They belong to a family that is the embodiment of privilege and power, holiday on billionaires’ yachts and hang out with A-listers at private members’ clubs. So perhaps Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie are not the most obvious candidates to elicit public sympathy for their lot in life.
Yet in an interview in the current issue of Vogue magazine, sympathy is precisely what the sisters, who are eighth and ninth in line to the throne, appear to expect.
Because they are not on the royal roster of official engagements — an omission said to have deeply disappointed their father, the Duke of York — neither is entitled to a taxpayer-funded salary, so they are pursuing careers instead. And, they claim, juggling their royal status with hectic jobs while living in the limelight is tough.
‘It’s hard to navigate situations like these because there is no precedent,’ said Princess Beatrice, the vice-president of a technology company, who celebrated her 30th birthday this week.
Her sister Eugenie, 28, the associate director of an art gallery who is soon to marry fiancé Jack Brooksbank, added: ‘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.’
So do they have a point or is this just a case of the ‘pity-me princesses’? ANTONIA HOYLE presents the evidence.
Eugenie, Sarah, Beatrice and Andrew before a masked ball at Windsor Castle in 2006
THANK GRANNY FOR THE TRUST FUND!
Despite the best efforts of their father, who is said to have asked the Queen to let his daughters undertake official royal duties — which would have allowed them to be paid from the public purse — the Duke’s request was denied.
Consequently, Beatrice and Eugenie receive no income from the Sovereign Grant, the government-funded £82.2 million that covers Royal Household salaries.
To add insult to injury, the princesses’ £500,000-a-year taxpayer-funded 24-hour police protection was withdrawn in 2011 to lower monarchy costs, much to the fury of Andrew, who reportedly feels his girls are being forgotten as William and Harry increasingly take centre stage.
Indeed, Eugenie, marrying at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle this October, was told she couldn’t have her wedding in September due to the ‘diary commitments’ of other royals that month.
Of course, neither princess is on the breadline. When their mother Sarah, Duchess of York, divorced Andrew in 1996, the Queen provided her with £1.4 million to set up a trust fund for their daughters, and the Duke agreed to pay for their private education at St George’s School in Ascot and Marlborough College in Wiltshire, at a cost of more than £400,000.
Totting up their various inheritances, the girls are thought to share an estimated net worth of about £3.6 million.
PALATIAL HOMES AT PEPPERCORN RENTS
For a decade Beatrice and Eugenie shared a four-bedroom apartment in St James’s Palace, refurbished in 2008 with £250,000 of taxpayers’ money. Yet although it has two reception rooms and a state-of-the art fitted kitchen, one royal official insisted it was a distinctly unpalatial ‘small set of attic rooms’.
As the girls are not on the royal payroll, they had to pay the Crown to live there — or, more accurately, their father did. It is estimated that the Duke pays a heavily discounted £20,000 in annual rent — a snip, given that similar properties in the area cost up to eight times as much.
This spring, Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, 32, moved into ultra-desirable three-bedroom, twostorey Ivy Cottage, in the grounds of Kensington Palace, for which rent is also charged.
The Duke, meanwhile, has reportedly decided not to carry on leasing the St James’s Palace property once Eugenie marries, leaving Beatrice, now based in New York, effectively out on her ear — although there is always Papa’s listed 30-room Royal Lodge mansion on the Windsor royal estate, should she be back in the UK and stuck for a bed for the night.
LOVE LIVES IN THE LIMELIGHT
After a somewhat mortifying arrival on the dating scene — when Beatrice was 16, her mother announced that she ‘longs’ to have a boyfriend and said the pair went ‘out on the pull together’ — Beatrice dated businessman Dave Clark, 33, for a decade.
Since the relationship ended in 2016, after Clark reportedly refused to marry Beatrice, she has been seen with fitness company boss James Williams and Sir David Frost’s TV actor son Wilfred, but appears to be currently single.
Eugenie will marry privately- educated Jack Brooksbank (below), a former bar manager and now tequila brand manager for George Clooney’s Casamigos company, in October. The couple met skiing in Verbier in 2011 and got engaged this January.
Jack has said it was ‘love at first sight’, while his 91-year-old grandmother Joanna has said that after meeting Eugenie she concluded that the princess is ‘just a very nice, ordinary girl’.
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank in the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace in London after they announced their engagement in January this year
NOT JUST TOKEN TOFFS AT WORK?
Too ‘real’ (as Beatrice described their personalities in Vogue magazine) to just lounge around on spa trips, both sisters appear determined to work for a living.
Art-loving Newcastle University graduate Eugenie spent two years in New York as a manager for online auction house Paddle8 before becoming an associate director at London art gallery Hauser & Wirth in 2015. Impressive achievements — but don’t ever say she gained her position at the tender age of 28 because she is a princess. ‘The reason I am in the art world is down to me, not because I have a title,’ she has said.
Beatrice, meanwhile, is Vice President of Partnerships and Strategy for the technology company Afiniti, in New York, having previously worked as a business development associate at Sony, the Japanese conglomerate.
Neither princess’s current salary has been disclosed, but given that Eugenie was on £25,000 a year at Paddle8 and in 2014 Beatrice earned £19,500 a year at Sony — both salaries below the national average — it is safe to assume the corporate world won’t necessarily pay over the odds just to have a princess on the payroll.
SISTERLY SUPPORT ON TAP
Although their parents separated when they were just two and four, Beatrice and Eugenie still benefit from a strong family unit. Sarah and Andrew, both 58, remain close — so much so, in fact, that Eugenie once described them as ‘the best divorced couple I know’.
The Duke has described himself as ‘completely overjoyed’ at his daughter’s engagement, while Sarah has tweeted of her ‘total joy’.
Both girls are also close to their ‘granny’ the Queen, and share a deep sibling bond.
‘We are each other’s rocks,’ says Eugenie, who has made Beatrice her maid of honour. ‘We’re the only person in each other’s lives who can know exactly what the other one is going through.’
NEVER-ENDING SKI BREAKS AND SUNSHINE HOLIDAYS
From idling off Ibiza on Roman Abramovich’s £300 million yacht to ski breaks at their parents’ £13 million Swiss chalet in Verbier — which has a swimming pool and six members of staff — the sisters have enjoyed years of luxurious holidays.
Between November 2014 and December 2016 they are believed to have taken 25 foreign trips between them. Their holidays have included breaks in Spain, Abu Dhabi, California and the Bahamas, a visit to Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island and (another) sojourn courtesy of Roman Abramovich at his £39 million home in St Barts.
Eugenie reportedly took 25 days off in the first ten weeks of one new job — a holiday allowance few would get away with. Eugenie said: ‘My boss is lovely and he understands very much when I want to take an afternoon off or go away with family.’
Sarah Ferguson is pictured in Saint-Tropez, France, with her daughters in August 2005
CHARITY WORK AND FAMILY VALUES
As well as their full-time day jobs, both young women support several altruistic endeavours.
Having had dyslexia diagnosed when she was seven, Beatrice aligns herself with youth-orientated educational organisations such as the Be Cool, Be Nice campaign against cyberbullying.
Eugenie, who was born with scoliosis — curvature of the spine — for which she had surgery at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital at the age of 12, now promotes the hospital’s Redevelopment Appeal.
Actively involved in the charities of which they are patrons (a total of 17 between them, according to their father’s website), they attend events and fundraisers after work most evenings, which can mean struggling with chaotic schedules.
Perhaps this drive to do good reflects the fact that their presence at official royal functions is rarely required.
Beatrice was said to be disappointed that her offer to help during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 was met with silence, with neither she nor Eugenie given a significant role.
Undeterred by the snub, Eugenie says the sisters are determined ‘to support Granny and Grandpa in any way we can, because that is what family is for’.
FREAKY FASHIONS ARE IN THE PAST
Shapeless coats. Hideous headwear. Gaudy floral frocks. The sisters have long been subjected to criticism for their choice of clothes — culminating, perhaps, in the outlandish Philip Treacy hat Beatrice wore to William and Kate’s wedding in 2011, which was variously compared to a toilet and a pretzel.
Both princesses admit the criticism has stung, yet their status and family wealth has afforded them as much sartorial privilege as ridicule.
For a start, it meant Beatrice could afford to hire stylist Charlie Anderson — Tatler magazine’s former fashion editor, who has also dressed the actresses Emma Watson and Anne Hathaway — in 2011 at a cost of £1,500 a day, sending her image on an upward trajectory.
In May she donned a much-lauded custom-made violet Alberta Ferretti gown after wangling an invitation to the exclusive Met Gala fundraiser in New York — a feat of which most fashion-loving women can only dream.
This January, Eugenie garnered widespread praise for the stylish £1,288 black satin dress by British designer Erdem that she wore to announce her engagement.
ROMAN, OPRAH AND MORE A-LIST CHUMS
From the beautiful and talented to the eye-wateringly wealthy, it appears there are few celebrities the princesses don’t have on speed dial. Eugenie’s best friend is Harry’s ex Cressida Bonas (it was she who introduced the pair).
She is also close to supermodel Cara Delevingne and pop star Ellie Goulding, and describes artist Tracey Emin, whom she met while working in New York, as her ‘guardian angel’.
Holly Branson — daughter of Sir Richard — regularly accompanies both girls on the London party circuit, as does Sofia Wellesley, granddaughter of the eighth Duke of Wellington and wife of the singer James Blunt.
Beatrice has been on holiday with supermodel Karlie Kloss in Jordan, hung out with presenter Alexa Chung at Coachella music festival in California, and, like her sister and mother, befriended the American chat-show host Oprah Winfrey.
She has also been invited to spend holidays on board the yacht of businessman Roman Abramovich — a man who, with an estimated £9 billion in the bank, makes the Queen look something of a pauper.
ONLY THE BEST FOR THESE GYM BUNNIES
The sisters share a laid-back approach to looking good, but it doesn’t come cheap. Eugenie uses Charlotte Tilbury mascara (around £25) and Bobbi Brown bronzer (£30), and has approached celebrity stylist Ben Skervin, who has worked with Madonna and the actress Keira Knightley, to do her wedding hair.
A keep-fit enthusiast, when she is not doing circuit training in the park at 7am, Eugenie works out at the exclusive Grace Belgravia gym, where annual membership costs £5,500 and the joining fee is £2,000.
Beatrice, the first royal to complete the London Marathon in 2010, employed £65-an-hour personal trainer Nadya Fairweather to help her shed 2st with a combination of boxing and squats in the park.