With yesterday’s announcement from Buckingham Palace that Prince Philip will be retiring from his public role this autumn, talk has quickly turned to what this means for the rest of the family. With the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge already planning to relocate to London full-time this fall, the time has clearly come for the younger generations to increasing their contribution to supporting The Queen.
With Prince Philip stepping down after seven decades of accompanying his wife on regular engagements, other members of the royal family will step in to fill the void. Recent engagements have seen The Queen joined by the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandria and past engagements have been undertaken alongside Prince Harry, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duchess of Cambridge, the Countess of Wessex and the Princess Royal.
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall will continue to represent The Queen as needed for overseas tours and state occasions and the Prince of Wales will continue to adopt investiture duties where appropriate. He will also continue to attend Commonwealth heads of government meetings.
The younger senior royals have faced significant pressure in recent months to step up their duties with the Duke of Cambridge coming under harsh criticism for missing the Commonwealth Day Ceremony at Westminster Abbey. He was also criticised for undertaking just 80 days of public engagements in 2016, compared to the 139 days his father completed and the 179 days of his aunt, the Princess Royal. Following the birth of Princess Charlotte, the Duchess of Cambridge was on maternity leave for much of 2016 and so undertook just 63 days.
With William and Kate planning on a move to London, however, it appears that plans to increase their commitments and engagements are already under way. Kensington Palace stressed that the relocation was to allow the couple to increase their royal activities, saying: “As they have in recent years, Their Royal Highnesses are keen to continue to increase their official work on behalf of The Queen and for the charities and causes they support, which will require greater time spent in London.”
Prince William now regularly undertakes investiture duties on his grandmother’s behalf and the royal tours he has embarked on with his wife and children have been great successes.
Sources close to the royal family have said that there will be no “sudden changes” in the duties and commitments of senior royals but also that they “stand ready to support The Queen”.