Here's to a new school year. As they prepare to send their first born off to classes for the first time, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are also renewing their diaries as Kensington Palace announces the first engagements after the summer. And perhaps with good cause. The latest royal work stats, compiled by the Press Association show that William and Kate are really playing catch up when it comes to work in 2017.
September is almost as much a time of reflection as New Year's Eve. The start of the academic calendar sees many people taking stock and starting again. Kensington Palace said, in a press release on August 29th, that means William and Kate mostly basing their family in London rather than Norfolk from now onwards. But others were more struck by the numbers of days worked by the Royal Family this year which makes stark reading for the younger faces of the House of Windsor.
Kate is bringing the rear in this list. She might top the most liked royal Instagram posts on a regular basis but with 39 days worked so far in 2017 she's a long way off the title of busiest royal of the year. William and Harry both have 46 days under their regal belts this year, a week more of work than the duchess. But all are a long way behind the busiest royal of 2017. There are absolutely no prizes for guessing that the Princess Royal has taken first place - so far this year, Anne has clocked up 114 days on royal engagements.
Which means this back to school time is a real landmark for William and Kate. Even before they drop George off at St Thomas' School, Battersea on September 7th for his first day, we have a renewed agenda with Kensington Palace announcing engagements for both of them as well as Harry in the next few days. But the challenge seems to be heavier for the Cambridges - Harry has the Invictus Games coming up in September which will mean a couple of high profile weeks for the prince. William has now given up his job as an air ambulance pilot and there has long been a general expectation that when that happened, the couple would take on more royal duties. The calendar will need to fill soon to avoid awkward questions.
The announcement from Kensington Palace seems to point that way although actual engagements were limited to the start of September with some talk of European tours later in the autumn. There's little chance of reeling in Anne on the days worked list but a good autumn will provide strong foundations for the Cambridges as they enter a new phase of their royal lives with children growing up and more responsibilities beckoning in the not so distant future. New school year, new challenges, new beginnings. Time for William and Kate to catch royal life with both hands and keep on going.
Photo credit: Kensington Palace Instagram