Princess Eugenie is preparing to take her place in the spotlight following Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex’s departure from the Royal Family.
According to royal expert and our sister publication Woman’s royal columnist Duncan Larcombe, ‘The departure of Harry and Meghan and the ongoing Prince Andrew scandal has placed further demands on Eugenie and her sister to step up to the plate.’
While initially the Sussexes’ bold decision to step down as senior royals was agreed by the Queen as a one-year agreement in order to assess the ‘period of transition’, it’s looking more and more likely that the couple will not give up their life in America to return to the royal fold.
A royal baby
Now she’s expecting, Princess Eugenie is giving the family a much-needed boost this year in the form of 2021’s first royal baby. So it’s perhaps no surprise that the 30-year-old is said to be preparing to utilise the new-found interest in her to carve out a more substantial role in the Royal Family, in the wake of Meghan’s departure.
Since marrying into the Firm, Meghan has dominated headlines and there hasn’t been much room for anyone else to shine. But now, with the Sussexes settled into their Santa Barbara mansion – and juggling rumoured Spotify and Netflix deals – it seems doubtful that the couple will return to the UK.
Royal expert Roya Nikkhah agrees, ‘With three months left on the trial calendar, the Sussexes seem unlikely to swap the manicured estates of Montecito for Frogmore Cottage, Windsor.’
A helping hand
With Her Majesty the Queen expected to be winding down the duties she’ll partake in now she’s 94, she’s looking to her granddaughters for support in the coming years.
Duncan tells us, ‘There has been a year-on-year reduction for the Queen and that’s only set to continue, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic rattles on into 2021.’
As it currently stands, Prince Andrew’s two daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, are not considered senior working royals and do not carry out royal duties full-time on behalf of the Queen. But that could all be set to change. Duncan adds,
‘There are huge gaps in the royal diary and sources say Princess Eugenie may even have to cut short the traditional six months [of] maternity leave to support her grandmother.’
Eugenie had a taste of life as a working royal during the pandemic, when she undertook several engagements in lieu of many of the older royals, who were either shielding or vulnerable. Plus, she proved popular among those she visited, with fans branding her a ‘great role model’ and a ‘ray of light’ during a difficult year.
And her star is only set to rise, according to Duncan. ‘A royal baby is always welcomed by the public and Eugenie is seen as both popular and a safe pair of hands.’
Doing it her way
Despite the arguably difficult timing of the birth of Princess Eugenie’s first child – coinciding with her father Prince Andrew’s ongoing involvement with the Jeffrey Epstein case – Eugenie is resolute in doing things her way, and that includes holding a private christening.
Duncan explains, ‘It’s unfortunate for Eugenie – and I think when it comes to the christening, maybe Harry and Meghan have set a precedent now where they can just release their own photographs, and also all eyes will be on Prince Andrew.’
And that’s not the only royal tradition Eugenie is considering snubbing, as she will reportedly politely decline a royal title for her baby if it is offered by the Queen. An insider reveals, ‘Eugenie knows that a title can be a curse as well as a blessing, and she and Jack want their child to live an ordinary life and eventually work to earn a living.’
Following in Meghan’s footsteps?
While in some circumstances it appears Eugenie has followed in Meghan’s footsteps – by briefly moving into Frogmore Cottage, and with her plans to host a private christening – now it seems she’s keen to let Meghan take a back seat.
It’s no secret among palace insiders that Meghan put Eugenie’s ‘nose out of joint’ when she ‘overshadowed’ her 2018 wedding to Jack Brooksbank by allegedly choosing to share her pregnancy news. According to royal authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, the decision ‘did not go down particularly well’ with Eugenie.
Well, now it’s Eugenie’s time to reclaim that spotlight…