Hats off to the hardest working royal! (Spoiler: It's not the Queen)

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Watch: If she hadn't been a royal, Princess Anne says she would have been an engineer

When it comes to hard-working royals, it's fair to say there's a definite hierarchy, with Prince-Andrew-in-hiding languishing down at the bottom, and the 95 year old Queen nudging the top, as she tirelessly takes on events and visits, despite being widowed earlier this year.

Despite her everlasting sense of duty, however, new research into the royal diaries suggests that it's not the Queen who works hardest of all, but her only daughter.

Princess Anne, who turned 71 in August and is several years past traditional retirement age herself, generally flies under the radar, but manages, without courting attention, to cram in a vast series of work appointments and obligations each year. 

According to an analysis of the Court Circular, the royals' public list of engagements, by commercial property agents Savoy Stewart, Princess Anne is crowned as the hardest working royal so far. 

Known for her no-nonsense sense of duty, she carried out an enormous 110 engagements in the past year, over 106 working days.

In July, she undertook official engagements on 25 days of the month, with several taking place at St James' Palace. 

Watch: Happy birthday Princess Anne! 5 things you did not know about the Queen's daughter

After the summer break, she returned to royal duties again recently, attending the "Ceremony of the Constable's Dues" at the Tower of London, where the Royal Navy crew from HMS Albion presented a barrel of wine to the Constable of the Tower. Prior to that, she was at the Westmorland County Show in Cumbria. with her sister-in-law Sophie, the Countess of Wessex.

Coming up on 12 October, she will accompany the Queen to a Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey for the centenary of the Royal British Legion.

Read more: Nine quotes that show Princess Anne has never been a traditional royal as she turns 70

The Princess Royal has so many patronages of various charities and organisations, she can spend the morning at a global leadership seminar and the afternoon at the International Sheep Dog Trials, as Patron of the International Sheep Dog Society. 

Olympic equestrian Anne holds patronage in over 300 organisations, mostly connected with sport, sciences, disability, and health in developing countries. She has also worked with Save the Children for over half a century - her work for them saw her nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, but like any true Princess, she never boasts - she just gets on with it.

The Princess Royal attends the Westmorland County Show in Crooklands, Cumbria. Picture date: Thursday September 9, 2021.
"Yes, all the meeting and greeting is rather tiring, I agree." The Princess Royal at the Westmorland County Show in Cumbria.(PA)

Second only to Princess Anne is Prince Charles, who has clocked up an impressive 101 engagements over 100 working days in 2021. 

According to Court Circular reports, July was also his busiest month, where he worked a total of 20 days.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, known as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay when in Scotland, clap after being entertained by Gaelic singer, Robert Robertson, during their visit to Portree, in the Isle of Skye, in the Highlands of Scotland, to see how businesses are moving forward following the coronavirus lockdown. Picture date: Thursday September 16, 2021.
"How long do we have to clap at the boats for, dear?" Prince Charles and Camilla on a visit to Skye this week. (PA)

But with 96 engagements so far in 2021, Queen Elizabeth II comes in at a respectable third place. Aged 95, widowed in spring, and with a country in the grip of a pandemic, she still managed to work for 94 days of the year so far, packing in royal appearances whenever possible. In July, she worked for 18 days. 

Queen Elizabeth II during an inspection of the Balaklava Company, 5 Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland at the gates at Balmoral, as she takes up summer residence at the castle. Picture date: Monday August 9, 2021.
"Yes, you all look very smart, where's the kettle?" The Queen arriving at Balmoral for her summer break in August. (PA)

Next comes Prince Edward, who has undertaken 77 days of official work, and Prince William who has spent 73 days locked into royal duties - that's over two solid months of shaking hands, asking polite questions and murmuring pleasantries. 

His own busiest month was May, when he and the Duchess of Cambridge headed to Scotland on an official tour that saw them revisit past haunts in St Andrews, where they met at University, and undertake various engagements elsewhere, including meeting Mina Sneddon, 5.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge watch Highland dancers perform at the Beating of the Retreat at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. Picture date: Thursday May 27, 2021.
"Lovely. And how long have you all been airborne?" The Cambridges on their tour of Scotland, May 2021. (PA)

William also worked from home in Kensington Palace during the year. Eighth in the line of work-obsession is Kate. The senior royal and mother of three has managed to squeeze in 41 engagements so far this year, and like her husband, was busiest in May. 

Read more: Princess Anne cautions younger royals against 'new ways' – as Harry and Meghan begin new life

But none can touch the relentless royal schedule of Princess Anne. Luckily, she may be a paragon of steely focus at work - but off-duty she likes to relax at her home, Gatcombe Park, with husband Timothy Lawrence and regular visits from daughter Zara and grandchildren Mia, Lena and Lucas, born earlier this year, to whom she's reportedly very close. 

Because all work and no play makes Anne a dull royal.

Watch: William, Kate are focussing on supporting the Queen - not on family drama

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