King counts more engagement days in the first year than his mother

The king has counted more days of official engagements in his first 12 months as monarch than his mother did in her first year as queen – but not as many as his grandfather George VI, new analysis shows.

Charles has undertaken 161 days of engagements since becoming king on September 8, 2022, including traveling to all four nations of the UK and attending dozens of events.

His mother, Elizabeth II, almost matches Charles, with 157 engagement days in her first 12 months as queen, albeit with a lighter workload and fewer visits.

But Charles has not quite matched the pace set by his grandfather George VI, who managed 183 engagement days in his first year on the throne.

The figures have been compiled by the PA news agency from issues of the Court Circular, the official record of the royal family's daily activities.

The data shows that while some types of engagements are common to all three monarchs – a trip to the Ascot races, a garden party – there are striking differences, reflecting changing times and attitudes.

Charles is recorded as having had 26 official audiences with the UK prime minister since becoming king: five with Liz Truss – who stepped down 48 days into his reign – and the remaining 21 with Rishi Sunak.

His mother scored almost the same number in the 12 months after she became queen in February 1952, with 27 audiences, all with Winston Churchill – the first of 15 prime ministers during her reign.

By contrast, George VI had just 12 prime ministerial audiences the year after he became king in December 1936, seven with Stanley Baldwin and five with Neville Chamberlain.

But the Court's circular reveals that he also had many official one-on-one meetings with government officials, from senior cabinet members to ministers overseeing the Post Office and coal mines.

This high level of involvement in the country's day-to-day politics is not reflected in the first year of his daughter's reign, which has had only a few meetings with government ministers.

The same is true of Charles' first year, with only a small number of official audiences with politicians other than the Prime Minister, including three with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and one with the Secretary of State.

Another stark contrast between George VI and his daughter and grandson is the volume of engagements devoted to the then British Empire, with George having many audiences with dignitaries and diplomats from the UK colonies.

The number of British overseas territories had begun to decline by the time Elizabeth became queen – like India's independence in 1947 – meaning her first year had far fewer colonial commitments.

However, audiences with ambassadors from countries around the world are a common feature of the first 12 months of all three monarchs.

The PA news agency has classified an engagement day as one where the monarch is recorded as making at least one official visit, meeting or function, excluding non-official events such as visiting church in a private capacity.

Charles made trips to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales within eight days of becoming king and finished the first year of his reign with visits around the country including York, Wrexham, Manchester, Armagh, Selkirk and St Ives.

In contrast, Elizabeth II did not make an official visit to Scotland until June 1952, four months after she became queen, although she did travel to the royal residence of Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire in a private capacity in May.

She visited Wales in October to open Claerwen Dam in Powys, and also made trips to a few places such as Dorchester and Hemel Hempstead, but had not visited Northern Ireland until the end of her first year.

George VI waited even longer to begin touring the country and did not make any major official trips until after his coronation in May 1937, five months into his reign, when he visited the naval fleet at Portsmouth.

Extensive trips to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all took place in July, followed by a three-day tour of Yorkshire in October.

Counting each official visit to a separate location as an engagement, and applying the same rule to each official meeting or audience with another person or group of people, it is likely that Charles has held more than 550 engagements since becoming king – close to the total George VI's is at least 570, but well ahead of Elizabeth II, who performed just over 400.

While George did not make as many public visits as Charles, he undertook far more meetings and audiences than his daughter and grandson – again a reflection of his close interest in state and political affairs.

The Court Circular suggests that George and Elizabeth spent extensive periods of their first year out of the public eye, either holding engagements behind closed doors or living in royal residences – notably Balmoral, where they were based for much of August and September.

The pattern of Charles's first year was different, with shorter spells in royal residences and more frequent public appearances.

In a further contrast, Charles has made two trips abroad since becoming king: a state visit to Germany in March 2023 and a private visit to Romania in June.

Both George VI and Elizabeth II spent their first year as monarchs in the UK, with no official foreign engagements – although Elizabeth, then still a princess, was in Kenya when she became queen on 6 February 1952, hastily returning to home to reach London. next day.

The way she became Queen paralleled the way Charles became King, with both inheriting the throne on their parent's death, followed by a period of mourning, setting a somber tone to the start of their reigns.

The accession of George VI took place in very different circumstances, brought about by the abdication of his older brother Edward VIII after only 11 months as monarch.

The drama surrounding Edward's abdication – caused by the government's refusal to approve his marriage to Wallis Simpson, a divorcee – is likely to have encouraged a low-key start to George's reign, with the first weeks filled with mostly with private meetings. .

Some of these included the Privy Council: the body of advisers that met regularly with the monarch to oversee the issue of royal proclamations, statutes and other ceremonial matters.

Its members are mostly senior politicians, although only a few sitting ministers attend each regular meeting.

The council met 16 times in Charles' first year as king, compared with 11 gatherings in the previous 12 months, perhaps reflecting the increased workload that accompanies the arrival of a new monarch.

This set includes the Accession Council on 10 September 2022, when Charles was officially proclaimed King.

There were 15 meetings of the Privy Council during the first year of George VI's reign, but 20 during that of his daughter – many of which would have looked ahead to the defining event of Elizabeth's second year as monarch: her coronation in June 1953.