Senior Royals bearing heaviest load of public engagements

The Princess Royal, pictured during a visit to Northern Ireland earlier this year, fulfilled the most engagements of any Royal in 2016
The Princess Royal, pictured during a visit to Northern Ireland earlier this year, fulfilled the most engagements of any Royal in 2016

Senior members of the Royal Family spent nearly twice as many days on public engagements in 2016 than their younger counterparts, new figures show.

The Queen’s children clocked up an average of 137 days in the public eye this year, compared with 76 for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

The Prince of Wales had 139 public engagements in 2016

The Prince of Wales had 139 public engagements in 2016

The Princess Royal had the busiest 2016, with a total of 179 days of engagements.

The Prince of Wales was second on 139, with the Earl of Wessex on 118 and the Duke of York on 112.

Anne has a reputation as a hard-working Royal and is frequently among the top of lists recording the number of engagements carried out by members of the Royal Family.

Her work ethic is said to be based on the belief that members of the monarchy should earn their keep.

Prince Harry at a Service of Remembrance at the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire

Prince Harry at a Service of Remembrance at the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire

Charles has a busy schedule most years as he has a large number of patronages and a core group of 12 charities and bodies – known as the Prince’s Charities – he visits, supports and works with regularly.

By contrast, Harry had just 86 days of engagements, ahead of his brother William on 80. Bottom of the list was Kate with 63 days.

The figures were compiled by the Press Association from the daily Court Circular.

They show the majority of royal engagements in the UK and around the world continue to be carried out by the second generation of the family – Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward – with the third generation lagging some distance behind.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh with their grandson, the Duke of Cambridge

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh with their grandson, the Duke of Cambridge

Even the Duke of Edinburgh, who turned 95 this year, spent more days carrying out public appearances than his grandchildren. His total of 110 was 30 ahead of the Duke of Cambridge and only two behind the Duke of York.

The Queen’s total was 80.

William was criticised in spring this year for the number of official engagements he was carrying out. Pictures of the Duke and his family on a skiing trip in the Alps also provoked anger.

But in a television interview screened a few days after the couple arrived home, the Duke responded to the accusations of being “workshy” by saying such criticisms were “part of the job”.

William appeared to suggest he had been spending his time working on a major project – getting conservation charities, airlines and shipping organisations to sign up to an initiative to help close wildlife smuggling routes.

He said: “These sorts of things take a lot of time. They take a lot of planning and a lot of knowledge building, a lot of conversations.”

Meanwhile, Prince Harry was the most-travelled senior Royal in 2016, clocking up approximately 61,800 miles on public engagements outside the UK.

This included trips to Nepal in March and the Invictus Games in Florida in May, plus a tour of the Caribbean in November.

The Earl of Wessex was close behind, on 61,400 miles. Edward flew the world in 2016, visiting among other places the Bahamas, Italy, South America, Canada and Latvia.

The Duke of York notched up 58,200 miles, just ahead of his sister the Princess Royal who travelled 56,600 miles. One of Anne’s lengthiest trips abroad was to Rio in August to support Team GB at the Olympic Games.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made high-profile trips to India and Canada in 2016, but William also made several solo visits. He ends the year having travelled approximately 43,700 miles, well ahead of his wife’s total of 23,600 miles.

Bottom of the list are the Prince of Wales (18,700 miles) and the Duchess of Cornwall (10,100 miles).

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh had no public engagements outside the UK in 2016.