The York girls are coming in hot! Or whatever it is when you give a “rare interview” to British Vogue. Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie met with writer Ellie Pithers at the Royal Lodge in Windsor, an estate used by their father, the Duke of York. The result is a brief profile on what it means to grow up as not just royal, but royal women, with the added touch of a photograph draped in Dolce & Gabbana.
I’m getting the sense from the snippet shared online that the women are taking cues from their Wales cousins, who gave a series of candid interviews last year to support their Heads Together campaign and commemorate the 20th anniversary of their mother’s death. As you may recall, I was a big fan of William and Harry – and to a lesser extent, Kate – opening up a bit about their positions and work throughout 2017. So, it would stand to reason that I’m willing to extend that to Beatrice and Eugenie.
And I am, sort of. Beatrice and Eugenie are very close to their grandmother, the Queen, and by all reports they are lovely, gracious and well-mannered young women. They also have the distinct position of being the only women of their generation within the Royal Family to bear the HRH and title of princess. They have peers from other European monarchies, and within those countries those women (and men), are sometimes able to leverage their profile on behalf of work and charitable causes near and dear to their hearts, often with more freedom than their full-time royal counterparts possess. In theory, it makes for an interesting dynamic.
Occasionally Beatrice and Eugenie have made moves in that direction. Both carry out charity work and lend their name to banner events when appropriate. Both also hold jobs as private citizens, which essentially means that they don’t collect money from the privy purse or carry out engagements on behalf of the Queen. They do, however, turn up at a handful of public events as members of the RF. In other monarchies, this would perhaps have lent itself to firmer footing in the public eye, but the British Royal Family is an institution unto itself and its relationship with the British public is, for lack of a better word, complicated as compared to the rest of Europe thanks to formality, precedence and a little decade known as the ’90s.
As a result, popularity and warmth has never something Beatrice and Eugenie could fall back on. Much of this, in my opinion, has to do with their reputation for enjoying the finer things in life, and their mother. The former is perhaps unfair, and mostly concentrated on Beatrice, but it’s true that the House of Windsor has always marketed itself as decidedly unflashy. It’s a theme Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York have repeatedly deviated from, and so a disdain for them often wafts down to their daughters, the eldest of whom is known to enjoy a vacation or 12. Their presence on step and repeats, compared with the repeated insistence of William and Kate for privacy while holed up at Anmer Hall, just doesn’t quite jive.
So, the interview, which is framed as honoring the next milestone in a big royal year. Eugenie is set to marry Jack Brooksbank this October and Beatrice will turn 30 later this month.
On the wedding:
Indeed, Eugenie will need to channel her grandmother’s poise at her upcoming nuptials. “I’m not stressed at all,” she said, of her looming October 12 wedding date. “It’s very nerve-wracking because you want it to be perfect but then you realise that you’re going to be with the person you love forever and nothing else really matters.” In addition to compiling Pinterest boards of cakes, her wedding planning has been consumed by her mission to make her life plastic-free. “It’s been eye-opening,” she shares. “My whole house is anti-plastic now – and Jack and I want our wedding to be like that as well.”
On living in the public eye:
“It’s hard to navigate situations like these because there is no precedent, there is no protocol,” Beatrice explained, on a sunny day in June at Royal Lodge, the sisters’ childhood home in Windsor. “We are the first: we are young women trying to build careers and have personal lives, and we’re also princesses and doing all of this in the public eye.”
On garden party moments:
Princess Eugenie, who works at an art gallery, said she finally broke down while at a garden party at Buckingham Palace. She said: “There was a horrible article that had been written about Beatrice and she got really upset. We were just about to step out and she had a bit of a wobble and cried. I was looking after her. And then about an hour later, I had a wobble and started crying and Bea was there for me.”
With the spotlight on the young royals at an all-time high, the sisters admitted to occasionally feeling overwhelmed – especially when it comes to social media. Eugenie officially joined Instagram in March, but is not quite at ease posting pictures just yet. “It’s so easy to recoil when you see a perfect image, but it’s important that it’s real. We’re real,” she asserted.
On each other:
Their coping mechanism is each other; the two are exceptionally close, although they did admit to the odd cross word. “One of the biggest fights we ever had was about a pair of Converse trainers,” Beatrice joked. “We have the same size feet and both of us had identical pairs. One pair got trashed and the other sister may have swapped them.”
I think we are left with one haunting and very important question: Which sister stole the Converse?