What’s Left of the Royal Family Makes Joint Appearance for Commonwealth Day


It’s long been rumored that King Charles wanted to trim down the number of “working royals,” but this is getting a bit ridiculous. Amid health issues, family drama, and various hyper-online conspiracy theories, what remains of the royal family made a joint appearance today at Westminster Abbey to commemorate Commonwealth Day. With their respective spouses dealing with health issues, Queen Camilla and Prince William headlined the event. (They did get backup form Princess Anne, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, and at least one former Spice Girl—close enough to actual British royalty in our book).

Held on the second Monday of every March, Commonwealth Day is a celebration of the loose network of nations once ruled by the British Empire. It’s also one of the few times a year that the British royal family shows out in full force. Back in 2020, Queen Elizabeth was joined by her sons Charles and Edward and her grandsons William and Harry. All four’s respective wives were by their side as well. This year, things looked a bit more sparse, with just five members of the core royal family appearing.

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Earlier in the day, King Charles, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, released a pre-taped video speech commemorating the day. “In recent weeks, I have been most deeply touched by your wonderfully kind and thoughtful good wishes for my health and, in return, can only continue to serve you, to the best of my ability, throughout the Commonwealth,” he said. The King has also been taking publicly photographed meetings at Buckingham Palace in recent days with Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, but opted out of traveling to Westminster Abbey, sending his wife and son in his stead.

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Prince William was also flying solo at the event in the midst of a growing (and, perhaps, ridiculous) controversy over the whereabouts of his wife Princess Catherine as she recovers from abdominal surgery. However, the Princess was spotted in a car with William earlier in the day, apparently on her way to a private appointment. The royals had previously clarified that the royal also known as Kate Middleton would not return to any public appearances until at least April. Over the weekend, Kensington Palace released a new photo of Middleton with her three children, but some controversy flared over apparent artifacts of digital editing. Prince William was credited as the photographer, and publicly apologized for what he said was an “experiment with editing.”

Otherwise, the group was joined by two of Charles’s siblings: Princess Anne and Prince Edward, the Duke of Edinburgh. Edward’s wife, Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, was also in attendance.

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Aside from Charles and Kate, it was telling who also wasn’t in attendance. Charles’s other brother, Prince Andrew, has retired from public life amid numerous controversies (particularly his links to Jeffrey Epstein). His daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, are not considered core members of the working royal family (according to rumors, at Charles’s insistence) and have actual careers (Eugenie is a director at art gallery Hauser & Wirth while Beatrice is a VP at a software company). Harry and Meghan Markle are of course now out in Hollywood, and Markle made an appearance this weekend at the SXSW conference in Texas.

While it’s believed that the late Queen Elizabeth II preferred a large number of her relatives performing royal duties, it’s long been reported that King Charles’s plan to modernize the royal family includes cutting down on members who live off of the sovereign grant. It’s times like these, though, that remind you why it’s not such a bad idea to have a few extra royals in reserve for backup.

“Ginger Spice” Geri Halliwell does not technically count as a British royal, but at least she was at the abbey to provide one more familiar face.

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