Five or six years ago, rumors circulated that the heir to the throne at the time, Charles, wanted to streamline the royal family when he succeeded Queen Elizabeth II. It was said that the services of Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie would not be needed. Her father, Prince Andrew, has reportedly argued with his mother and older brother about his daughters being made working royals. But that never materialized because Charles allegedly vetoed it, much to his brother's annoyance. And so the princesses had to keep going about their jobs. At that time, the Windsors had welcomed a new member to their ranks with Duchess Meghan, and the future seemed secure.
In 2023, the year Charles III was crowned, the situation in the British royal family looks very different: bad.
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan said goodbye to the monarchy and caused distress with their revelations in a Netflix documentary and his autobiography. Prince Andrew has made himself impossible with his friendship with late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are dead. Even the king has problems, as donations of money, some delivered in bags, from Qatar and Russia were in the spotlight. Charles' closest confidante Michael Fawcett had to resign because it was said that he wanted to sell access to his royal boss.
With all the negative headlines, who supports the royal family? If you ask the public, you will often hear the names of Prince William and Princess Kate, but the mammoth share of appointments is made by Princess Anne year after year. Much like her mother, she doesn't make a fuss about who she is, in fact it's repugnant. With stoic composure, she travels across the country and abroad to represent the crown. She made 214 appointments in 2022, Charles 181 and William "only" 126. The only daughter of the deceased royal couple is respected by the people for her great commitment, she is loved for her clear attitude.
Camilla Tominey from the "Telegraph" once called her "no nonsense Princess Anne" and the 72-year-old now lived up to this nickname in a new interview. Asked about Charles' desire for a slimmed-down monarchy, Anne laughed and replied, "I think slimming was mentioned at a time when there was more around here." It was a "justified objection" at the time. "It doesn't sound like a good idea when I look at it that way. I don't know what more we can do," and finally sounds thoughtful.
It looks like it. Because next to him and Camilla, William and Kate, Anne and her husband Tim Laurence and Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie, there are currently no "working royals". But the tasks are becoming more difficult, the reach greater and so is the representation in the most remote parts of the Kingdom and the Commonwealth. In the Caribbean in particular, there are peoples who no longer want a head of state thousands of kilometers away. Holding these nations will be one of the new king's greatest challenges - and that only works if the crown is present.
The question remains who can undertake these journeys. Most recently, the royal couple of Wales and the ducal couple of Edinburgh traveled to the Caribbean islands. They were not received with enthusiasm by everyone. Colonial history must and will be dealt with in the coming years. The royals owed an apology to the descendants of the enslaved people. Charismatic representatives of the Windsors like Harry and Meghan were missing in the skinny royal family. Beatrice and Eugenie can no longer be clamped. Both have small children, Eugenie is expecting her second baby.
Anne put her finger in the wound, in her own unique way: the royal family lacks working members. She has certainly already shared her thoughts with her brother in private. It remains to be seen how the monarch will handle the situation. At the same time, Charles will probably not be able to rely on anyone like his only sister. Unlike the Waleses and Edinburghs, Anne no longer has any children who need care. She will remain a strong pillar for the monarchy - and a voice of reason.