The royal family's most stand-out moments of 2020

Jennifer Savin
·9-min read
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

If there's one thing we can all agree on, surely it's this: the year 2020 has been beyond a rollercoaster ride. For many families across the UK, Christmas looked very different this time around, following an unusual twelve months of lockdowns, Zoom quizzes and learning phrases like 'social distancing' – and the same goes for the royals.

We also saw the way they work change during the pandemic (hello, Princess Anne teaching the Queen how to video call) and even heard the worrying news that Prince Charles tested positive for coronavirus (luckily he appears to have made a good recovery). There were other stories in the press we're sure Her Majesty would rather forget too... such as certain episodes of The Crown airing, which weren't entirely flattering for certain members of her family and Meghan and Harry's decision to step away from their senior roles.

Alongside the tougher times though, there have been plenty of joyous and heart-warming moments for the Windsors too: from Princess Beatrice tying the knot with Edo Mapelli Mozzi in a COVID compliant wedding (which already feels so long ago, doesn't it?), to her sister Princess Eugenie announcing her pregnancy and more.

So, as we approach the end of what has been arguably one of the strangest, most topsy-turvy years of all time, we've taken a look back and recapped the most stand-out moments of the royal family in 2020.

January: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped down

Photo credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS - Getty Images
Photo credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS - Getty Images


The year certainly started off with a bang over at Camp Royal, as on 8 January Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shocked the world when they announced they'd be stepping down from their roles as senior working royals. They outlined plans to self-fund and pursue new ventures, and in the same month headed over to Canada to seek privacy as the dust settled.

February: Kate Middleton gave a rare and candid interview

Not known for speaking publicly at length, Kate delighted fans when she appeared on Giovanna Fletchers podcast, Happy Mum, Happy Baby, and discussed the challenges she's faced as a mother. Candidly, the Duchess revealed she experienced a particularly "lonely" period after the birth of her first child, George, in 2013.

March: Prince Charles tested positive for COVID 19

Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images


"The Prince of Wales has tested positive for coronavirus," said a spokesman at the time. "He has been displaying mild symptoms but otherwise remains in good health and has been working from home throughout the last few days as usual." Charles later recovered well but said he still had lingering problems with smell and taste.

March: That Meghan and Harry umbrella picture happened

Photo credit: Samir Hussein - Getty Images
Photo credit: Samir Hussein - Getty Images


Taken during their final stint of carrying out official royal duties in London, Meghan and Harry were caught on camera by Samir Hussein as they huddled underneath an umbrella one particularly rainy night. The resulting images are so breathtaking it's reported that the couple have one on display in their home.

March: Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attended their final event together

Photo credit: Phil Harris (Daily Mirror) - Getty Images
Photo credit: Phil Harris (Daily Mirror) - Getty Images


The end of an era! After telling the world they were stepping away from royal life, Meghan and Harry still had a few final duties to carry out, one of which was attending a ceremony for Commonwealth Day. Here, they were photographed with William and Kate in an official capacity for the final time this year. They officially completed their royal engagements on 9 March and signed off from their social media accounts on 30 March.

April: The Cambridge's clapped for carers

Photo credit: Comic Relief - Getty Images
Photo credit: Comic Relief - Getty Images

For a Comic Relief special, Prince William and Catherine Middleton, along with their three children, were seen clapping on their doorstep at Anmer Hall, Norfolk. Joining in with the Clap For Carers campaign, the family showed their appreciation for key workers during the pandemic.

May: Archie's birthday video was released


In honour of his first birthday, a sweet video of Meghan reading Archie a book called Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal was shared as part of a charity partnership with Save The Children.

June: Prince Philip turned 99

The Duke of Edinburgh celebrated a milestone birthday in lockdown and received well wishes from his various royal family members on social media, including son Prince Charles and grandson, Prince William. A new image of him and the Queen was also posted to the official Royal Family channel to mark the occasion.

June: New Cambridge family portraits were shared

To mark Father's Day, a series of unseen portraits featuring Prince William and his three children (George, Charlotte and Louis), captured by his wife, Kate Middleton, were shared on the family's social media. Royal fans were especially delighted to see the children and many commented on how grown up they looked.

July: Prince Andrew's website was taken down

Photo credit: Dan Kitwood - Getty Images
Photo credit: Dan Kitwood - Getty Images


This month it was noted that Andrew's solo website had been removed and instead redirects visitors to a page on the official royal family site. Said page begins with a short message explaining that he stepped away from his public duties in November 2019, along with a link to his full statement on that decision. It's widely known the move came about after Andrew's friendship with sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein came under public scrutiny. He continues to deny any wrongdoing there.

July: The Queen learned how to video call

In one LOL-worthy clip from an ITV documentary released that month, Anne: The Princess Royal at 70, fans were treated to a snippet of Anne teaching her mother, Queen Elizabeth II, how to video call. As the pair dialled into a video chat with a group of carers, she can be heard saying, "Can you see everybody? You should have six people on your screen."

July: Princess Beatrice married Edo Mapelli Mozzi

Photo credit: Handout, Photo by Benjamin Wheeler via Getty Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: Handout, Photo by Benjamin Wheeler via Getty Images - Getty Images


For a while it was touch and go as to whether or not Beatrice and Edo's nuptials would be able to go ahead, due to coronavirus restrictions. In the end, the couple surprised us all by getting wed on 17 July in a COVID-approved, slimmed down ceremony. Princess Beatrice wore a dress belonging to the Queen and photos of the day are beyond beautiful.

August: Meghan and Harry purchased their first home together

Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images


Sending a very clear signal that they've no plans to return to the UK, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex brought their first permanent home together in Montecito, a hillside community an hour or so outside of LA. We caught a glimpse of the interior for the first time in August too, when Meghan hopped on a video call as part of a virtual summit.

August: An unofficial biography about Meghan and Harry hit shelves

Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images


Causing quite the stir, an unauthorised book about Meghan and Harry's relationship, Finding Freedom, was published 11 August. Authors Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie wrote about everything from the table names the couple used at their wedding, to their first date. They say that while Meghan and Harry did not contribute to the book directly, they had great access to sources close to the couple.

September: Harry and Meghan threw shade at Trump

Photo credit: Twitter
Photo credit: Twitter


As per royal rules, members of the Windsor clan aren't allowed to comment on anything political – so it was pretty major when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle subtly shaded President Donald Trump in the run-up to the US election. "Every four years we are told the same thing: that this is the most important election of our lifetime," Meghan said in a video filmed in her back garden, as part of her and Harry making the TIME 100 list of highly influential people. She then pauses for effect, before adding, "But this one is." Harry also added that it was time to reject hate speech and misinformation. Trump later retaliated by saying of Meghan: "I'm not a fan of hers. I wish a lot of luck to Harry, because he's going to need it." The couple also signed their big numbers Netflix deal this month, too.

September: Princess Eugenie announced her pregnancy

Hurrah! This lovely news was shared with the world on 25 September via social media by the official Royal Family Instagram account, with a post that read: "Her Royal Highness Princess Eugenie and Mr Jack Brooksbank are very pleased to announce that they are expecting a baby in early 2021." The princess later shared a more personal note on her own social media profile by uploading a photo of some diddy baby slippers, with the caption "Jack and I are so excited for early 2021....👶🏻 ".

October: Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis chatted to David Attenborough


As part of the promotion for Prince William's ITV documentary, Prince William: A Planet For Us All, all about how we can pull together and tackle environmental issues, fans were treated to a rare video of his three royal offspring, George, Charlotte and Louis. The trio met one of their big heroes – Sir David Attenborough – and asked him questions about animals. It was the first time many heard Prince Louis speak, too. Adorable!

November: Meghan Markle bravely opened up about her miscarriage

Photo credit: Pool/Samir Hussein - Getty Images
Photo credit: Pool/Samir Hussein - Getty Images


Speaking candidly on issues she cares about, from racism to women's rights, has always been a passion of the Duchess of Sussex, and in November she bravely shared her story of miscarrying a child in an effort to help others feel less alone. Writing in a moving essay, Meghan said that she and Harry suffered "unbearable grief" following the loss. Her decision to discuss the experience publicly was praised by baby loss awareness charity, Tommy's, who also offer support to parents. They said: "Mothers like Meghan sharing their stories is a vital step in breaking down that stigma and shame."

November: Charles and Camilla vs The Crown fans

Photo credit: Samir Hussein - Getty Images
Photo credit: Samir Hussein - Getty Images


The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall decided to shut off all responses to their Twitter account after viewers tuned into season four of The Crown, which focussed on Charles and Diana's marriage (and Charles and Camilla's friendship-slash-relationship). The Prince doesn't come off *amazingly* well in the show and some social media users let their feelings be known about it over on Instagram, namely in the form of multiple "Justice for Lady Di!" comments. Crikey.

December: Prince William and Kate Middleton took a train tour

Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images

In an attempt to boost the nation's spirits ahead of Christmas, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge embarked on a three-day train tour around England, Scotland and Wales, during which they also paid thanks to transport and frontline workers for their efforts throughout the pandemic. Oh, and Kate was spotted having a little boogie to a certain Christmas classic at London's Euston station.

The latest issue of Cosmopolitan UK is out now and you can SUBSCRIBE HERE.

Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

You Might Also Like