Is Queen Elizabeth Cutting Back on Royal Duties?

While Queen Elizabeth II’s role in her country is only as a figurehead (i.e., she does not hold real governmental powers like the royals of the past), Her Majesty still leads a busy life. She is expected to carry out many royal duties throughout her reign and work to maintain a good image of the British royal family.

In 2017, Prince Philip officially stopped taking on royal duties. As Queen Elizabeth turns 93 this year, many are wondering if she will follow in Prince Philip’s footsteps and cut back on her duties also. Here’s what we know.

What kind of work does Queen Elizabeth do?

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Ever since she inherited the throne at a young age in the 1950s, the queen has taken on lots of duties for her country. Her Majesty’s job as the queen includes meeting with Parliament, representing the country overseas, and having luncheons with diplomats and politicians. Throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth has met with 12 U.S. presidents, witnessed 13 British prime ministers, and traveled to over 100 countries.

She also patrons hundreds of charity organizations and is reportedly the monarch with the most amount of time spent on charity work. She usually can be seen either visiting charities or hosting parties to raise money for various causes. And aside from charity organizations, the queen also supports schools, hospitals, and sports associations.

In fact, even when most people her age are retired, she has not stopped working. Perhaps this can seem surprising to some, but Queen Elizabeth had made it known before that she was not planning on retiring just because she reached old age. On her 21st birthday in 1947, when the queen was only a princess, she said that she was going to serve her country for the rest of her life. “My whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family,” she declared.

Perhaps this utmost dedication is why no royal actually wants to become a monarch. However, Queen Elizabeth has kept her promise in its entirety to the point where it was even reported in 2015 that the queen did more work than her two oldest grandchildren, Prince William and Prince Harry, combined.

Is she cutting back on her royal duties these days?

Despite her eagerness to continue being queen, it does seem like Queen Elizabeth has been slowly taking a step back from some of her duties in the past several years.

In 2014, she began the process of transitioning the throne to her son Prince Charles. Some believe that a full-on abdication could cause disturbances in the royal family, so Queen Elizabeth has implemented something called “job-sharing,” which involves handing over some duties to the next person in line. As such, Prince Charles has taken on more work in representing the monarchy and meeting with various political figures.

The queen also does not fly anymore. This was a choice she made, not something that she was forced upon her. However, it does mean that other members of the family from Prince Charles down to Prince Harry as well as their respective wives now have to go overseas in place of Queen Elizabeth more often.

The queen has handed over several of her charity jobs as well. Before her 90th birthday, she reportedly gave away 25 roles to Prince William, Prince Harry, and Kate Middleton. When Meghan Markle joined the royal family in 2018, the new duchess was also asked to take on some charity work previous done by the queen.

And given the pattern, it seems that as time goes on, more and more of Queen Elizabeth’s duties will be distributed to the next generation of royals in preparation for them to eventually take over the throne in the future.