Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in car going to church in Sandringham after Queen's cold 2017

The Queen and Prince Philip attend Sunday Service at St Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham, Norfolk, UK, January 8, 2017. Picture by James Whatling

Does Prince Philip still work? Royal watchers are constantly asked that question. After all, the Duke of Edinburgh has had a series of health scares in recent years and looks increasingly fragile. Oh yes, he’s also 95.

Analysis of the royal family’s workload from the Court Circular shows that Prince Philip still works, a lot. To be sure, he’s not working a 60 hour week, but his schedule is still impressive. Given he’s three decades beyond the normal year of retirement and has kept up a punishing schedule since his marriage to Queen Elizabeth II seven decades ago, that’s an achievement worth noting. Age is clearly no excuse for Prince Philip.

In the first three months of 2017, he undertook 28 engagements. Like previous years, he and his 90-year-old wife, Queen Elizabeth II, enjoyed a long Christmas holiday break at the royal estate of Sandringham in Norfolk. Indeed, Prince Philip didn’t undertake his first bit of royal work until Feb. 14 when he accompanied the Queen to opened the National Cyber Security Centre.

After that, however, his schedule ramped up dramatically. In the last two weeks of February he knocked off seven engagements, while he did 21 more in March

A close inspection of Prince Philip’s 28 engagements reveals:

  • 6 were with Queen Elizabeth II
  • 17 of the 28 engagements were outside royal palaces
  • 21 were for organizations and charities with which he has a long-term relationship, including the Royal Marines (he’s Captain General). Another was the annual dinner for the Jesters Club, of which he’s patron.
  • All but three were in the Greater London area

Last year, Prince Philip tallied 219 appearances. He’s off to a slow start, but if Prince Philip maintains the pace he set in March, he’ll beat that 2016 number this year.

How does Prince Philip’s work schedule compare to that of Kate

Given Prince Philip is slowing down his once packed routine, it helps to compare his workload to that of another royal, one who is also not a full-time royal like Prince Charles or Princess Anne. So I decided to plot the engagements of Prince Philip to that of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. In total, Philip’s tally of 28 work events exceeds that of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, who completed 26 engagements in the same three months of 2017. While she and Prince William do have two small children whom they are focusing on at the moment, she also has a nanny and an increasingly large household staff. Kate is also 60 years younger. Comparison of work engagements between Kate Middleton and Prince Philip in 2017

What’s interesting is that while Kate’s work was relatively evenly spread out between the three months, she generally bunches her work days together. In February, only one day’s worth of engagements was on their own (though March’s schedule was more scattered). On the other hand, Philip has a clear preference for weekday engagements—just one is on a weekend.

Right now, Prince Philip is ahead in the work race. But it’s a long year. It will be interesting to see how the work schedules of Kate and Prince Philip change as the royal year continues.