Royal family Trooping the Colour Buckingham Palace balcony Kate Middleton 2017

Members of the royal family join HM Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for the Trooping the Colour in 2017 (Picture by Andrew Parsons / i-Images)

For the British royal family, 2017 was the year Prince Philip retired, his grandson, Harry, got engaged to Meghan Markle, Queen Elizabeth II marked her Sapphire Jubilee, Prince William became a full-time royal and Prince George started school. In other words, a relatively typical year in the life of the Windsor clan.

In total, the royals undertook some 3,609 engagements, according to the official Court Circular, which has recorded such events since 1803. It was a year in which one very senior royals slowed the pace of his workload. After a busy spring, Prince Philip announced his retirement from full-time royal duties in May, a decision that took effect in the autumn. The Queen’s husband has appeared in public a few times since then, but given his age—96—he’s spent most of his time enjoying retirement.


British royal family workload engagements annual yearend 2017

The Queen and her children occupied the top five spots on the workload table for the royal family. Prince Charles and Princess Anne, who have jockeyed for top position in recent years, performed more than 200 more engagements each than the No. 3 royal, their younger sibling, Prince Andrew. Their heavy schedules are not covered as intensely as those of the more glamorous, younger members of the family, yet they accounted for 56 percent of all officially engagements. In contrast to the top five (ages 57 to 91), the three youngest working royals—William, Kate and Harry, undertook only 13.5 percent of the royal family’s work.

British royal family days worked engagements workload annual 2017

Given some royals, like Queen Elizabeth II, can pack a large number of relatively short engagements into a day (such as when she’s meeting new diplomats), looking at the number of days worked can reveal nuances in the workload not obvious in the blunt engagements-undertaken measure. Yet, as can be seen in the above bar chart of senior members of the royal family, the overall work pattern is very similar to the engagement data.

The senior citizens undertake more foreign visits—Prince Charles undertook the most, going to 16 nations ranging from Romania to Dominica. And, with the exception of Anne, the senior royals conduct a larger chunk of their duties in palaces and castles. Indeed, Charles, who is taking over more roles from Queen Elizabeth, now spends 39 percent of his time behind gilded gates. It’s a lot, but far less than the Queen, who undertakes three-quarters of her work in historic royal residences.

foreign visits tours British royal family number statistics 2017

British royal family inside outside palace gates engagements workload 2017A LOOMING DEMOGRAPHIC CRISIS FOR THE ROYAL FAMILY

British royal family workload engagements 2017 annual statistics

With the exception of Andrew and Edward, the hardest workers are senior citizens. Some, like the Queen’s cousins, the Duke of Gloucester and Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra, are well past the age when the average person would have stopped working. They aren’t being replaced, at least not yet. The youngest, most energetic royals—William, Kate and Harry–had the lowest work-age ratios of all. Unless they take on more work, it’s only a matter of time before a big shake-up in how the royal family interacts with the public.


The fun in compiling large Excel files of data is looking for trends that aren’t noticeable on first look, or even second. For instance, the busiest month is November, and when it comes to where engagements are undertaken, Kate and William do more than 80 percent of their duties in London while Camilla spends just less than half of her time there. In all, a busy year for the royal family. British royal family engagements workload month stacked line chart 2017

London England percentage statistics work engagements royal family 2017 annual