We need more royals
18 September 2022
King Charles has been respectfully silent on any plans he might have to shake up the monarchy. Courtiers have spent years reminding anyone who asks that the topic is painful to him, signalling the passing of his ‘beloved’ mother.
The only concrete proposed ‘reform’ that has leaked out over the years is the suggestion that as King, Charles intends to slim down the Royal Family. These plans badly misunderstand the public appetite for royalty: our new King should instead seek to increase the number of working royals. Don’t listen to sneering liberals, the Great British Public love a royal turning up to town.
The royals have huge pulling power. When it comes to cutting ribbons and shaking hands, it’s a royal the people want, not a town mayor or local radio celeb. The King is down at least two Princes and one Duchess. Every ‘firm’ needs to keep an eye on the headcount, and Royalty plc is no exception.
With the demise of Her Majesty, there are now just 11 working royals, with an average age of 67. In 2021, almost two-thirds of royal engagements in the UK were undertaken by a royal in their seventies and beyond. Whatever plans King Charles once had, they will need to be revisited to meet demand
Charles has inherited a Firm much smaller than he might once have expected, but still, these working royals regularly turn up to well over 3,500 events a year. Within a decade there will only be the Prince and Princess of Wales left under normal retirement age. The royal workforce is ageing. But at the same time, the demand for them to turn up, glad-hand local worthies, cut ribbons and make small talk has barely changed. In 2010 our collective of royal workers accepted just over 3,000 domestic invitations: ten years later this figure was just under 3,000, with fewer big hitters to share the load.
George V set the template for modern royalty: turn up, cut ribbons and shake hands. It’s a model that works, but supply and demand are now badly out of sync. The public quickly tires of royals opining on political causes. It’s the ribbon cutting they want, and all the trimmings that go with it. We need more royals; we can’t simply wait a quarter of a century for Prince George to get to an age where he will pick up the slack with his siblings.
Last week Princess Beatrice was quietly installed as a Counsellor of State, a nod to the need for an extra pair of hands by a new monarch. This role is coveted by royals, indicating, as it does, a level of seniority that no title can quite achieve. Beatrice already boasts the title of Princess and the HRH that goes with it, thanks to her father insisting that they take on all the trappings of royalty. Well into her thirties, married and without much of a business career to leave behind, she would make an ideal new member of the Firm. As Prince of Wales, Charles rebuffed lobbying from the Duke of York to make Beatrice a full-time working royal, reminding his brother that she was a ‘blood princess’. This bizarre criterion shouldn’t stand in the way of giving the idea a re-think.
It is long past time for Zara Phillips to raise her profile. Coming as she does from the Princess Anne school of conduct, she would make a popular addition. Her ruddy, down to earth approach would be a welcome contrast to the puffed up self importance portrayed by recently retired royals.
The late Queen understood that for the monarchy to prosper she and her relatives had to be ‘seen to be believed’, but as of today there are too few royals. A few new members are needed to pick up where late Her Majesty left off. The British public demands it.
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Queen Elizabeth II had a long and close relationship with the Armed Forces, both in the United Kingdom and in the Commonwealth.
As Head of the Armed Forces, the Queen was devoted to honouring the service and sacrifice of the entire Armed Forces community and leading the nation in moments of Remembrance each year. She became the first female member of the Royal Family to serve as a full-time active member of the Armed Forces in 1945 when she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS).
Her Majesty held many honorary ranks and military appointments in the UK and Commonwealth Armed Services and much of her working life was taken up with visits to military bases and ships in the UK and overseas, meeting serving members of the Armed Forces and their families.
In 2009 she introduced the Elizabeth Cross, an award giving special recognition to the families of those who had died on military operations, or as a result of terrorism since 1948.
Her Majesty has been an inspiration to everyone in the Armed Forces community, and her dedication to the Armed Forces will be deeply missed and never forgotten.