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Why We May Not See Much of the Royal Family Anytime Soon

For a very high-profile family, the British royal family has been relatively low profile as of late.

royal family

Photo: Getty

The Princess of Wales has taken a break from her duties as she undergoes treatment for cancer. King Charles, too, has pared back his scheduled appearances due to a cancer diagnosis. And now, as a result of political turmoil in the United Kingdom, they’re stepping back from public duties almost entirely—for the time being, at least.

The British royal family is postponing engagements “which may appear to divert attention or distract from the election campaign,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement on May 22. The news came after the two senior royals canceled engagements this week in the aftermath of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak calling for a snap general election. “Their Majesties send their sincere apologies to any of those who may be affected as a result,” the statement continued.

Why? The royals don’t want to distract from the importance of the political process. Their run-of-the-mill appearances at hospitals and museums may not seem like much of a conflict on the surface, but bigger celebrations like Trooping the Colour could read as inappropriate amid a divisive time for the United Kingdom.

Furthermore, it is the job of the British royal family to remain impartial as heads of state. They cannot take sides or publicly share any political opinions. In the current climate, where the election is set to become around-the-clock news, it’s likely they would be asked to comment on what’s going on at Downing Street while making the rounds publicly. By taking a step back, they are able to maintain their neutrality.

Some events, such as King Charles’s visit to Normandy to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day, are reported to continue as scheduled. So while the royal family may not be entirely absent from the spotlight, but they’ve definitely taken a big step back from it.

The election is on July 4—and after that, the Windsor status quo will likely return.

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