The older the members of the Royal Family become, the more they seem to feel a sense of duty to the nation.
An analysis of public engagements shows that the four eldest of the senior royals are keeping busy, despite being past the traditional retirement age of 65.
The busiest royal of all is Princess Anne, whose public schedule is approaching that of full-time employment. Some people who work in jobs with comfortable holiday entitlement are required to work as little as 215 days a year. The Princess Royal, aged 66, is approaching 200 days of engagements (179 this year).
Her older brother was on 139 days of engagements. Prince Charles maintains that pace despite being in his 69th year.
Their public engagements are only part of their work: in addition the royals are often working in support of charities or good causes from their royal bases.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh set the standard.
While they carried out fewer days of public engagements than all of their four children, their pace was nonetheless astonishing given their age: the duke’s total was 110 days in the year that he turned 95, while Her Majesty’s total was 80, in the year that she celebrated her 90th birthday.
Some people sneer and say that the engagements are easy or that the royals have the perk of living in a palace. But the palaces are not theirs, and the engagements can be gruelling – often when the royals have to travel far out of London, such as on visits to Northern Ireland, their day begins well before dawn. And wherever they are, they must be patient and pleasant and interested and always watch what they say.
The Queen in her Christmas message made clear that she draws inspiration from her personal Christian faith.
The monarch and her consort are not only exemplary in their intense sense of duty, they give inspiration to older folk all around the world by showing how active people can be until very late in life, if they enjoy the fortune of good health.