Britain’s lockdown summer is coming to an end as pupils return to schools and office workers are encouraged to get back to their desks.
For the Royal Family, the summer break was shorter than usual this year. The Queen and her husband Prince Philip could not make the journey to Aberdeen for their Balmoral break until August – much later than they would usually leave the south of England.
And Prince William and his wife Kate continued engagements into the summer months, visiting Barry and Cardiff in South Wales as they carried out socially-distanced visits in August.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been homeschooling their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who are seven and five, and attend Thomas’s in Battersea, London.
Prince Louis, at just two years old, was photographed making a rainbow hand print for NHS workers.
William and Kate stayed in Anmer Hall, their Norfolk home, with their children despite the government reopening schools to some year groups earlier this year.
Charlotte would have been included in the year group that was back in the classroom, but the family did not move back down to the capital.
Thomas’s Battersea reopens fully on 7 September, which means it will be time for an end to homeschooling for the family, and an end to that summer break.
The Cambridges often spends part of their summer in Norfolk anyway, and they also go to Scotland to visit Balmoral while the Queen stays there.
Like the rest of the country, their plans for a break abroad will have been scuppered by coronavirus, with people facing quarantine restrictions on their return from many popular holiday destinations.
With school restarting on the horizon, it’s likely William and Kate will be packing up at Anmer Hall and heading back to Kensington Palace to get back into their previous routine.
They are keen to be hands-on parents when they can be, and they take George and Charlotte to and from school whenever they can.
With their oldest children back in school, the couple may also be returning to more of their engagements, many of which were carried out over Zoom while lockdown was going on, with video messages replacing speeches or visits.
However, William’s aunt, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, kickstarted the royals getting back to their duties after the summer break today as she visited the Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA) in Maidenhead.
The air ambulance saved her life in 2001 when she had an ectopic pregnancy, and she met some of the current crew members as she marked their 21st anniversary.
Sophie went to White Waltham Airfield, which was the charity’s first operating base, and the place from which the ambulance that helped her was dispatched.
She underwent a two-and-a-half hour operation, during which surgeons removed the foetus from her Fallopian tube, after being airlifted to hospital.
Sophie and her husband Prince Edward now have two children - Lady Louise Windsor, who is 16, and James, the Viscount Severn, who is 12.
The countess has been patron of TVAA since January 2019, following her long involvement with the charity, and kept up with the work of the organisation during lockdown.
During Thursday’s visit she also spoke to past air ambulance patients who shared their life-changing experiences about the care they received.
The Queen’s plans for the next few months are not set in stone, and her advisors are likely to continue to follow government guidelines, as they have throughout the pandemic.
Her Majesty works every day, receiving the red box from her government, which she reads through, as well as getting frequent updates from Commonwealth nations.
Throughout lockdown, she made appearances on Zoom, adapting visits to the virtual world, and of course, made several video and audio messages.
According to The Sunday Times, she will stay in Windsor Castle after her Scottish break, and will commute to London for engagements as and when it is possible.