Just two days after the royal wedding of her grandson, Prince Harry, to American TV actress Meghan Markle, Queen Elizabeth II was back at work, attending the opening of the Chelsea Flower Show — at age 92 keeping up her grueling pace of public appearances that far outstrips the workload maintained by most younger British royals. But in 2017, one young royal in particular stood out as the laziest member of the family: Kate Middleton. In fact, the Duchess of Cambridge has been among the least-hard-working royals every year since at least 2014.
The British monarchy has held no real political power for more than 200 years, with the monarch serving as a symbolic head of state rather than taking any actual leadership role, leaving the British royals with only one significant job requirement: to appear at public events.
In 2017, with the lone exception of little-known Princess Alexandra, who is the queen’s 81-year-old cousin, no member of the British royal family put in fewer public appearances than Kate Middleton. The wife of future king Prince William ventured out in an official work capacity only 106 times last year, according to statistics released by Buckingham Palace.
That was 184 fewer appearances than Queen Elizabeth II, who showed up for work at 292 official engagements. But in the first quarter of 2018, the duchess has picked up the pace by about 88 percent compared to the same time period in 2017. Taking her place as the most notable royal slacker in January, February, and March of 2018 was none other than Prince Harry, who fell to 10th place in the ranking of the royal family’s 15 officially “working” members.
While Queen Elizabeth kept up an impressive pace in 2017, two of her four children dueled it out for the title of hardest-working royal. According to the official royal stats, the queen’s first-born son, Charles, Prince of Wales, made 550 public appearances last year, an average of 1.5 per day and 63 more appearances than Kate, William, and Harry put together. The now-69-year-old prince actually increased his workload somewhat from 2016, when he put in 530 appearances, a total which also led the family.
Coming in a close second in 2017, the queen’s sole daughter, 67-year-old Princess Anne, who despite being only 13th in line for the throne, compiled a remarkable total of 541 appearances, just nine shy of her older brother, who stands to become king once their mother passes away.
Prince Andrew, the queen’s second son, ranked third in 2017 with 349 appearances — though his two daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, do not place on the list at all because unlike the other royals, they have real jobs. But the two princesses are not necessarily in the position of working “day jobs” by choice. Despite their father’s pleadings, the queen has refused them a share of the “Sovereign Grant,” which is the lump sum of British taxpayer cash doled out to the queen each year, and distributed among some members of the royal family as well.
The queen’s youngest offspring, Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, 54, also had a busy year in 2017, but he lagged behind his mother slightly with seven fewer appearances.
Over the years, perhaps the hardest-working royal has been the queen’s husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who finally retired at age 96 in April of 2017. But from 1952, when then-Princess Elizabeth ascended to the throne, until his retirement, Prince Philip showed up for a staggering 22,219 solo appearances. Not counting his joint appearances with the queen, that’s almost one appearance every day for 65 straight years, a pace that Kate Middleton will likely never match given her current leisurely workload.
According to professional royal-watchers, Kate’s relaxed pace in 2017 was due to her decision to “focus on her children,” as well as a bout of severe morning sickness. Together, Kate, William, and Harry took on a mere 13.5 percent of the royal family’s work obligations last year.