William and Harry catching up but older royals still work the most

Younger members of the royal family began closing the gap on their older counterparts in 2017 for the number of days spent carrying out official engagements, new figures show.

Traditionally the second generation of the family - the Princess Royal, Prince of Wales, Duke of York and Earl of Wessex - top the table of days worked in the UK and abroad, but the Queen's grandchildren are catching up, as their charity interests broaden.

The Duke of Cambridge clocked up 85 days in the public eye this year, just eight behind Edward in fourth place with 93 days.

Prince Harry finished the year slightly behind his older brother on 77 days - the same number as the Duchess of Cornwall.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

And both William and Harry ended 2017 ahead of their grandmother the Queen, who carried out 72 days of engagements.

Outside of the officially logged working days, the monarch always has her red boxes of papers to examine - every day except Christmas Day.

The red boxes, sent to her by her private secretaries, contain policy papers, cabinet documents, telegrams, letters and other state papers from government ministers and representatives in Commonwealth and foreign countries.

William, the Duchess of Cambridge and Harry spent the first four months of the year promoting their Heads Together mental health campaign, then later Harry travelled to Canada for his Invictus Games.

The duke was also working as an air ambulance helicopter pilot until stepping down in the summer.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Kate worked on her programmes involving maternal and children's mental health, but her official duties were curtailed in the autumn when it was announced she was pregnant with her third child and was suffering from severe morning sickness.

The Queen's oldest children had the busiest 2017, however.

The Prince of Wales spent 138 days on public engagements, while the Princess Royal topped the list with a total of 172 days.

Anne is known for her "no-fuss" attitude and regularly heads the table of days worked by members of the monarchy.

Charles has an extensive portfolio of charities, organisations and institutions he founded or closely supports, and he promotes them and other causes throughout the year as well as undertaking two major foreign tours on behalf of the British government.

At the bottom of the list, compiled by the Press Association from the daily Court Circular, were the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Edinburgh - whose official work was cut short for different reasons.

The Princess Royal spent 172 days on public engagements this year (Philip Toscano/PA)
The Princess Royal spent 172 days on public engagements this year (Philip Toscano/PA)

A few weeks before Kate announced she was pregnant, Philip, who turned 96 this year, carried out his last official solo public engagement in August.

But since then he has not disappeared from public view, accompanying the Queen to the official opening of the Scottish Queensferry Crossing in September, and attending the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in November.

Here is the full list of days spent on public engagements in 2017 by members of the royal family:

Princess Royal: 172

Prince of Wales: 138

Duke of York: 110

Earl of Wessex: 93

Duke of Cambridge: 85

Prince Harry: 77

Duchess of Cornwall: 77

The Queen: 72

Duke of Edinburgh: 57

Duchess of Cambridge: 49