Last month it was reported that King Charles III had decided not to proceed with his plans to thin the monarchy and would instead keep the number of working royals at 11.
Her Majesty’s decision flies in the face of many critics and commentators who have speculated over the years that the monarch would streamline the list of royals holding official office.
For years there have been reports that King Charles wanted a smaller royal family which would make his operation a ‘lighter machine’ with ‘less gossip’.
Royal expert Gyles Brandreth even previously told Express.co.uk: ‘I think in future we’re going to go back to a much leaner version [monarchy].”
Like others, Mr Brandreth predicted that Charles, his wife and wife Queen Camilla, Princess Anne, Prince Edward, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Prince and Princess of Wales would be featured prominently in this news version of the monarchy.
The ‘Magnificent Seven’ was the nickname given to the royal family team expected to take the lead during Charles’s reign.
However, with the number remaining at 11, there are four other senior royals who will continue to perform public service: Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester; Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester; Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra.
The Duke of Gloucester, Duke of Kent and Alexandra are all first cousins of the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Richard is the second son of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, while Edward and Alexandra are two of the children of Prince George, Duke of Kent, both younger brothers of King George VI.
Compared to other working royals, the Queen’s cousins tend to go under the radar, with media coverage rarely focusing on their work and engagements.
However, some experts have noted the importance of this older generation of royals, highlighting their commitment to their service and to the monarchy.
Marlene Koenig, a historian who has spent more than 40 years researching European royalty, described Gloucesters as ‘the backbone of the royal family’, noting in particular the Duke’s unexpected introduction into the life of a member of the royal family.