from the desk of Michele Crawshaw
WITH THE NEWS last month that Prince Philip is finally going to retire in August – at 96! – comes the consideration about what next for the royal family.
The Queen will no longer have Philip, her “rock”, by her side for her many official royal engagements, as she has had for so many times during their 69 years of marriage.
Philip, who jokingly described himself as “the world’s most experienced plaque unveiler”, has undertaken 22,191 solo engagements and given 5493 speeches in his official capacity, making him one of the busiest members of the royal family.
So he’s well and truly earned a rest. He has admitted to struggling with his memory as he gets older: “I can’t remember names and things. It’s better to get out before you reach your sell-by date,” he said, hinting at impending retirement back on his 90th birthday.
The Queen will now attend more solo engagements, or be accompanied by younger members of the royal family. She has already scaled down her own workload a little – having turned 91 in April – handing some of her royal duties to Prince William, Kate and Prince Harry.
Her heir, Prince Charles, who is patron or president of more than 400 organisations, has also upped his royal workload. And that’s only likely to increase. No doubt he’ll be thankful for the strong support of his beloved wife of 12 years, Camilla.
The Duchess of Cornwall has been Charles’ mainstay over the years – as well as forging her own path, including fighting for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
The Australian Women’s Weekly’s Juliet Rieden was granted rare access to spend two weeks with Camilla recently, crisscrossing Britain and attending some of her many engagements in the course of her important work. In this month’s issue, Juliet writes about the Camilla we don’t often see, her private under-the-radar missions, her relationship with Charles, and the gradual change in the public’s perception of her since their marriage in 2005. She also talks to the Duchess’ friends about “the real Camilla”.
It’s a fascinating insight into the woman who celebrates her 70th birthday next month and may one day – if public opinion allows – be Queen.