Hardest-working royal is named but person in fifth place is unexpected

Revealed: King Charles is the hardest-working royal with nearly 5,000 engagements in a decade – while one family member you wouldn’t expect is in fifth place

  • Charles carried out 4,854 between 2013 and 2022 – just above Anne on 4,693
  • Edward was on 3,155, Queen on 2,721, Andrew on 2,289 and Sophie on 2,253
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King Charles was today revealed as the hardest-working royal of the past ten years – carrying out nearly 5,000 engagements in that period, just ahead of Princess Anne. 

The King, who spent most of the past decade as heir-to-the-throne, carried out 4,854 engagements between 2013 and 2022 – compared to his sister Anne on 4,693.

In third place was their brother Prince Edward on 3,155 – followed by the Queen on 2,721 and Andrew on 2,289. The Duke of York’s position in fifth place is something of a surprise considering he stepped back from royal duties four years ago in 2019.

Sophie (2,253) and Camilla (2,084) were just behind, with Sophie stepping up last year to do her most engagements since 2014 as the Queen’s health declined. 

King Charles III and Princess Anne have carried out the most engagements of any royals over the past decade. They are pictured arriving for a church service at Sandringham in January

But while Prince William (1,704) and Kate (1,024) are now two of the most visually prominent royals, they actually carried out fewer engagements than the lesser-known Duke of Gloucester (2,056) and Duchess of Gloucester (1,031) respectively. 

The Duke of Kent has also made a huge contribution to royal life despite not often being as noticed as others – having carried out 1,538 engagements in a decade.

Total engagements carried out by each royal over past decade 

Calculations by MailOnline based on data compiled by Tim O’Donovan between 2013 and 2022 for The Times 

After him in the league table was Prince Philip (1,057), whose last engagement was in August 2017, nearly four years before his death in April 2021. Philip carried out more engagements over the past decade than Harry (1,009) and Kate.

Meghan is at the bottom of the list, having completed 179 engagements during her short royal life before she and Harry stepped down as senior royals in 2020 and moved to North America.

Reacting to the figures, royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told MailOnline: ‘The engagements carried out by members of the royal family are, far too often, taken for granted. In fact a link with a member of the royal family has a very special cachet, benefiting the profile of an institution very considerably.

‘These figures show how hard working, for a decade until 2022, both King Charles and Princess Anne have been in the numbers of engagements they have carried out. It also shows Edward and Sophie – the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh – as extremely hard working.

But he added that it was ‘invidious’ to measure the contribution of the royals simply by numbers. 

Mr Fitzwilliams continued: ‘William and Catherine, in a list compiled from 2013, two years after they married, have done far fewer numerically, but have done a great deal for the causes they are attached to and gives their profiles a huge boost as the world’s most glamorous royal couple. 

‘Examples of this are the Earthshot Prize, United for Wildlife and Catherine’s work for the Centre for Early Childhood.’

He added that Buckingham Palace has announced a review into the patronages formerly held by the late Queen as well as those Charles and Camilla formerly held.

Prince Harry and Meghan carried out 1,009 and 179 engagements respectively over the past decade. The couple stepped down as senior royals in 2020 and moved to North America

The Duke of Gloucester (right) has carried out more engagements than Prince William (left) over the past decade. They are pictured at the Queen’s funeral procession last September

Tim O’Donovan (pictured in 2019), a retired insurance broker, has meticulously tabulated the British royal family’s engagements with pencil and paper every day for the last 40 years

Mr Fitzwilliams continued: ‘There has been much talk of a slimmed down monarchy and it is notable that several of the royals on this list are of an advanced age. 

The ‘nutty’ man who compiles annual lists of royal engagements

The tally of every duty undertaken by each royal is compiled each year by royal watcher Tim O’Donovan using the Court Circular, the official daily list of royal engagements.

He notes all the engagements down, producing a quarterly total as he goes, and then at the end of the year sends an annual table of results in a letter to the editor of The Times newspaper.

The retired insurance broker – who admits his own family think he is ‘a bit nutty’ – has meticulously tabulated the engagements with pencil and paper every day for the last 40 years.

He told the Daily Mail in 2019: ‘It’s not a competition. I just think it’s important for people to know how much the Royal Family do.’

Mr O’Donovan, of Datchet, Berkshire, came up with the idea in 1978 after seeing a letter in a newspaper from someone who had added up all the names in all the birth announcements that year in order to compile a list of the most popular ones.

In 1982 he received a ‘friendly’ letter from the Queen’s press secretary, noting that his figures had been taken out of context by some papers.

In the late Eighties he spoke with the then Dean of Windsor, Michael Mann, who told him that he had been asked to have a word and said: ‘The Palace don’t want you to carry on doing this.’

But Mr O’Donovan then arranged a meeting with the Queen’s private secretary, Sir William Heseltine, and his deputy, Robert (now Lord) Fellowes, and managed to persuade them that he should carry on.

‘The future clearly rests with George, Charlotte and Louis, the children of William and Catherine.

‘One cannot help noting that Meghan, who carried out of mere 179 engagements on behalf of the royal family and Harry, who carried out 1,009 during that decade, have complained to the world about how they believe they were treated as senior working royals. 

‘Yet actually Meghan in particular, contributed very little. So when they boasted “We can all live a life of service. Service is universal”, they were surely being selfish.’

The data was compiled by the Mail’s new Royals section  based on figures put together each year by famed royal watcher Tim O’Donovan from Datchet in Berkshire.

The retired insurance broker uses the Court Circular, the official daily list of royal engagements, before noting all the engagements down, producing quarterly totals and then sending an annual table of his results in a letter to The Times.

Mr O’Donovan is always keen to point out that his work should not be converted into a ‘league table’ of individual royal performance, writing in his most recent letter to the newspaper in December 2022: ‘All engagements differ as to time and content. There is also the time taken in preparation, whether it be a visit, investiture or speech.’

Mail Royals compiled his totals from 2013 to 2022 to complete the ten-year period for analysis, while also going back a few further years to 2010 to provide a longer view of how the number of engagements for each royal has changed.

The data for last year showed that Charles completed the most engagements at 497, followed by Anne on 474. In third was Sophie at 280 with Edward just behind on 276.

The Queen completed 120 last year before her death on September 8 – still a remarkable number for a 96-year-old, but significantly down on her busiest year since the records began which was 1979 when she carried out an astonishing 932.

Charles’s busiest year since 2010 was 2011 when he carried out 601 engagements – the most of any royal at any point over the past 13 years.

The highest number carried out by Anne was 568, also in 2011. Andrew’s highest total was 529 in 2010 – which has only been beaten by Charles and Anne over that 13-year period.

Edward’s highest total since 2010 was 463 in 2018, while Sophie’s was 324 in 2012. Camilla’s highest was 276 in 2012, while William’s was 220 in both 2018 and 2019 and Kate’s was 140 in 2016. 

It comes as Buckingham Palace carries out a review of royal patronages as the Royal Family continues to adapt to a new era without the Queen and prepares for the coronation of Charles at Westminster Abbey on May 6.

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