Queen Elizabeth II has agreed the “New Firm” will include eight of the most senior members of the British Royal Family.
Pictured on the steps of the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle, the “New Firm” consists of those who will attend public events together next year.
It includes the Queen herself; her son, Prince Charles, and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; the Queen’s daughter, Princess Anne; along with Prince William and Kate Middleton; and Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex.
The revised plans follow recent upheaval within the Royal Family, most notably the announcement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, stepping back from their royal duties, and the scandal surrounding Prince Andrew‘s association with late convicted child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
As was expected, none of these royals made the cut when the “New Firm” was agreed by the Queen.
Another senior royal missing from the new line-up was the Queen’s 99-year-old husband, Prince Philip, who retired from public duties in 2017 and has no plans to step back into the spotlight.
Queen Elizabeth has been isolating at Windsor Castle for the past nine months, but royal staff are keen to move ahead as soon as possible with events for the senior royals.
Insiders say Her Majesty has encouraged the family to stay calm amid the departure of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex this year and has welcomed support from Sophie, Countess of Wessex, who has stepped up during the coronavirus crisis and taken on more public duties.
In the brand new photos outside the castle, the eight royals can be seen officially together as the “New Firm” for the first time.
Via Kensington Palace’s official Instagram page, a few photos of the gathering were posted with this caption: “Members of the Royal Family enjoyed Christmas songs played by a @salvationarmyuk band during an event at Windsor Castle to thank local volunteers and key workers.”
The Queen thanked the band for their performance, as well as for the broader work of The Salvation Army during the pandemic and over the Christmas period.
Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The Earl and Countess of Wessex and The Princess Royal welcomed a number of local volunteers and key workers from organizations and charities in Berkshire, who will be volunteering or working to help others during Christmas.
Some royal fans were emotional because they miss Harry, Meghan, and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. “I miss Harry and Meghan 😔,” shared a fan.
“Me too! They were fun to watch together. Not nearly as stuffy as the rest,” added a royal backer.
Despite setbacks for the Royal Family this year, sources say the senior members are ready to work together and are already considering a range of opportunities for 2021.”