London (CNN) – Members of the British royal family returned to public engagements this week as the two-week period of mourning after the Duke of Edinburgh’s death came to an end.
When the Queen appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in the company of Philip for her golden jubilee in 2002, it was widely regarded as a turning point for her monarchy. Joy was written on her face as she looked at a sea of enthusiastic fans who cheered and waved the flags and umbrellas.
This is the answer – almost two decades ago – the organizers had hoped for. But it wasn’t guaranteed. Nobody knew for sure if it would happen after the years of bad press following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997. Cheers turned to screams of excitement as the then 53-, 19-, and 17-year-old Princes Charles, William and Harry stepped forward behind the Queen as the future faces of the monarchy. It felt like the monarchy wasn’t just coming back, it was here to stay.
Aides will hope to repeat that sentiment next year when Elizabeth marks another milestone – her platinum anniversary – by becoming the first British sovereign to celebrate 70 years on the throne. On a four-day bank holiday weekend in June 2022, according to a statement by the British government, an “extensive program of public events will combine traditional festivals with cutting-edge technological displays”.
It’ll also be another opportunity to show how the family has renamed themselves following revelations about the royals from Oprah Winfrey’s interview with the Sussexes and allegations from Prince Andrew’s relationship with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Despite being over 90, Elizabeth has kept a demanding engagement schedule and made the most of video calls to continue her duties during the pandemic. Before the virus turned everything upside down in the UK in March of last year, she had carried out 296 engagements between 2019 and 2020.
But because she cannot do everything on her own, she designs several generations of the family to meet the more than 3,000 commitments the royal family makes each year at home and abroad.
These family figureheads, which contribute to the fulfillment of public duties, have been exchanged more in recent years than anyone has ever imagined. Philip is gone now, but so are Harry and Andrew for very different reasons.
There’s still the core team of working royals made up of the Queen, Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. In time, their children – Prince George and his siblings – will join this cohort, but they are obviously far too young to take on public duties right now.
The question of who will take on the patronage and military titles previously held by Harry, Meghan and Andrew will certainly appeal to the family over the next year.
The Cambridges are doing more, but they have a young family. So the choice will determine whether the family will reduce their public events or move in smaller royals until the next generation is ready.
Princess Anne – the Queen’s only daughter – already has a diary full of engagements. The other option would be Anne’s brother, Prince Edward, and his wife, the Countess of Wessex. The Queen is close to them, which became evident when she came forward so publicly to support them after Philip’s death. Prince William might also consider leaning on his cousins Beatrice and Eugenie, Andrew’s daughters, who kept their princess titles.
The royal succession planning is taking place at an icy pace and is indicated by nods and winks. As the institution prepares to celebrate the monarch’s 70-year reign, next summer’s celebrations will be the perfect opportunity for the Queen to introduce future Kings Charles and William to the supporting cast. All eyes will be on the balcony and the first group to follow her will be her changed vision of the working monarchy.
The company explains
Monarchy, institution and company – confused about all the jargon associated with the royals? We wouldn’t blame you. It’s a lot to get around your head.
The best way to break it all down is to start at the top. Much more than just a family, the monarchy is a multi-billion dollar intricate brand with thousands of employees. How did a 1000 year old institution adapt to make it useful today?
Many people equate the royal family with a family-run business. But that’s the first misunderstanding because it doesn’t make money like normal business.
At the center of the working family is the company of the leading royals under the leadership of the Queen – they are among the closest in the succession.
Then there is the Buckingham Palace facility which the Queen directs. The palace employs hundreds of people annually, and unlike the working royals, these employees are on the payroll of royal households and have access to corporate benefits.
The family’s engagement and maintenance of royal properties is subsidized through the Sovereign Grant, a public fund that totaled over $ 100 million for fiscal 2020-2021. In turn, the monarchy is estimated to generate more than $ 2 billion a year for the UK economy.
Would you like to find out more about the structure of the institution? Check out our handy video explainer from CNN producer Sofia Couceiro here.
NEWS OF THE WEEK
Prince Louis turns 3
One of the smallest royals is celebrating his birthday this week. Prince Louis, the youngest child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, turned three on Friday. His proud parents shared a new photo of Louis, taken by mom just before he left for his first day of preschool at Willcocks Nursery School, Kensington Palace said. William and Catherine continued the tradition of posting a photo on the occasion of their children’s birthdays. The photos are usually from the couple’s personal collection and are usually taken by Kate, who has a passion for photography. Do you want more adorable snapshots? Check out Louis’ fun birthday photo, where Louis shows off his own artistic side.
Kate tries flying … kind of
The Duchess of Cambridge tested her piloting skills on a flight simulator while visiting an air cadet center on Wednesday. William, who previously served as a search and rescue pilot for the Royal Air Force and later as an ambulance pilot, helpfully took hold of his wife’s handbag as she climbed into the cockpit and put on headphones before trying the system. The visit marked the couple’s first public event since the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral over the weekend. Philip was Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps for more than 60 years. He handed over military patronage to Catherine in 2015. During the 282 Squadron’s visit, the Cambridges met with young people to learn about how the Air Cadet Program is helping young people develop their life skills, and met students participating in leadership and field craft exercises. When the tour came to an end, the couple received a triple greeting in Philip’s honor.
William weighs in on the soccer series
The Duke of Cambridge has very strong views on a controversial breakaway European Super League that – under heavy condemnation from fans – has been postponed for the time being. In a rare personal post on Twitter, William, President of the Football Association of England and an avid Aston Villa fan, emphasized the importance of listening to fans after all six English Super League participants announced their retirement from the exclusive competition this week. “I am glad that the united voice of the football fans was heard and heard,” wrote the Duke in the post. “It is really important now that we use this moment to ensure the future health of the game at all levels. As President of the FA, I am determined to play my part in this work,” he added before tweeted simply signed with W. “
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will celebrate 10 years of marriage next week after tying the knot in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011.
To celebrate the milestone, we thought we’d take a moment to look back on some of the couple’s best moments, with some family photos.
More photos capturing the love story of William and Kate can be found here.
“These lessons apply not only to pandemics, but also to the most pressing challenge in human history: ending the climate emergency. If we fail to act this decade, the damage to our planet will be irreversible and will not only affect those of us who are who live today, but also threaten the future of future generations. “
Earth Day Open Letter from the Duke of Cambridge and the Earthshot Prize Judges
Prince William and several prominent activists, including Queen Rania of Jordan, David Attenborough, and actress Cate Blanchett, signed an Earth Day 2021 open letter calling on the world to “share the same spirit of innovation and possibility of fighting.” To direct Covid to our greatest challenge: repairing our planet. “Read the full letter here. The Earthshot Award is an annual environmental award launched last October by the Duke of Cambridge and Attenborough.
Prince Harry repeated his sibling in his own Earth Day message as president of African Parks, a nonprofit conservation organization. The group re-released a video narrated by the Duke, in which he advocates the preservation of national areas and protected areas on the continent. In a statement, Harry spoke about the importance of “strengthening and protecting biodiversity” before considering “conservation masters, including my late grandfather”. The Duke added that he “was proud and energetic to continue doing my part in this legacy”.