Royal Initiatives 2020

It’s that time of year again! For the few days leading up to the New Year, we have a series of ‘Year in Review’ articles, compiling and featuring the Royal Highlights of 2020, and today’s feature is a roundup of the notable Royal Initiatives of 2020, which has been written by assistant editor Gabriel Aquino!

Let us start with an honorable mention from Sweden! Princess Sofia deserves all praise for undertaking training and working as a voluntary caregiver at the Sophiahemmet Hospital in Stockholm, of which she is honorary chair. HRH assists the staff with cleaning, kitchen shifts and patient care! Her husband, Prince Carl Philip, also did some amazing work by resuming an active military role to support the country’s to support and coordinate the community struggling with COVID-19. Still in Sweden, Crown Princess Victoria undertook a lot of engagements this year, including her regional visits across the country and even volunteering to help make food boxes to support homeless people in Stockholm.

In Denmark, the pandemic saw Crown Prince Frederik pay a remote visit to the Red Cross early on in March, during the early days of digital engagements, and Crown Princess Mary spoke about loneliness caused by the pandemic. However, Queen Margrethe II was the one who surprised the most in Denmark by recording her first ever podcast, titled The Queen and the Art, discussing her artistic passions. The podcast is available on Podimo.

In Belgium, 2020 saw Queen Mathilde and her children taking food to care homes to help those most vulnerable to the coronavirus and Princess Elisabeth, heir to the throne, undertook one month of military training, becoming the first ever Princess of Belgium to do so!

Spanish royals had a tough year, after revelations emerged that led former King Juan Carlos to go into self-imposed exile. However, that didn’t stop King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of continuing with their work, which included visits around the country to promote tourism. Highlights of 2020 include the act of remembrance to all those who died of COVID, which was led by the King and Queen, with their daughters, and the Queen’s cooperation visit to Honduras, where she saw at first hand the damage caused to the country by the pandemic and the two hurricanes that the country endured this year. Queen Letizia also saw how Spanish humanitarian aid was being used in Honduras.

This year saw a Crown Prince of Norway opening a session of parliament for the first time in the XXI century. Crown Prince Haakon had to step in on his father’s behalf, after King Harald V was taken ill to the hospital and subsequently had heart surgery.

In the UK, due to the pandemic, The Queen, who is 94, spent most of the year in isolation due to the dangers posed to older people by the coronavirus, where she gave important speeches at the start of the crisis and for the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. However, she still managed to carry out some in person engagements this year, the most notable events being the investiture she held in Windsor Castle to honour Sir Tom Moore, 100, with a knighthood after he managed to raise £33 million to help the National Health Service and the Queen’s visit to Westminster Abbey ahead of Remembrance Sunday in November, when she laid a replica of her wedding bouquet at the tomb of the Unknown Warrior. And, most surprisingly, 2020 saw the Queen grant audiences to foreign ambassadors over Zoom for the first time!

2020 also saw Prince Charles releasing a sustainable collection of clothes in support of the Modern Artisan Project, which is a collaboration between the Prince’s Foundation and YOOX Net-a-Porter. Camilla, however, started the year, back in March, with a brilliantly delivered speech on domestic violence at the annual Women of the World festival, where she launched her own hashtag: #everyonesproblem. That was followed by an editorial written in September for The Guardian where Camilla raised awareness for the increased abuse suffered by the victims of domestic violence during the pandemic due to quarantine requirements.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge certainly had a busy year. Both of them started the year taking part in podcasts, William participating in a podcast called “That Peter Crouch Podcast” to discuss football and Kate talking about early childhood and being a mother on “Happy mum, Happy baby”.Although the COVID-19 pandemic dominated most of their work this year, it’s worth mentioning that the Duchess continued working on her project dealing with childhood, using her “5 Big Questions on Under 5s” initiative. On the COVID front, other than taking part in the Clap for Carers that happened across the UK to praise the work of frontline staff, William and Kate have set up OurFrontline for mental health of frontline workers which donated £1.8m to mental health charities. The Duke volunteered as a crisis helpline volunteer. Kate spearheaded the Hold Still initiative, which collected photos from lockdown and and showed the great collective effort on keeping people going through these difficult pandemic times. Prince William, alongside Sir David Attenborough, launched the Earthshot Prize, which aims to award £50 million over 10 years and seeks to recognize those working to protect and save the environment. Kate also supported baby banks in the UK, by bringing together 19 British brands and retailers to donate over 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks across the UK. Moreover, the Cambridges carried out the first royal engagement since March in Buckingham Palace when they hosted the President and First Lady of Ukraine, on behalf of the Queen, in October and finished the year with their UK tour, using the royal train, to see the impacts brought by the new coronavirus in England, Scotland and Wales

The Countess of Wessex is another royal who worked hard this year. A truly unsung hero, Sophie carried a lot of voluntary work behind the scenes during the COVID-19 pandemic, including her help to provide PPE for charity workers!

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