



Running out of royals?

  1. Representing Britain at the Pope’s bash in Rome were Prince Richard the Duke of
    Gloucester, his Duchess, plus Baroness Warsi and Kenneth Clarke.


    So either they were snubbing the Pope….or they’re very very short on royals at the moment.

    On edit: I should add that this is Chuck’s fault….he kept insisting on a small team of only ‘senior royals’….and cut his 2 brothers, his sister and their kids out of the running……so there isn’t as much backup anymore….right at the time they need it.

    • I think Pr. Charles only ‘cut’ his siblings’ kids out of the ‘royal purse’, didn’t he? I’m pretty sure Charles’ 3 sibling still get money from the tax payer. Whether they do or not, can’t they still attend these things? Or, will they, and the extended or ‘lesser known’ royals only attend these things if they’re paid?

      • Public attention is more a consideration than money.

      • As far as I can tell Beatrice and Eugenie are cut off period. Beatrice did 55 events in 2013. Before anyone starts squawking, they were all unofficial events and she did 9 events that were official meaning she was asked to represent the BRF and yes she does have a FULL TIME job. I think Eugenie is still trying to figure out what she wants to do professionally but she also does many unofficial events (meaning things they do on their own time.) At this point it’s been said that B & E WILL NOT be full time royals, which was not their choice. But like I said E did 9 official events so I’m thinking that someone in the background is seeing that this slimmed down monarchy crap is just that crap and that William and Kate are useless.

  2. I am relieved to know that HRH the Duke of Kent will not simply drop dead without this journal realising. It had long been my impression that Macleans thought itself too cool for school to bother about the Royal Family, or at least about its more long-standing members. That it has made the favourable observations about the Duke that it does in this article, is a testament to the maturity and unaffectedness of this august Canadian publication.

  3. Interesting comments about Charles wanting a smaller circle. I suppose Andrew’s children are still too young, but those Princesses ought to pick up some engagements.

  4. The royals, who cares!

  5. In these modern times, I believe that the term royal is archaic. If you believe in someone having a royal title in this day and age, then the royal must have a position which has job requirements. I am sure that many of these royals are born into this status and many do not want the position, only the perks and money. Look at Prince William and Prince Harry, they want to keep working in the military forces, they are not prepared to give it up at a drop of a hat.

  6. ….and why not Dame Edna???
    I’m sure he/she would be delighted.
    Or is Charles jealously cutting him/her out??

  7. Nobody cares about these people! They are not relevant! They suck up taxpayers’ money and when they visit Canada, CANADA PAYS FOR THEIR VISIT! Outrageous! We need to do like Australia and give them the heave and tell them to go away. At least that would save Canadians millions of dollars a year if we get rid of the useless Lieutenant Governor’s Offices and such. That would be a good start.