Queen Elizabeth II made the bold decision to reduce the number of royal family members invited to stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for this year’s Trooping the Color.
Buckingham Palace said the move to include only working royals was made “after careful consideration”.
But what exactly is a functioning royal – and who are the current working royals?
Here’s everything you need to know.
What is a functioning royal?
A functioning royal is a member of the royal family who represents the queen at official engagements.
By representing the Queen, a functioning royal will often perform all duties as required, including:
- Meeting with international dignitaries
- Hosts official state dinners and other events
- Participation in parliamentary and constitutional functions
- Awarding of honors
- Performing international travel and tours
- Opening of buildings
All this is done on behalf of the Queen – any event like this performed in the name of another charity or organization does not count as a functioning royal duty.
It is therefore royals, who are protectors of various charities, can perform many functions – such as Princess Beatrice and Eugenie – but they are not considered a functioning royal. It must be on the Queen’s behalf.
Because being a working royal is considered a full-time job, the cost of living, accommodation, and all expenses not covered by the relevant government department (such as overseas travel and security expenses) are covered by the Queen.
The seniority of the working royal will be negotiated between the various government agencies, Buckingham Palace, ambassadors or high commissioners of the overseas country to ensure that the person has an appropriate status to perform the task.
For the more important tasks, such as receiving a president of another nation, it is likely that the queen or a direct heir will take on the task.
The Queen pays working royals with the proceeds of the Duchy of Lancaster, a private estate that has been part of the monarch’s possessions since Henry IV.
Who are the working royals today?
Based on who was invited to stand on the balcony, there are currently only 10 working royals.
Some royals may still be working on a reduced basis, like Princess Alexandra of Kent, who has limited duties over the last few years and therefore is not on the balcony, but her exact working status is unknown.
So who are the confirmed, full-time royals?
It is clear that Her Majesty is a functioning royal.
After serving in a history-making 70 years, 2022 is Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum anniversary, and Her Majesty is still performing royal duties.
Despite some health concerns lately, Her Majesty welcomed the President of Switzerland to Windsor Castle just after celebrating her 96th birthdayth birthday in April.
Prince of Wales, Prince Charles
As the next in line to the throne, Charles regularly represents the Queen in many of her official state duties.
In fact, Charles is said to be on ‘stand by’ to represent the Queen at the opening of the Folketing later this month.
The Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla
This was confirmed by the Queen this year Camilla becomes queen queen when Prince Charles ascends the throne.
As a functioning royal, Camilla often performs duties either with Charles or alone.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton
The future of the monarchy and second in line, Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, have it stepped up in recent years to take on more royal duties on behalf of the Queen.
Following setbacks to their recent Caribbean tour, the couple are said to be planning a ‘royal restart’ in the future.
Their children, Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte, will join them on the balcony of Trooping the Color.
Anne, the royal princess
Princess Anne, the queen’s only daughter, is considered one of the hardest working royals, regularly at the top of the list of most official exposures made annually.
This year, Anne went on a tour of Australia and is rumored to be the first female commander of the Marines.
Anne’s husband, Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, is not a functioning royal, but he will join Anne on the balcony of Trooping the Color.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex, Prince Edward and Sophie
The Queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward, and his wife Sophie are working royals, who regularly represent the Queen on various occasions.
Their children, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn, do not work as royalty, but they will join their parents on the balcony of Trooping the Color.
The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Prince Richard and Birgitte
Prince Richard may be a lesser-known royal to some, but as the Queen’s first cousin, he has been a full-time member of the royal family for years.
He and his wife Birgitte participate in national and international events in support of the Queen and her duties as Head of State.
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