100 things the Royal Family have done in 100 days of lockdown

Christel Deskins

The UK has been in some form of lockdown for 100 days, in a bid to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus. For the Royal Family, the lockdown meant an end to in-person engagements, foreign trips and getting to grips with zoom calls and virtual openings. There have been […]

The UK has been in some form of lockdown for 100 days, in a bid to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

For the Royal Family, the lockdown meant an end to in-person engagements, foreign trips and getting to grips with zoom calls and virtual openings.

There have been many firsts, and many rare occurrences, including televised addresses from the Queen. Here’s what the royals have been up to in 100 days of lockdown.

  • Opened NHS Nightingale hospitals: Designed to treat patients who needed hospital but not intensive care for COVID-19, Nightingale hospitals sprung up around the country, and most of them were opened by a royal. The first one, in the ExCeL centre in East London, was opened by Prince Charles, but via videolink from Aberdeenshire. It made it the first place to be opened by the Duke of Rothesay (as he’s called in Scotland) outside of Scotland.

  • The Queen delivered a video message: In the early days of the lockdown, there were rumours of the Queen preparing to speak to the nation and when it came, it was one of the most moving messages given in peacetime. The Queen channelled Dame Vera Lynn as she reminded the nation “we’ll meet again”.

  • The Queen gave her first audio message: As well as a video message, the Queen gave her first audio message, released on social media on Easter Sunday.

  • The Queen took on a virtual engagement: As her family adapted to video call engagements, the Queen did too, and she and her daughter Princess Anne, spoke to carers over zoom in her first official video engagement.

  • A phone call was released: The Queen carried out her engagements over the phone, and for what was thought to be the first time, authorised the release of the recording of one, in which she spoke to the President of the Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation and Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing about working on the frontline.

  • The Queen approved an interview: The monarch does not traditionally do interviews but in a rare move, she approved comments from her stud groom and manager at Windsor Castle, Terry Pendry, and John Warren, her bloodstock and racing adviser about her horseracing hobby. She also chose her favourite horses from over the years.

  • A mini Trooping the Colour was held: The celebrations for the Queen’s official birthday are one of the biggest events in the royal calendar, but they could not go ahead in their usual form this year. Instead, the monarch watched a mini Trooping the Colour, which was held at Windsor Castle, the first time it was there in more than 100 years. She looked like she still enjoyed it, even though she had to watch it alone.

  • Prince Philip issued a rare statement: Firmly in retirement, Philip doesn’t take on royal engagements but still supports many charities. In April, he sent his thanks to those working to find a vaccine for COVID-19, as well as to key workers like refuse collectors and postmen and women, working throughout the pandemic.

  • Prince Charles contracted and recovered from coronavirus: In March, Charles confirmed he had tested positive for COVID-19, but said he had mild symptoms. He self-isolated, as did his wife Camilla, who tested negative. He recovered, but told staff at a hospital when he returned to duties, that he’d lost his sense of taste and smell.

  • They cancelled royal traditions: Members of the royal family including Prince Philip and the Queen usually receive gun salutes to mark their birthday, but the Queen cancelled hers for the first time in her reign, and they remained suspended for the Duke of Edinburgh’s too. They won’t return until it’s safe.

  • They celebrated birthdays: The royals usually have understated birthday celebrations, but they had no option this year. The Queen, Prince Philip, Prince William, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte all marked birthdays in lockdown, as did Archie and Princess Eugenie.

  • They celebrated anniversaries: As well as birthdays, there were a few wedding anniversaries which passed in lockdown too. Prince Charles and Camilla marked 15 years of marriage, Prince William and Kate marked nine years and Prince Harry and Meghan marked two years.

  • Kate spent her anniversary working: The royal jumped on a call to midwives and new mums on her ninth wedding anniversary.

  • They embraced technology: The Royal Family has had to get to grips with technology like the rest of us, and so face-to-face visits were swapped for zoom calls with family. Prince Harry and Meghan confirmed they had a video call with the Queen, with Archie joining in too, on her birthday, and Prince William and Kate talked about keeping in touch with grandparents in the same way.

  • They appeared on podcasts: Charles was one of the first to do this during lockdown, as he did a reading to mark Easter Sunday. Since then his sister-in-law Sophie has also been on one.

  • The Queen posted the Maundy money: Back before Easter, the Queen had to cancel the annual Maundy service which takes place on Maundy Thursday. Instead, the Maundy money was posted to each person who was on this year’s list.

  • Princess Beatrice postponed her wedding: Beatrice was due to marry her fiance Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi on 29 May in London. But with mass gatherings banned in March, the royal postponed her reception, which was due to be held in the gardens of Buckingham Palace. It then became clear as time went on that the ceremony would also not be able to take place.

  • Buckingham Palace closed to visitors: The royal palaces usually open in the summer for visitors to explore but because of the pandemic and a struggle to implement social distancing, they have remained shut this year.

  • Garden parties were cancelled: The annual Buckingham Palace garden parties show appreciation for people across the country for their charity work, but they did not go ahead this year. The 2020 guests will be invited back in 2021.

  • The Cambridges clapped for carers: As the Clap for Carers swept the nation, William and Kate released a video of their three children, Louis, Charlotte and George, clapping at their home in Norfolk, much to the delight of royal fans.

  • Prince William had a starring role: As the BBC tried to buoy the nation’s spirits, the second in line to the throne joined Stephen Fry on the Big Night In to create a Blackadder sketch about homeschooling. He said he was missing EastEnders, and didn’t want to watch Tiger King – because he avoids anything about royalty.

  • Charles and Camilla clapped for carers: The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay clapped from Scotland, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex clapped from Bagshot Park as the royals all thanked carers.

  • William and Kate called the numbers: The Cambridges turned bingo callers in one of their engagements, playing a game with residents of a care home in Cardiff. But they didn’t impress them much.

  • Prince William volunteered as a counsellor: The Cambridges launched Shout with Prince Harry and Meghan in 2019, a 24/7 text-based service which supports those in crisis. William revealed he had joined the platform as a volunteer, meaning some people have had mental health support from the future king.

  • Kate ran a national photography project: Keen amateur photographer Kate worked with the National Portrait Gallery to launch Hold Still, a nationwide project which encouraged people to capture their experience of lockdown. Thousands of people have entered and she will help whittle the entrants down to 100 images which will form a virtual gallery.

  • The Countess of Wessex entered the project: Sophie entered a picture of one of the people she volunteered with for the Hold Still project, and called the image ‘Packed with Love’. The subject of the image volunteers all day before doing his day job in the evening.

  • Kate held an online assembly: The Duchess of Cambridge spoke to pupils in a school in Waterloo Primary Academy in Blackpool as she held an online assembly about kindness in June. They showed her the photos they had taken during lockdown.

  • Charles encouraged big changes: Long-term eco champion, Prince Charles has encouraged world leaders to make big changes after the pandemic. He has called for a radical rethink to put nature first in how the world operates, and told leaders “we can’t waste any more time”.

  • Harry and Meghan moved to Los Angeles: After indicating they would make Canada their home after leaving their roles as senior royals, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex moved to Los Angeles at the end of March, just as the border between Canada and the USA closed, to combat the spread of the disease.

  • Harry and Meghan volunteered: The couple has been seen volunteering in their new Californian home, including helping to make meals and baked goods alongside former gang members at Homeboy Industries.

  • Princess Eugenie and her husband “prepared for the worst”: Eugenie, one of the Queen’s grandchildren, and her husband Jack Brooksbank, had to prepare for the worst when his father went into hospital with COVID-19. She released a video thanking the staff who cared for him when he finally made it home after weeks of treatment.

  • Kate planted a garden and kept a promise: The Duchess of Cambridge planted a garden in The Nook, a hospice in the Each network, of which she is a patron, and included a sunflower in memory of Fraser Delf, who died of Coats syndrome in January. She had promised the Delfs she would plant the flower after speaking to them via video call.

  • Eugenie and Jack volunteered with the Salvation Army: The couple, who married in October 2018, lent a hand to the Salvation Army by packing food parcels with other volunteers. Fans called it a “fantastic example of leadership”.

  • William and Kate shifted focus: The couple has long used their royal work to breakdown the stigma around mental health and during the pandemic, they particularly moved the focus to those who had to continue to work during lockdown. They launched Our Frontline, which provided resources and support to people who could not work from home.

  • They tackled homeschooling: William admitted to being worried because he couldn’t do Maths, while his cousin-in-law Mike Tindall seemingly couldn’t wait to get his daughter Mia back to school.

  • Kate kept homeschooling: The duchess admitted that she didn’t give her kids an Easter break, because they enjoyed the routine. She said she felt “quite mean”.

  • The Cambridges stayed home: Princess Charlotte’s school year went back but the Cambridges appeared to stay in Norfolk. She and brother George go to school in London.

  • Meghan sponsored a dog kennel: Meghan continues to be a patron for Mayhew, an animal welfare charity, and wrote the forward for their annual report in which she revealed she had been sponsoring a kennel in Archie’s name to provide a home for an animal during the pandemic.

  • A new video of Archie: The youngest royal, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, turned one and to mark his birthday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex worked with Save the Children to release a video of Meghan reading to him.

  • Harry and Meghan delayed their next steps: Having announced their plans to step back in January, the couple had said they planned to launch a non-profit. But they have had to delay the work of Archewell until 2021.

  • The Cambridges volunteered together: In pictures released for Charlotte’s fifth birthday, Kate showed how they had been volunteering together, helping to deliver food parcels to vulnerable people around the Sandringham estate. They had even made pasta for the parcels first.

  • Zara revealed she was thankful to have her horses with her: The former Olympic medallist said she was pleased she had her animals around her in lockdown as she continues to train in the hopes of making the GB team again.

  • The Queen missed Royal Ascot for the first time in her reign: Another key royal event, Royal Ascot, was held behind closed doors this year, meaning the Queen missed it for the first time since she acceded to the throne. She had to watch at home, as her horse Tactical won the Windsor Castle stakes.

  • Zara got lots of deliveries – but it was for a good cause: Zara showed off her artistic side as she painted her horse to raise money for NHS charities, but husband Mike couldn’t resist teasing her about the daily deliveries of new equipment she had to get there.

  • Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis had a sunflower growing competition: Louis is winning, say mum Kate, which is making George grumpy.

  • Royal gardening: The three young royals also grew tomato plants and “attacked the kitchen” according to mum and dad Kate and William.

  • Charles is facing an income hit: The Prince of Wales recorded a boost of more than £600,000 to his Duchy of Cornwall income for 2019/2020, but the pandemic is likely to hit in the next financial year.

  • Kate and Camilla worked together for the first time: The Duchesses of Cambridge and Cornwall had never carried out an engagement together without their husbands before lockdown, but joined forces for a video call to mark the beginning of children’s hospice week. It went down well with royal fans who will be keen to see more from the two women.

  • William wore a face mask: The Duke of Cambridge was one of the first senior royals to carry out an indoor engagement and headed to Oxford to meet the team working on a vaccine for COVID-19. The duke wore a face mask as he spoke to doctors and volunteers on the trial.

  • Countess of Wessex’s stark warning: Sophie joined a virtual UN event to mark the international day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict where she warned that women would be disproportionately affected by the pandemic as they couldn’t access help for sexual violence. She called for a survivor centred approach.

  • Charles turned DJ: The Prince of Wales took over the airwaves on Classic FM, sharing his favourite pieces and highlighting the plight of orchestras and venues as they are forced to close.

  • The Queen shared throwback photos: Marking the virtual Chelsea Flower Show, throwback pictures of the Queen enjoying the annual show over the years were posted on her social media accounts.

  • Sophie volunteered here, there and everywhere: The Countess of Wessex is likely to top any list of voluntary engagements carried out by the royals during lockdown, and was pictured at several places near her home in Bagshot Park. From packing food parcels, to making meals, she did her bit to help.

  • Sarah Ferguson read a story everyday: The Duchess of York kept little ones entertained with her daily story time slot at 4pm on YouTube. She was joined by all sorts of guests, and her daughters also appeared on her channel.

  • Prince Charles had trouble with social distancing: Charles and Emmanuel Macron, the French president, carried out one of the first diplomatic engagements as lockdown began to ease in June, but a rogue arm pat from Macron broke social distancing guidelines as they inspected a guard of honour.

  • William joined a virtual challenge: Runners across Britain took part in online and virtual race challenges and Prince William joined one for Tusk, a charity he has worked with since 2005. Participants had to run between 5k and 42k (3miles and 26 miles).

  • Charles offered a rent deferral: Prince Charles gave his tenants in the Duchy of Cornwall a three-month rent deferral as they braced for reduced visitor number during the pandemic. He said he would not be charging interest on the payments when they were made.

  • Kate voiced a video for Wimbledon: As patron of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Kate would have had a busy fortnight at Wimbledon, including handing out the trophy to the men’s tournament winner. But as the event was cancelled, she voiced a video to tell fellow fans it would be worth the wait.

  • Camilla voiced fears about domestic abuse: The Duchess of Cornwall has worked with victims of domestics abuse for years, and said she fears the numbers of abuse victims coming to light after the coronavirus lockdown will be “horrific”.

  • Harry missed rugby: Prince Harry popped up in a video to support England Rugby and confessed he was missing the sport.

  • William missed the pub: The Duke of Cambridge told NHS workers in Norfolk that he was waiting for the government advice to go back to the pub – which isn’t far away as they reopen on 4 July.

  • Camilla did some zoom acting: The Duchess of Cornwall added her name to the list of acting royals, alongside her husband Charles and her step-daughter-in-law Meghan Markle to play the ship’s captain in a version of James and the Giant Peach, put together by Taika Waititi.

  • Kate urged addicts to get help: The Duchess of Cambridge said people with addictions should still seek help during lockdown.

  • Camilla kept fit: Camilla revealed she took up ballet and kept up the lessons online during the pandemic, and also does Pilates. She and Charles love walking too.

  • Mike and Zara were excited for date night: As the lockdown eased in England, Mike Tindall said he would be planning a date night with wife Zara, as they mark nine years of marriage on 30 July. He said it would be the most exciting thing in three months.

  • Charles missed hugging people: In a remarkably open interview, Charles talked about how video calls were no replacement for seeing people and talked about wanting to give people a hug. He also said he missed his father.

  • Kate missed her parents: In a garden centre in Norfolk she told another shopper about how she couldn’t get to Berkshire yet to see her parents and was missing them.

  • Sophie made secret visits: The royal did lots of her volunteering privately, and one of those visits was to a charity in Surrey where she wore gloves and a mask to help out.

  • Social media messages sent thanks: The Royal Family used Twitter to send messages of thanks every Thursday, including to people like key workers keeping the country going.

  • Camilla called Radio 4: The duchess sought out some gardening tips from Gardeners’ Question Time on Radio 4. She asked about lavender.

  • Palace gardeners answered questions: The Buckingham Palace gardeners took over Twitter and answered the questions of the nation, who had more time to get outside during lockdown.

  • The Queen had a birthday card hand delivered: The Queen always sends birthday cards to those marking 100th birthdays, but for Captain Tom Moore, putting it in the post was not enough. Instead, the Queen had the card hand delivered by her representative.

  • Prince William donated to Captain Tom Moore: The prince also called the 100-year-old a “legend” and a “one-man fundraising machine”.

  • Prince Charles donated to charity: Charles made an undisclosed donation to the International Rescue Committee, who work in areas of conflict, where a pandemic is even more risky.

  • Prince Charles wrote in Country Life: The prince wrote in the early stages of the pandemic, when food shortages were a problem as people panic bought. He praised farmers, shelf stackers and delivery drivers for keeping the nation fed.

  • Prince Harry launched the Invictus Games single: Unperturbed by the 2020 games being postponed until 2021, Harry still released the single the choir had recorded at Abbey Road with Jon Bon Jovi, in a life before lockdown.

  • Kate managed to hire a new employee: The Duchess of Cambridge managed to find herself a new private secretary despite the lockdown. Hannah Cockburn-Logie started working in the royal household in June.

  • Buckingham Palace chefs shared recipes: With no one able to go to garden parties or enjoy the treats after the visits at the palace, the chefs shared several recipes from the royal cookbooks. From Victoria sponge to chocolate biscuit cake, if they’re good enough for Her Majesty…

  • Prince Edward enlisted some celebrity help: The Earl of Wessex enlisted the help of celebrities like Marvin Humes to send messages of congratulations to those who finished their Duke of Edinburgh awards. They could not hold the usual ceremony to mark the achievement.

  • Kate went on This Morning: To launch her Hold Still project, the Duchess of Cambridge did a video interview with Phil and Holly, and asked them to enter too.

  • The Queen wrote to Boris Johnson: When the prime minister contracted coronavirus, the Queen wrote to him to wish him a full and speedy recovery. Kate and William also sent their best wishes.

  • The Queen went to Windsor early: The Queen usually arrives in Windsor in time for Easter Court, but this year, she went a week early, leaving London to spend time in isolation. She hasn’t left.

  • Prince Philip was flown down to Windsor: The retired prince lives in Sandringham most of the time, and came down to Windsor at the same time as the Queen, via helicopter. It’s the longest they’ve spent together in years.

  • The Queen’s weekly meeting with the prime minister was done by phone: The Queen started calling Johnson instead of meeting with him in March and it has continued that way since. There was also a rare photo of the meeting released.

  • Prince Charles adapted his greetings: The prince uses a namaste greeting now when he meets people, having stopped shaking hands due to government advice.

  • The Queen spoke to Commonwealth leaders: The Queen called Jacinta Ardern, Scott Morrison and Justin Trudeau among others as she kept up to date with how the pandemic was affecting nations in the commonwealth.

  • The Queen spoke to Donald Trump: She also called the US leader, who told her he was sorry to hear about the deaths in the UK from coronavirus.

  • The Queen kept fit by riding horses: She has loved horses and horse riding since she was a girl, and the Queen had special photos taken to show she was out and about in Windsor Home Park.

  • The Queen’s photo appeared in Soho: An image of the Queen was projected in London after her message, reminding people “we’ll meet again”.

  • Harry, Meghan and the Queen got good seats: With football stadiums closed to fans, clubs asked supporters to sponsor a cardboard cutout to fill the stands. Some fans decided to send Prince Harry, Meghan and even the Queen to the matches in their place.

  • The Queen’s home was littered: A lack of public toilets at the grounds of Balmoral, the Queen’s Scottish home, led people to urinate and defecate in the fields. Rangers were less than impressed.

  • Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie supported charities: Though not working royals, the princesses are honourary patrons of a number of charities, one of which is the Teenage Cancer Trust. The royals spoke to young people about how they had been impacted by COVID-19.

  • Prince Andrew packed care boxes: Keeping a low profile after he stepped back from royal duties, Prince Andrew was seen packing care boxes which were sent to a hospice, alongside his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson.

  • The Queen told us to never give up: Speaking on the anniversary of VE Day, she praised the response to the pandemic and echoed the message of 1945 – “never give up”.

  • Prince Louis painted an NHS rainbow: The youngest Cambridge made his own tribute to NHS workers, with a rainbow painted handprint. The photos were released to mark his second birthday.

  • The Cambridges changed the way they used social media: From personal messages left by William and Kate as well as telling fundraisers they were proud of the work they did, there was a marked change in the way the duke and duchess used their social media during lockdown.

  • They showed us their home offices: They worked at home just like many Britons, and gave us a glimpse into their work from home rooms. For Charles and Camilla, it meant lots of books and photographs, and for William and Kate, it sometimes meant minimal decoration, and other times, a great view outside.

  • Charles remembered the victims: The Prince of Wales launched an online multi-faith memorial book which takes contributions from friends and family of coronavirus victims. The online book will become a real memorial in St Paul’s Cathedral after the lockdown.

  • They turned Windsor Castle blue for NHS workers: In a wonderful royal tribute, Windsor Castle’s tower was lit up with blue lights to say thank you to NHS workers.

  • Camilla planned a post-lockdown trip: Many of us can’t wait to jump on a plane when the lockdown is over, and the Duchess of Cornwall showed she is thinking of what’s next too, telling representatives from a charity in Australia she hoped to see them sooner rather than later.

  • As lockdown eases, Royal Family members are going back to their in-person engagements, though following social distancing rules.

    It’s likely that Prince Charles and Prince William, and their wives, will continue to be more visible until a time it’s safe enough for the Queen to return to in-person duties.

    She is almost certainly keen to meet again.

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