Princess Eugenie has the most awkward position in the royal family
Princess Eugenie of Awk! Popular mother-to-be has THE most tricky position in the royal family thanks to a LOT of conflicting loyalties
- FEMAIL looks at how Princess Eugenie of York navigates her tricky loyalties
- READ MORE: Princess Eugenie hails the Coronation concert a roaring success
When there’s a family falling out, there’s always at least one person caught in the middle and in the case of the royals, it seems to be Princess Eugenie who’s trapped between the warring factions of the Windsors.
Thanks to her diplomatic nature, the 33-year-old, who is pregnant with her second child, is in the centre of a tricky web of loyalties.
Prince Andrew’s daughter is known to be an ally of Prince Harry – who sensationally widened the rift with his family in a tell-all memoir, Spare, and a series of public interviews earlier this year.
Her husband Jack Brooksbank even enjoys a ‘bromance’ with the Duke of Sussex, 38, who made a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance at his father’s Coronation on Saturday.
However, that didn’t stop her dad Prince Andrew facing criticism in his nephew’s biography Spare, where Harry referenced his uncle’s fall from grace due to his friendship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein a ‘shameful’ episode.
Princess Eugenie is caught between the warring factions of the Windsors because of her close relationships with so many family members
Moreover, Eugenie’s mother Sarah Ferguson has in recent months, while promoting her latest book, made thinly-veiled barbs at Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, hinting they can’t ‘have it both ways’ when it comes to being a part of the royal circle.
Not only is Eugenie close to Harry but she also enjoys a friendship with his wife Meghan, that pre-dates the Suits star meeting the royal.
Then there’s the matter of Queen Camilla, and future Queen Kate, who Eugenie must show due deference to as senior royals.
But Kate has famously fallen out with Eugenie’s close pal Meghan, and on top of all that – one of Eugenie’s colleagues at Hasuer & Wirth is the niece of Queen Camilla; who Harry compared to a ‘wicked step mother’ in Spare.
Here, FEMAIL takes a look at the tricky balancing act Eugenie has to play…
PRINCE HARRY VERSUS THE ROYALS
While Prince Harry has invited his fair share of criticism following ‘Megxit’ and the resulting rifts which followed – marked by explosive interviews and a tell-all memoir – Eugenie has been fiercely loyal to her cousin.
Despite being born five years apart, Harry and Eugenie often spent time together as children thanks to the friendship between their mothers Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson, who would pack up the children for joint family holidays.
Eugenie was the only member of the Royal Family to feature in personal photos shared in Harry and Meghan’s Netflix documentary released last year in a testament to their closeness.
One sweet snap of Andrew’s daughter in the second episode shows the pair out for a bike ride along a palm tree-lined stretch of pavement in California.
Princess Eugenie (pictured last year) is a royal fan-favourite because of her ability to walk the line between refreshingly modern and undoubtedly traditional. But could her diplomatic nature land her in a tricky web of loyalties?
The programme also featured previously unseen photographs of the Duke and his wife partying with Eugenie and Jack on Halloween.
Eugenie was also the first member of the Royal Family to publicly visit Harry in California, two years after he quit senior duties.
The Duchess of Sussex, 41, is also said to be close to Eugenie, having been introduced to her before she had even met her royal beau, through their mutual friend Misha Nonoo.
Meghan previously revealed how she and Harry hit the town incognito in Halloween costumes with his cousin and her partner for a final night out before their relationship was revealed on the Ellen DeGeneres show.
And in the first episode of the Harry & Meghan series on Netflix, the couple shared a number of photographs from the big night out.
In one snap, Meghan and Harry can be seen crowding in for a photograph with Eugenie and Jack, as well as another friend, Markus Anderson who is the global membership director for Soho House.
Eugenie was even the only member of the Royal Family to feature in personal photos shared in Harry and Meghan’s Netflix documentary released last year. The couple pictured in 2018
Eugenie and Harry were also spotted chatting up a storm at last weekend’s Coronation – an undeniably tense affair for the Duke of Sussex
A photo of Jack and Harry at their seats seems to show them enjoying a conversation during the ceremony
Eugenie and Harry were also spotted chatting up a storm at last weekend’s Coronation – an undeniably tense affair for the Duke of Sussex.
Royal experts predicted that Prince Harry might have a lonely time at his father’s big day, with members of The Firm choosing not to speak with him.
However, as photos from the event show, Harry, who attended without his wife, had at least one good friend on hand.
Images from the proceedings show Harry beaming, as he appeared to share a joke with Eugenie’s husband as they stood outside the Abbey.
Meanwhile, when inside, Harry was seated in the third row between Jack and Princess Alexandra, the cousin of the late Queen who has not worked as a royal for 10 years.
Harry’s friendship with Jack could be a result of the bond he shares with Eugenie, which is said to be very close
They were joined by Eugenie and her sister Beatrice, 34, as well as her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.
A photo of Jack and Harry at their seats also seems to show them enjoying a conversation.
And a lip reader claimed that Harry even moaned he was ‘fed up with the way they treat me’ as he chatted to Jack.
It was not clear who was the target of his ‘fed up’ complaint, although there has been speculation he could have been speaking about the Royal Family, following ongoing tensions over his decision to quit as a working royal and publish a highly critical memoir.
Speaking of his friendship with Jack in the aforementioned book, Harry said that he and Meghan were ‘deliriously happy’ when he and Eugenie when they got married – adding ‘and for ourselves, selfishly, since Jack was one of our favorite people’.
In addition, Eugenie and Jack have spent time living in the Sussexes’ Windsor home, Frogmore House, with their two-year-old son August.
The Duke has also confirmed that he and Meghan announced the Duchess’ first pregnancy at his cousin’s wedding.
STANDING BY HER FATHER
In his memoir Spare, Harry became the first royal to publicly criticise Prince Andrew – Eugenie’s father – labelling the Jeffrey Epstein affair ‘a shameful scandal’.
No one in ‘The Firm’ had spoken out about allegations that the Duke of York twice sexually assaulted Virginia Giuffre, who claimed she was trafficked by the late disgraced financier Epstein.
Andrew settled her lawsuit last year, accepting no liability, and has always denied any wrongdoing. But Harry brings up the affair in his book.
When Meghan asked if the Royal Family might cut their security after they quit Britain for North America, he said there was ‘no way’, considering his uncle still gets protection.
Writing Spare, Harry became the first royal to publicly criticise Prince Andrew (pictured at the Queen’s funeral) – Eugenie’s father – labelling the Jeffrey Epstein affair ‘a shameful scandal’
Harry told her there was an ‘obligation’ and an ‘implicit promise’ to protect them.
Pushed by Meghan if it would ever be removed, he said: ‘Never. Not in this climate of hate. And not after what happened to my mother.’
The Duke of Sussex adds: ‘Also, not in the wake of my Uncle Andrew.
‘Despite being embroiled in a shameful scandal, accused of sexually assaulting a young girl, no one had even suggested removing his security.
‘People have had plenty of reasons to complain about us, sex crimes weren’t one of them.’
It’s no surprise that the revelation may make the familial relationship a difficult one to navigate for Eugenie – with her mother having publicly declared her support for her ex-husband multiple times.
In March, the Sarah Ferguson praised her daughters for their hard work as she said the York family is a ‘supportive unit’.
Appearing on This Morning, the Duchess of York – often known by fans as ‘Fergie’ – doubled down on their togetherness.
The Duchess said she will always stick by her ex-husband just as he has always supported her.
She told presenters Holly Willoughby and Joel Dommett that the family ‘symbolises no judgment, kindness and moving forward’.
Fergie discussed the importance of ‘walking forward as a unit’ amid difficult times, and criticised the ‘sewer’ of social media for being unkind.
‘It’s Beatrice, Eugenie and I. We are a family unit,’ she said.
‘My girls stand for service, they stand for holding and maintaining very, very hard jobs and they’re mothers and they’re public figures and they do charity work.
She continued: ‘They’re extraordinary examples of princesses out in service, which is what their grandmother taught them and what I taught them, with humility.
‘So I think the York family’s unit symbolises no judgment, kindness and moving forward – to make people sit up and go “stop”.
‘Stop all this believing what you read… walk forward as a unit.’
Fergie added of Andrew: ‘Remember, I’ve been through difficult times and he’s always stood by me.’
FERGIE’S THINLY VEILED CRITICISMS
As the Coronation geared up, Eugenie’s mother Fergie said Royal Family members ‘can’t have it both ways’ if they choose to leave The Firm.
The Duchess of York spoke candidly in an interview amid speculation whether Harry and Meghan, who stepped down as senior members of the royal family, would attend the King’s coronation.
Speaking to The Independent, she opened up about her own experience of divorcing Andrew.
In the interview, in which she did not directly refer to Harry and Meghan, she said: ‘Well, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t sit on the fence and keep one foot in and one foot out. You’re either in or out.’
However, when asked directly about Prince Harry at the end of the interview with the Independent, she said she ‘doesn’t believe in judging anyone’ and asked for ‘a little more kindness.’
And later appearing on Loose Women, she repeated her comments – saying she didn’t expect an invite to the Coronation because ‘you can’t have it both ways’.
As the Coronation geared up, Eugenie’s mother Sarah Ferguson has said royal family members ‘can’t have it both ways’ if they choose to leave The Firm amid ongoing tensions with the Sussexes
Speaking to the Loose Women panelists, she revealed that her plans for the coronation were to ‘watch it on the telly’, having not received an invite.
‘I always love to watch it on telly because you hear a lot on telly, the commentator’s always good and then all the family come back,’ she explained.
‘Because remember I am divorced from him so I don’t expect… you can’t have it both ways. You can’t be divorced and say, “I want this”.’
KEEPING UP WITH THE FUTURE QUEEN
Meghan’s falling out with the Princess of Wales over Princess Charlotte’s bridesmaid dress in the run up to her wedding to Harry and comments over Kate’s ‘baby brain’ fuelled by ‘hormones’ have been well documented.
But despite the rift, Eugenie doesn’t appear to be taking sides – and was even seen enjoying a chat with William’s wife Kate, 41, at the Coronation concert on Sunday.
A @cambridgepower Twitter repost of an Instagram story by influencer Laura-Ann (@all.thats.pretty) zoomed in to show the pair in deep conversation as they got ready for the music.
‘Loads of messages about Eugenie and Catherine not interacting,’ the royal fan remarked. ‘Can report they definitely did!’
Despite the brotherly rift, Eugenie doesn’t appear to be taking sides – and was even seen enjoying a chat with Kate, 41, at the Coronation concert on Sunday
A @cambridgepower Twitter repost of an Instagram story by influencer Laura-Ann ( @all.thats.pretty) zoomed in to show the pair in deep conversation as they got ready for the music
Eugenie and her sister also showed their support for Kate as they arrived for her Christmas carol service at Westminster Abbey while Harry and Meghan’s Netflix documentary was being released.
In a post about the event on her social media, Eugenie shared a number of photos of herself and her husband, as well as snaps of the Princess, writing: ‘It was an honour to celebrate HM’s life at the Princess of Wales’ carol concert, Together at Christmas.’
In December, a royal expert even suggested that Eugenie’s diplomacy could be the key in healing Harry and Will’s disconnect.
The Princess ‘will be a comfort’ to the warring siblings as she is ‘keeping a foot in each camp’, Vanity Fair’s Katie Nicholl claimed.
Eugenie and her sister also showed their support for Kate as they arrived for her Christmas carol service at Westminster Abbey while Harry and Meghan’s Netflix documentary was being released
Princess Eugenie was all smiles as she walked into the Abbey with her husband Jack last December
She told Ok!: ‘Eugenie along with her mother has been able to have a foot in each camp and I think unlike the palace staff who had to put their stake in one team or another, Eugenie has managed to tow that line.’
She said she felt the two brothers likely ‘learnt something about the other’s lives’ from their cousin, adding this might be ‘something of a comfort’ to the men.
COLLEAGUES WITH CAMILLA’S NIECE
Awkward family connections is one thing – but things get even more complicated when work is involved.
But Eugenie faces further complication because she works with Ayesha Shand – Queen Camilla’s niece – at the Hauser & Wirth art gallery in Mayfair.
Ayesha, 28, is an Associate Director of special projects and Eugenie is a Director.
It perhaps makes for awkward water-cooler chat when one considers that the Princess’s favourite cousin once compared Ayesha’s aunt to a ‘wicked step mother’ in his memoir.
In Spare, he wrote of Camilla: ‘I have complex feelings about gaining a step-parent who I thought had recently sacrificed me on her personal PR altar.’
In Spare, he wrote of Queen Camilla: ‘I have complex feelings about gaining a step-parent who I thought had recently sacrificed me on her personal PR altar’
Ayesha (pictured in March 2022) attended the Coronation of her aunt and King Charles at Westminster Abbey, and was spotted on the live broadcast as she joked about her ‘five seconds of fame’
Harry also said that he and William had ‘begged’ their father not to marry Camilla because they feared she would become their ‘wicked stepmother’.
In another blow, Harry described Camilla as ‘dangerous’ and a ‘villain’ who left ‘bodies in the street’ in her desire to change the public’s perception of her.
Ayesha attended the Coronation of her aunt and King Charles at Westminster Abbey, and was spotted on the live broadcast as she joked about her ‘five seconds of fame’.
She is the daughter of 75-year-old Camilla’s late brother Mark Shand, who passed away in 2014 aged 62. Mark was a noted conservationist and author, and left the legacy of his own charity, Elephant Family.
Her mother is his ex-wife Clio Goldsmith, a French former model and actress who Mark married in 1990.
Ayesha was raised largely in Rome as an only child, with her father dashing back and forth between his travels. However, their family returned to London in 2008, with her parents divorcing in 2009, but remaining good friends.
She holds a master’s degree in the history of art from the University of Edinburgh.
Eugenie is as friendly with Meghan as she is with her cousin Harry – so it may make it even stranger that the Princess is also close pals with the Duke’s one-time-rumoured romance Ellie Goulding.
Prince Andrew’s daughters were earlier this month spotted on a star-studded day out in London as they took their children to the pop-star’s son Arthur’s birthday.
Beatrice and heavily pregnant Eugenie took Sienna Mapelli Mozzi and August Brooksbank to the Bluebird Cafe in Chelsea on Monday as the son of Ellie Goulding and Caspar Jopling turned two, Hello! reports.
The sisters are long-time friends of 36-year-old pop singer Ellie, who attended Eugenie’s wedding in 2018 and has even holidayed with the sisters over the years.
It was a family affair as the royals were joined by their husbands, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, 37, and Jack – and the brothers-in-law even coordinated their outfits to attend the birthday.
Meanwhile, a gushing Ellie was also seen enjoying a chat with the Prince and Princess of Wales at the Earthshot Prize in Boston last December
Prince William talked with Ellie Goulding backstage after The Earthshot Prize 2022, in Boston, Massachusetts
In 2016, the then freshly single Duke had split with ex-girlfriend Cressida Bonas and was spotted getting very close to Ellie at the Audi Polo challenge in Coworth Park, Berkshire.
Onlookers said the pair were ‘all over each other’ and one even claimed they appeared to share a kiss under a blanket.
The insider, who is close to Harry’s social circles, said that after the polo there was a late night party where picture-taking was banned to put the celebrities at ease.
‘Harry was really going for it after the polo – he was drinking and dancing,’ the source told The Sun.
‘They were part of a wider group including Tom Hardy but Harry and Ellie only had eyes for each other all night – they spent a lot of time sitting together under blankets.
‘They were seen having a kiss before Harry had to go because he was playing polo the next day. Ellie left about five minutes later.’
Meanwhile, a gushing Ellie was also seen enjoying a chat with the Prince and Princess of Wales at the Earthshot Prize in Boston last December.
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