The royal family’s year ended as quietly as it began 12 months earlier, with a few scattered engagements as much of the House of Windsor gathered at Sandringham for its seasonal break for Christmas.
And just like previous years, it was Prince Charles who did the most work in 2019, finishing nearly 550 official engagements, as tracked by the Court Circular. His workload fluctuates a bit from year to year but not by much. Indeed, he’s the only Windsor to have completed more than 500 engagements in 2019.
And as usual, his sister, Princess Anne, finished in the No. 2 spot. Though her work ethic is legendary, she is slowing down as she enters her 70s in the new year. That only becomes clear once her annual statistics are compared with previous years, which shows that Anne has decreased her workload by nearly 50 engagements since 2017.
She isn’t alone. Last year, Prince Edward travelled extensively promoting a tennis challenge for the Duke of Edinburgh Award. With that completed, he undertook nearly 200 fewer engagements in 2019, though still enough to finish the year tied for third spot with his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
As well, when Prince Andrew announced he was stepping away from royal duties in November after his disastrous interview regarding his friendship with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, his absence from the Court Circular put a noticeable dent in the annual statistics of the royal family. That increased by Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, spending chunks of the year on parental leave following the birth of Archie in the spring, as well as taking the last six or so weeks of the year off.
The result was an 11 percent drop from 2018.
While some measure royal workloads primarily by the number of engagements, others use the number of days worked. By that measure, Princess Anne topped her big brother, Charles, though he compresses more engagements into each day.
Engagements come in all shapes and sizes: some are multi-day ventures, such as Kate spending two days at a maternity hospital; others involve hours of chitchat with complete strangers; while some are meetings and audiences, which can be relatively short; or grand banquets for foreign heads of state. As no one has precise timing for each of the more than 3400 engagements, it is possible to group engagements to get a rough idea of the type undertaken by the royals. For instance, most of the Queen’s engagements are audiences, an essential part of being a monarch. That’s in part because her official engagements outside palaces and castles have gradually declined as her age increased.
Coming up in 2019 By the Numbers royal work round-up, part 2: The Queen just won’t quit. And it shows in her annual statistics.