By Mary H.J. Farrell
Updated January 27, 1992 12:00 PM


Ribbon cuttings, tree plantings, close encounters with nearly naked natives: Oh, what the Windsors do to earn their royal wages. Tim O’Donovan, 59, a devoted monarchist who keeps track of such things, has just released his-tally of royal engagements in 1991. And the Windsor is: Princess Anne, with an amazing 745 (or slightly more dates than Wilt Chamberlain claims in an average year). Next come Prince Philip (587), Queen Elizabeth II (581), Prince Charles (460), Princess Diana (397), Prince Edward (251), the Duchess of York (213), Prince Andrew (107) and Princess Margaret (103). Even the Queen Mum, at 91, kept pace with 102 engagements.


There she goes again. When Fergie left her 2-month-old daughter Bea to follow Prince Andrew on a six-week trip to Australia in 1988, the British press questioned her maternal fitness. The had press hasn’t stopped. During the Christmas holidays, Fleet Street scolded Fergie for letting daughter Eugenie, 22 months, ride a pony without wearing protective headgear. Now the tabs are riding the Duchess for taking Bea, 3, on a family ski holiday to Switzerland—even though the tot was dotted with chicken pox at the time. While the Yorklet skied, London doctors debated the wisdom of exposing a recuperating child to the cold. The Daily Star’s Carole Malone took a stern view of Fergie videotaping Bea in ski school: “In years to come, the videotape might remind the Duchess just how stupid and selfish she can be.”


For many royals, the holiday break was just that. While fox hunting near her Gloucestershire home, Princess Michael of Kent took a tumble and broke her nose. Two days later her daughter, Lady Gabriella Windsor, 10, suffered a serious leg fracture when another skier plowed into her on the slopes in Klosters, Switzerland. Also on the wrong end of a skiing collision was Spain’s King Juan Carlos, who fractured his right kneecap in the Pyrenees on Dec. 28 and was hospitalized. “This could have happened to anyone,” said His Horizontalness. “The danger is not skiing but skiers.”