Sunday 21 April 2019

Princess Eugenie is a breath of fresh air in the perfectly polished royal machine

Princess Eugenie visits the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital to open the new Stanmore Building, in London, Britain March 21, 2019. David Mirzoeff/ Pool via REUTERS
Princess Eugenie visits the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital to open the new Stanmore Building, in London, Britain March 21, 2019. David Mirzoeff/ Pool via REUTERS
Princess Eugenie of York during a visit to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital to open the new Stanmore Building on March 21, 2019 in Stanmore, Greater London. (Photo by David Mirzoeff - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Princess Eugenie of York and Jack Brooksbank arrive at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital to open the new Stanmore Building on March 21, 2019 in Stanmore, Greater London. (Photo by David Mirzoeff - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visits the New Zealand High Commission to sign a book of condolence on behalf of the Royal Family, in London, Britain March 19, 2019. Ian Vogler/Pool via REUTERS
Princess Eugenie of York and Jack Brooksbank during a visit to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital to open the new Stanmore Building on March 21, 2019 in Stanmore, Greater London. (Photo by David Mirzoeff - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
File photo dated 05/03/19 of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
(L-R) Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (L), talks with Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (R) as Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, stand by attending the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019
Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry the Duke of Sussex arrive at the residence of Moroccan King Mohammed VI in Rabat, Morocco February 25, 2019. Yui Mok/Pool via REUTERS
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive at a social entrepreneurs event and market at the Andalusian Gardens in Rabat on the third day of their tour of Morocco
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attend the Commonwealth Service on Commonwealth Day at Westminster Abbey on March 11, 2019 in London
In this handout image provided by the Royal Communications, Princess Eugenie and Mr Jack Brooksbank at Royal Lodge ahead of the private evening dinner, following their wedding on October 12, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Bramall/Royal Communications via Getty Images)
The Duchess of Cambridge strokes the Irish Guards mascot as she attends the St Patrick's Day parade at Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, to present shamrock to officers and guardsmen of 1st Battalion the Irish Guards
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge gestures on her arrival to visit the Foundling Museum, where young people are taught to use art in order to make a positive contribution to society, in central London on March 19, 2019. (Photo by Niklas HALLE'N / AFP)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visit open Bush House at King's College London, in London, Britain March 19, 2019. Paul Grover/Pool via REUTERS
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank (Ian West/PA)
Princess Eugenie and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attend a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on May 31, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Duchess of Cambridge present shamrock to officers and guardsmen of 1st Battalion the Irish Guards as she attends the St Patrick's Day parade at Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 17, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Cambridge. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Who could have foreseen that Britain’s Princess Eugenie would be seen as such a welcome breath of fresh air in the overly polished and well-oiled royal machine?

For years, Eugenie and her sister Beatrice have been cast aside as surplus next generation royals thanks at least in small part to Prince Charles’ tempestuous relationship with his brother, their father Prince Andrew.

In an attempt to tighten the royal purse strings, Charles spearheaded the decision to focus on his sons Prince Harry and Prince William and their children, and even now as Harry is moving down to sixth in line for the throne, things are changing once again. Eugenie, a 28-year-old newlywed, who works full-time as an art gallery director in London, made a rare official engagement on Thursday alongside her father at the opening of state of the art Stanmore Building at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH), a fitting pairing thanks to her role as an unofficial spokesperson for scoliosis.

And over the course of 24 hours, she has been universally praised just for being herself.

Princess Eugenie of York and Jack Brooksbank arrive at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital to open the new Stanmore Building on March 21, 2019 in Stanmore, Greater London. (Photo by David Mirzoeff - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Princess Eugenie of York and Jack Brooksbank arrive at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital to open the new Stanmore Building on March 21, 2019 in Stanmore, Greater London. (Photo by David Mirzoeff - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

She arrived to the venue in a cream tweed dress, just a little bit wrinkled, with a more relatable price tag at €295. She added the perfect amount of royal pizzazz in Chloé's Nile small bracelet bag (€1,350), and embraced a spring/summer essential in the form of a leather hairband. It evoked a sense of down-to-earth charm, relevance to her age group and most importantly, marked the next phase in her evolution from 2011’s royal wedding where she became a subject of ridicule for her fashion choices.

Over the years, she has pursued a more streamlined style, taking advantage of the freedoms afforded to her by her birth order instead of having to stick to the same uniform as the queen consorts-in waiting, wearing a custom hat with the words ‘Love’ emblazoned on it after getting engaged last May; a chic touch to an otherwise understated ensemble.

While her cousins’ families are being primed for central roles in Buckingham Palace and are constricted in pursuing their personal passions, she can enjoy the best of both worlds. Although she still lives a live of immense wealth and privilege, she works for a living and is happily married to former nightclub manager Jack Brooksbank.

She has largely escaped the criticism pointed at her sister Beatrice in recent years, for her career hopping and in 2015, when she was pictured on 15 different lavish holidays. Behind the scenes, Eugenie was quietly working and last year, she spent much of it focusing on wedding planning.

Her decision to showcase her scoliosis scar on her wedding day in October at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, a mere months after Meghan and Harry exchanged vows there, was one met with widespread praise. She walked the walk in the most permanent fashion, strategically posing so the focal point would remain on her back, a sort of coming out moment in which she could bury her insecurities of the past and elevate herself to a role model status.

Guests at her wedding fussed over the genuine love between she and Jack, who had been dating for seven years before he popped the question, and there were plenty of opportunities for comparisons to the Sussexes nuptials, there was an air of authenticity between the happy couple and their guests. Not to mention her jaw-dropping gold silk gold gown by Zac Posen which made just about every royal watcher sit up and take note.

Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry the Duke of Sussex arrive at the residence of Moroccan King Mohammed VI in Rabat, Morocco February 25, 2019. Yui Mok/Pool via REUTERS
Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry the Duke of Sussex arrive at the residence of Moroccan King Mohammed VI in Rabat, Morocco February 25, 2019. Yui Mok/Pool via REUTERS

Over the years, Eugenie and Beatrice’s place within the family has been at odds with the public’s perception of them: yes, they are millionaire princesses, but they have been pushed out of the family business. In 2011, their 24-hour personal protection was cut because of its €600,000 annual cost and they are now only granted Scotland Yard protection at events which they in an official capacity. Behind the scenes, Andrew sought for his daughters to pursue the gilded royal life full-time, but his mother Queen Elizabeth made it clear they should be educated and make their own professional pursuits, only supporting causes when required.

Cost is a huge factor when considering public perception outside palace gates and, as Eugenie isn’t a full-time working royal, the fact that the British taxpayer had to foot the €2.2m bill to cover the security for her wedding was met with widespread disdain only a fraction of the outrage of the cost for Harry’s €34m detail.

Over the years, Eugenie has grown more accustomed to her role and enjoys the benefits of her status without the downsides like an extensive invasion of privacy and public dissection that Kate and Meghan endure, while also enjoying cover shoots with Harper’s Bazaar and British Vogue. Not to mention, she's allowed to have an Instagram account.

It sounds like life is pretty grand for Eugenie.

In this handout image provided by the Royal Communications, Princess Eugenie and Mr Jack Brooksbank at Royal Lodge ahead of the private evening dinner, following their wedding on October 12, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Bramall/Royal Communications via Getty Images)
In this handout image provided by the Royal Communications, Princess Eugenie and Mr Jack Brooksbank at Royal Lodge ahead of the private evening dinner, following their wedding on October 12, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Bramall/Royal Communications via Getty Images)

Online Editors

Also in this section