Queen names ‘New Firm’ of just eight senior royals to attend events from 2021

The Queen has finalised the new, slimmed down lineup of "The Firm" with just eight senior royals to attend events from 2021.

The group was pictured together for the first time this week at the end of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's tour of the UK.

Eight members of the Royal Family gathered on the steps of the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle, where Her Majesty has been isolating since March, Mirror Online reports.

Prince William and Kate stood with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Princess Anne and, of course, the Queen.

Notably absent were Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Prince Andrew. The Duke of Edinburgh was also not present after the 99-year-old retired from his role in 2017.

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Courtiers have been told to plan events for the eight senior members, unofficially dubbed the "New Firm", the report adds.

The collective will work together and help highlight each other's causes as they aim to get back to full duties "as soon as possible".

The arrangement fits with Prince Charles's long term vision of a slimmed down monarchy as well as the Queen's mantra of "one must be seen to be believed"

Courtiers are said to be "excited" about the prospect of arranging more dual events with the senior members of the royal family as they look to hit the ground running once again as soon as possible.

Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, who has become more prominent throughout the coronavirus crisis, appeared at joint video call engagements with the Queen and Duchess of Cambridge this summer.

Royal sources insist the "dedicated and hard working" royal is "always busy" but has largely operated behind the scenes.

Insiders dubbed her "the royal family's secret weapon" during the coronavirus crisis, quietly steadying the ship after a tumultuous period for The Firm.

In the wake of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex quitting their royal roles to set up home in the United States earlier this year, the Queen appealed for calm and the return of a "back to basics" attitude among the family.

Similarly when Prince Andrew was banished from front line duties owing to his relationship with the late paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein, the monarch stressed to the family the importance of the central theme of the monarchy – duty.

A royal source told the Mirror: "The family are united in exploring the possibilities in working with each other to highlight the causes dear to their hearts, helping each other and the country at the same time.

"They are working on opportunities for next year and beyond already. As soon as they are able it will be all hands on deck to make up for lost time.

"The Queen has often said they 'need to be seen to be believed' – this is coming from the very top."

Prince William has already made considerable headway this year in the environmental arena with his Earthshot programme, something Charles has campaigned on for half a century.

Sources have revealed the two heirs are also exploring ways to work together in the future.

A palace source said: "It is clear there is a desire to return to normal when possible."

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