The year 2021 wasn’t the year anyone expected, including the royal family. But they made the most of it by increasing the number of engagements overall as well as those done in person, rather than the video and phone engagements that were so prevalent in 2020.
So while in 2020, the working royals undertook 1,530 official engagements, they increased that pandemic tally by more than 500 to 2,065 in 2021, according to the Court Circular. The leader of the 12 working royals is Princess Anne, both in terms of the number of days worked as well as the number of engagements. In 2021, she undertook 381 engagements, topping her big brother, Prince Charles, who undertook 371, and who had claimed the top spot for the past four years.
And when one focuses only on the senior eight royals (ranging from Queen Elizabeth II to Sophie, Countess of Wessex), then the data shows the same trend toward a return to the pre-pandemic work baseline. In the three years before the pandemic, those senior eight royals undertook an average of 2,500 engagements a year. In 2020, that overall tally plunged to 1,329 before increasing to 1,800.
What hasn’t changed is the seasonal rhythm of the royal year–increasing in the early spring, then a drop at Easter before accelerating in advance of their August retreat away from the spotlight, before growing to its highest peak in November, then again falling off with the Christmas holidays.