It was a “magnificent seven” who surrounded the Queen at the Jubilee finale – the core members of the royal family who are shaping the monarchy.
Future king the Prince of Wales, and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall, who was publicly backed this year by the monarch to one day use the title Queen, emerged with the head of state as she stepped onto the Buckingham Palace balcony.
There too were the next in line, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince George.
And the Duchess of Cambridge, like Camilla a future Queen Consort, along with Princess Charlotte and little Prince Louis, the siblings a double helping of spares to the heir.
As the Queen, in her end-of-Jubilee written message, outlined her commitment to serve “to the best of my ability supported by my family”, it was to these seven she was referring.
On hand and greatly depended on will also be the Princess Royal, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, and the Queen’s cousins, who have devoted their lives to royal duty.
These working royals joined the Queen for the Jubilee flypast on the first day of the celebrations.
But the closing image was the Queen and those in the immediate line of succession, and two wives as future consorts.
It was a symbol of a focused monarchy, reminiscent of the Diamond Jubilee balcony appearance in 2012 when the numbers were trimmed to a slimmed down group of six, including the Queen.
Then it was just the Queen – without the Duke of Edinburgh, who was in hospital – and Charles, Camilla, William, Kate and the Duke of Sussex.
But with Harry no longer at the forefront of royal life, and the arrival of the Cambridge great-grandchildren, the family line-up has changed.
For the Platinum Jubilee, the Queen moved to set out the future of the institution she has served for more than 70 years.
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