June is often one of the busiest months in the royal family‘s calendar. It’s crowded with high-profile occasions such as Trooping the Colour, which marks Queen Elizabeth II’s official birthday, as well as the Order of the Garter ceremony at Windsor Castle and then a week of horse racing at Royal Ascot.
This year was a bit more last-minute than usual.
First, the British general election on June 8 meant a rejigging in the royal family’s schedule. As always, events in which the non-political royal family would be seen with politicians were automatically pushed back to after the election. Also the tentative, pre-vote date for the state opening of Parliament was set for June 12, the same day as the Garter ceremony. So that colourful parade of velvet-robed knights and ladies was cancelled. And since it would be just two days after Trooping the Colour, the pageantry of a tiara-wearing Queen going to Parliament with her Household troops was scrapped for a more practical coat and car. Then Prime Minister Theresa May’s need to cobble together a government with an opposition party meant the opening of Parliament was delayed, and delayed and delayed. Finally, it took place on Wednesday, June 21. There were even more unexpected tweaks to the royal work schedule that day. With Prince Philip in hospital for a recurrence of a previous inflection, Prince Charles accompanied his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, to Parliament.
June was also a month marked by horror and grief. The London Bridge terrorist attack and the attack on members of the Finsbury Mosque added to a tally of terrorist attacks that have taken place in Britain this year (including the Westminster attack in March and a suicide bombing at a concert in Manchester in late May.) Then came the fire at the Grenfell apartment building in London. At least 70 were killed and a community devastated. Members of the royal family, including the Queen, comforted families, visited the wounded in hospital and supported emergency workers.
The Queen acknowledged the country’s sombre mood with a statement, released in advance of Trooping the Colour, usually a festive occasion. She said, “In recent months, the country has witnessed a succession of terrible tragedies. As a nation, we continue to reflect and pray for all those who have been directly affected by these events. During recent visits in Manchester and London, I have been profoundly struck by the immediate inclination of people throughout the country to offer comfort and support to those in desperate need. Put to the test, the United Kingdom has been resolute in the face of adversity. United in our sadness, we are equally determined, without fear or favour, to support all those rebuilding lives so horribly affected by injury and loss.”
WHO DID WHAT IN JUNE
When it comes to the royal family’s work schedules, the hardest-working royals are the Queen’s four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward. Other members of the House of Windsor have less gruelling public schedules.
Plotting their workload onto calendars makes it easy to see trends—who works weekends, who doesn’t–and how royal parents cluster events so as to not interfere with their children’s school schedules. (May’s schedules for Kate, Elizabeth II and Philip are here. Kate and Philip’s data for the first quarter of 2017 is here)
KATE’S TOTAL FOR 2017: 47 ENGAGEMENTS
- January: 4
- February: 10
- March: 12
- April: 6
- May: 10
- June: 5
Her husband, Prince William, clocked in 13 engagements. Six of them were military-related, including riding behind the Queen’s carriage during Trooping the Colour as colonel of the Irish Guards. (William works 80 hours a month as an air ambulance helicopter pilot. This summer, he’s leaving that position as the family moves to London so Prince George can attend school.)
His brother, Prince Harry, went to the event in a carriage with Kate and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall as he isn’t a colonel of one of the Household Division regiments.
Harry travelled extensively in June, including visits to Singapore, Australia and Malawi, for his charities. In Sydney, Australia, he announced that the 3rd Invictus Games would be held Down Under.
As well, he’s gearing up for this year’s Invictus Games, which will be held in Toronto in September. Conveniently, that’s also the Canadian city where his girlfriend, Meghan Markle, lives when she’s shooting the TV series Suits.
THE CHAIRMAN AND CEO OF THE ROYAL FAMILY
When it comes to nonagenarian work ethic, Queen Elizabeth II, 91, and her husband, Prince Philip, 96, are in a class of their own. Even though Prince Philip was admitted to hospital for two nights hours after enduring the sweltering heat of Royal Ascot, he still completed 14 engagements.
The Queen’s workload increased noticeably from May (24 events) continues to hold a majority of her engagements behind the gilded gates of her palaces. In June the palace tally was 28 events, or two-thirds of her June workload.
THE OTHER ROYAL CONSORTS
Kate’s rather light workload has not gone unnoticed. Statistics show she’s being introduced to the life of a working royal at a glacial pace, even when compared to other women who married a prince and had babies, including Princess Diana.
Today, compared to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex (wives of Prince Charles and Prince Edward), she does noticeably less public work. Camilla, who turns 70 in July, and Sophie, 52, who has two school-aged children, did more than triple the number of public engagements as their younger royal relative.