Prince Harry Meghan Markle royal family Endeavour Fund Awards London Black Alexander McQueen

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the Endeavour Fund Awards in London on Feb. 1, 2018. (Picture by James Whatling)

Now that a quarter of the year is over, it’s time to see who is doing what in the royal family. Every House of Windsor work year is a bit different—some start a bit slower, some ramp up quickly. Usually, by the time the first three months are completed, work patterns emerge that often hold for the entire year. In this first quarter the big stories are:

  • The increased workload of two younger royal couples: Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge as well as Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex
  • The unexpectedly busy schedule of Queen Elizabeth II
  • The rather slow pace of Prince Harry

royal family workload engagements 2018 January to March


Comparing 2017 first quarter statistics to that of 2018, the biggest increases in workload were seen by the two younger couples of the Windsor clan.

  • Prince William: 103%
  • Kate, Duchess of Cambridge: 88%
  • Prince Edward: 77%
  • Sophie, Countess of Wessex: 58%

While Edward and Sophie’s overall work statistics top those of their younger Windsor relatives, the four all share one big reason for such large changes to their duties: intense foreign tours that racked up multiple engagements. While William and Kate went on a headline-making visit to Sweden and Norway (knocking off 21 engagements in four days), Edward and Sophie were busy representing the Queen at Sri Lanka’s celebrations marking the nation’s 70th anniversary of independence.

While William, Edward and Sophie kept up their pace when back in Britain, Kate slowed down as her stomach grew. On March 22, she completed her last engagements and started her maternity leave. Baby No. 3 is due in April. (She attended Easter service at Windsor Castle with William, though that is a private event, not an official one.)royal family 2018 2017 January March comparison workload engagements


Her Majesty may be rapidly approaching her 92nd birthday but shows no sign of significantly slowing down her schedule. Indeed, she increased her workload in the first quarter by 24 per cent over the same period in 2017. That statistic comes with one major caveat: she is increasingly undertaking the vast majority of her work inside her royal residences.

There was one dramatic exception: when she unexpectedly showed up at London Fashion Week, sitting in the best position possible, next to Vogue‘s Anna Wintour (or rather, Wintour sat in the second-best seat, next to Elizabeth II). Royal reporters and photographers couldn’t believe their eyes. Sure, it was for a new design award created in her name, but it was also created the funnest royal photos seen in months.


While Prince William sharply increased his workload now that he’s a full-time royal, that lesson of diligence hasn’t rubbed off on his younger brother, Harry. Not only is he No. 10 in the overall royal family work rankings for the first three months of 2018, but that’s just a 12 percent increase from the previous year. He’s averaging just 11 engagements a month. So far, no one is saying much about his work (or lack thereof) but the clock is ticking away on excuses—his engagement and upcoming marriage to Meghan Markle, settling into a new life with her, preparing for this autumn’s Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia. At this pace, he’ll fall out of the top 10 by the end of April.

2018 2017 January to March royal family workload engagements Prince William Harry Kate Middleton

The biggest fall-off has been from Prince Philip, who announced last year that he was retiring from royal duties. This year, he’s carried out just three engagements, all behind closed doors, compared with 30 last year. And on April 3, it was announced he was in hospital awaiting hip surgery.

While everyone expects the ever-busy prince to continue his active retirement lifestyle, there’s no denying that, at 96, Philip is also the oldest member of the royal family, and one who surely deserves to put up his feet for at least a while.