The Royal Family's Most Unforgettable Moments from 2021

From the highs (royal babies!) to the lows (Prince Philip's funeral), 2021 was a momentous year for Queen Elizabeth and the royal family

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth. Photo: Arthur Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty
01 of 24

Princess Eugenie welcomed the first royal baby of the year (there were lots of new additions!) in February. She and husband Jack Brooksbank introduced their son August Philip Hawke, a great-grandson of Queen Elizabeth, to the world in a modern way: on Instagram!

02 of 24

After previously opening up about experiencing a miscarriage in 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made a special announcement on Valentine's Day: they were having a baby! They welcomed their daughter Lilibet Diana on June 4.

03 of 24
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during their interview with Oprah Winfrey. Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions

Meghan and Prince Harry sat down with Oprah Winfrey in an interview that aired in early March, where they addressed why they stepped back as working royals — including claims of racism and Meghan's mental health battle.

04 of 24
Duke of Edinburgh funeral
Queen Elizabeth sits alone at Prince Philip's funeral. PA

Prince Philip died in April at age 99 after 73 years of marriage to Queen Elizabeth. Due to the scaled-down nature of the funeral due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Queen sat alone at St. George's Chapel during the ceremony — resulting in one of the most poignant photos of the year.

05 of 24

The royal family shared a number of never-before-seen photos of Prince Philip following his death, including this sweet shot of the royal couple surrounded by their great-grandchildren.

06 of 24

Prince William and Kate Middleton celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary in April by releasing new portraits, including a cuddly shot that's reminiscent of their engagement photos.

07 of 24

In addition to the portraits, Kate and Prince William shared a sweet video showing life at home with their three children, from climbing the sand dunes at the beach in Norfolk to roasting marshmallows over the fire.

08 of 24

Prince William and Kate paid tribute to Prince Philip during their tour of Scotland in May, rolling up to a drive-in movie night at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in a a 2A Land Rover from 1966 that once belonged to William's grandfather.

09 of 24

Both William and Kate shared photos of themselves receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in the spring.

10 of 24
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive for a drinks reception for Queen Elizabeth II and G7 leaders at The Eden Project during the G7 Summit on June 11, 2021 in St Austell, Cornwall, England
Prince Charles, Camilla, Queen Elizabeth, Prince William and Kate Middleton. Jack Hill - WPA Pool / Getty

Queen Elizabeth and her core four — Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince William and Kate — met with world leaders at the G-7 Summit in June.

11 of 24
Princess Diana Statue
Prince William and Prince Harry. Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty

Brothers Prince William and Prince Harry reunited in July to unveil a statue of their mother Princess Diana in the gardens of Kensington Palace. They said in a joint statement, "Every day, we wish she were still with us, and our hope is that this statue will be seen forever as a symbol of her life and her legacy."

12 of 24
Prince William and Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton, Prince George and Prince William. Frank Augstein/Pool/Getty

Prince George looked all grown up in a suit and tie (matching with dad!) to cheer on England all the way to the finals in the Euro2020 tournament.

13 of 24

Prince William and Kate shared an adorable photo of daughter Princess Charlotte sweetly holding a butterfly in honor of the Big Butterfly Count initiative taking place across the U.K. in August.

14 of 24
Global Citizen Live, New York - Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty

Meghan and Prince Harry traveled to New York City in September, topping the trip off with an appearance at Global Citizen Live in Central Park, where they spoke out about the world's need for COVID-19 vaccine equity.

15 of 24

Princess Beatrice and husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi expanded their family in September, welcoming a daughter named Sienna Elizabeth.

16 of 24
Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth. Arthur Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty

Queen Elizabeth stepped out in October with a new accessory: a walking cane. The monarch used a walking stick for the first time in public since 2003, when she used a cane while she was recovering from a knee surgery.

17 of 24
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, attend the "No Time To Die" World Premiere at Royal Albert Hall on September 28, 2021 in London
Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles at the premiere of No Time to Die in September 2021. Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty

Kate (in a glittering gold cape dress), Prince William, Camilla and Prince Charles stole the show on the red carpet for the premiere of the latest James Bond movie, No Time to Die.

18 of 24

In perhaps the most "aww"-worthy royal outing of the year, Sophie, Countess of Wessex was kissed, cuddled, and nibbled on by puppies during a November visit to the Guide Dogs National Centre.

19 of 24
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend the Earthshot Prize 2021 at Alexandra Palace on October 17, 2021 in London, England.
Prince William and Kate Middleton. Samir Hussein/WireImage

Prince William hosted his inaugural Earthshot Prize Awards in October with his wife by his side. Following the sustainability theme, they both rewore formal ensembles from their closets.

20 of 24
Meghan Markle on Ellen
Ellen DeGeneres and Meghan Markle. Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

Meghan appeared on pal Ellen DeGeneres' talk show in November, sharing details about her life in California — including that baby Lili was teething!

21 of 24

Keeping with tradition, Prince William and Kate shared a new family portrait for their Christmas card in December. They snapped the shot during a private family vacation to Jordan earlier in the year.

22 of 24

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall chose a timely photo for their Christmas card — one that will make it clear exactly what year it was. In the shot from Royal Ascot, Prince Charles sports a mask while helping Camilla with her face covering.

23 of 24
Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's Family Holiday Card
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's 2021 holiday card with Archie and Lilibet. Alexi Lubomirski

Prince Harry and Meghan released their first photo as a family of four for a special occasion: their 2021 holiday card! Lili and Archie steal the show in the shot by Alexi Lubomirski (the couple's official wedding photographer) this summer at the couple's home in Santa Barbara, California.

24 of 24
In this image released December 24, 2021, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge accompanies singer Tom Walker on the piano during a performance of his song 'For Those Who Can't Be Here' during Royal Carols - Together At Christmas, a Christmas carol concert hosted by the Duchess of Cambridge at Westminster Abbey in London on December 8, which was broadcast on Christmas Eve 2021.
Kate Middleton plays piano at Together At Christmas 2021. Alex Bramall/Kensington Palace via Getty

Kate didn't just host a Christmas carol concert —she performed in it! The Duchess of Cambridge wowed viewers in the Christmas Eve broadcast when she accompanied singer Tom Walker on the piano for his performance of "For Those Who Can't Be Here," surrounded by candles lighting up Westminster Abbey.

Related Articles