With one shrug in December, Princess Anne created a meme sensation and momentarily became the internet’s favorite senior royal, undoing all the groundwork that Prince Charles had laid over the year, like wearing snappy tan suits, making his Instagram debut, and cornering Donald Trump for a climate change chat. But while Anne is normally the royal who undertakes the most outings in a calendar year—earning her the nickname of the “hardest working royal”—this year, Prince Charles edged her out. According to statistics kept annually, Charles undertook 521 in 2019, while Anne did only 506.
The engagement data was compiled from schedules in the Court Circular, the daily round of up royal goings-on provided to the press and posted on the royal family’s website, and totals were tabulated by Tim O’Donovan, an 87-year-old Dorchet resident who has been keeping track of the numbers since 1978. He told that keeps track of the royal family’s engagements because he finds them fascinating, and he started after learning about someone who kept track of names in local birth announcements. “The thought just occurred to me that it might be worthwhile to do the same with royal engagements,” O’Donovan said. “It’s not a competition. I just think it’s important for people to know how much the royal family do.”
Anne and Charles have largely been shouldering the bulk of the family’s public visits since the Queen and Prince Philip began scaling back their engagements in the 1990s, according to the , but the individual winner varies by the year. Anne did more engagements than Charles in 2017 and 2018, but in 2016, Charles edged her out. Prince Andrew has also historically gone on many public visits, and this year he did 274 before he resigned from royal duties over the Jeffrey Epstein scandal in October. The Queen went on 295 engagements, and Prince Edward attended 308.
Prince William, at 220 engagements, was the busiest young royal. Prince Harry came close with 201, his second-highest total since becoming a full-time royal, even though he became a father and took an extended sabbatical in 2019. Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle did 116 and 83 respectively, but that might not be an accurate representation of just how busy they were this year. The court circular only counts official, public events, but during 2019, both duchesses proved that they are willing to put in extra hours: Kate took private meetings in the palace about her early childhood education initiative throughout the year, and Meghan worked on a fashion collection and an issue of British Vogue while she was technically on maternity leave.
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