The Queen's 90th Birthday: Who is the Hardest Working Royal?

Prince William and Kate
Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge visit the Elephant Family Discovery Centre in Kaziranga National Park in India, April 13. But the couple's overseas royal engagements have been no match in comparison to other family members. Chris Jackson/Getty

Prince William has recently addressed criticism that is he is "workshy" and not willing to take on more royal duties, in an interview ahead of the Queen's 90th birthday.

The prince told BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell that he is continually inspired by his "very active" grandmother, and would take on additional duties as and when they were handed over to him.

The "royal duties" Prince William was referring to consist of a variety of responsibilities that all serve to support the Queen, and lie outside of his military career and role as a father.

They include:

  • Taking part in royal and official occasions, such as welcoming visiting heads of state on official visits to the U.K., Trooping the Colour, and the Order of The Garter in Windsor.
  • Hosting investitures at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle throughout the year. At these ceremonies, William presents medals to recipients in the New Year's Honours List and The Queen's Birthday Honours List.
  • Playing a lead role in moments of national Remembrance, by laying a wreath at the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Cenotaph in central London, and also attending significant services across the U.K., Europe, Realms and the Commonwealth.
  • Acting as president or royal patron of 26 organizations and institutions, which reflect his interest in their work, their importance to the nation, and issues he wishes to support. The Duke shares a common association with a number of these institutions with the Queen, including The Royal Marsden, The Welsh Rugby Union and England's Football Association. In his role as president of the Football Association, he arranged through his grandmother, as patron of the FA, to host a competitive grassroots football match at Buckingham Palace in 2014, to celebrate 150 years of the association.
  • Making a series of official visits to towns and cities across the U.K., to champion work being done by organizations in the region; visit areas or sites of significance; and meet a broad range of people who are making a significant contribution to their community.
  • Carrying out a number of overseas visits, including to Realm and Commonwealth nations on behalf of the Queen, or to undertake an official tour to represent Britain at the request of the U.K. government.

But the number of visits and appearances varies from royal to royal.

Royal engagements undertaken in 2015

Royal Central

The Queen's daughter Princess Anne was officially the hardest working royal in 2015, having conducted 544 engagements, more than any other member of the royal family.

The Princess Royal, who undertook 456 U.K. engagements and a further 88 overseas engagements, overtook Prince Charles as the hardest working royal for the first time in eight years.

And although the Queen will soon be celebrating her 90th birthday, she shows no signs of slowing down yet.

Princess Anne visits Woodstock charity Save the Children #royal

— JB (@Royal_beans) April 8, 2016

Figures released in January showed that Her Majesty conducted more engagements in 2015 than William, Kate and Harry combined. The Queen carried out 341 engagements last year, 35 of those being overseas.

Unsurprisingly, the royal who conducted the least amount of engagements in 2015 was the Duchess of Cambridge who undertook 62 engagements, as well as looking after Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

But as second-in-line to the throne, Prince William did not tally up too well either.

The father-of-two has insisted that being a father is of paramount importance, and due to the active roles of older members of the monarchy—including his grandmother—he is in no rush to add to his To Do List.

Editor's pick

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts