14 Things You Didn’t Know About Princess Eugenie
In the second royal wedding of 2018, Princess Eugenie is tying the knot on Oct. 12. But who is she, exactly? Read on to learn all about this lesser-known member of the royal family.
She doesn’t like being called “Princess”
Ready for a lesson in the royal family tree? Queen Elizabeth II has four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward. Charles had two boys, and Edward and Anne declined to give their children royal titles. So Andrew’s two daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, are the only princesses among Queen Elizabeth’s grandchildren. But, Eugenie doesn’t flaunt her princess status. “I don’t like talking about it much and find it annoying when people say things like, ‘Oh, you’re the princess,’” she told The Telegraph. “One of my best friends jokingly says, ‘Hi, Princess,’ and I say, ‘Shut up.’ It is one of the things that bugs me most in the world.”
She doesn’t work for the Queen
Although it’s unlikely she’d ever wear the crown, Eugenie is high up in the royal ranks at ninth in line to the throne, behind Prince Charles, Prince William, his three children, Prince Harry, Prince Andrew, and her older sister, Princess Beatrice. Even so, she’s not a “working royal”—she performs no official royal duties on behalf of the Queen and isn’t supported financially by the royal family. But Eugenie does now live in the same compound as many other royals, on the grounds of the Kensington Palace estate in London. She and her fiancé, Jack Brooksbank, moved into Ivy Cottage, near William and Harry’s residences, last spring.
Everyone pronounces her name wrong
In America, we would probably call her “eu-GEN-ie”—but to pronounce her name properly, the emphasis should be on the first syllable, “EU-gen-ie.” Plus, the “g” is more of an “sh” sound, so her name sounds soft and lyrical. “Whenever we used to meet foreign people who were struggling with it, my mum and I would help them by saying, ‘It’s like Use Your Knees,’” she told The Telegraph. “But whatever. I am now used to every pronunciation.” Her sister and her fiancé call her by her nickname, “Euge.”
She has a passion for art
Because she doesn’t work in service to the Queen, Princess Eugenie has her own job: She’s a director at the London art gallery Hauser and Wirth. “I’ve loved art since I was very little—I knew I definitely wouldn’t be a painter, but I knew this was the industry for me,” Eugenie told Harper’s Bazaar. “I love being able to share my passion for art with people. If someone doesn’t understand something, you have the ability to suggest, ‘Maybe you can look at it this way.’ That’s what I find most thrilling about working in a gallery.”
She’s super close to her mom and sister
Eugenie’s mother, Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson, Duchess of York, divorced Prince Andrew in 1996, but the family has remained close, especially the three women. “Mummy, Bea, and I call ourselves ‘the Tripod’—they are my best friends in the world,” Eugenie told The Telegraph. She also told Harper’s Bazaar she can’t live without her mum. “I wouldn’t be able to make tough decisions without her,” she says. “And my sister. My mum always says that we’re the only ones who know exactly what’s going on in each other’s lives.” (Sarah Ferguson is also close with Prince Charles’ wife, Camilla!)
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But she fights with Beatrice, too
Eugenie does admit to having the odd sibling squabble. “We had a screaming argument over a pair of Converse trainers [sneakers] that I took back, which she said were hers and I said were mine,” she told The Telegraph. “Like all sisters, we have silly arguments about unimportant stuff, but we do love each other to death.” Although Eugenie says they get along “fantastically well,” the princesses do have different personalities. “I am definitely not as polite as Beatrice—I tell it like it is,” she says. But, “I am shyer at first. Like, at a party I will say to Beatrice as we go in, ‘Oh, you go first.’ But then, when we’re actually in, I am much louder and she is far more polite.”
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Family is very important to her
Along with her immediate family, Eugenie is close with her cousins and grandparents. And although she doesn’t attend royal events in an official capacity, she often comes along in a show of solidarity. “We [she and Beatrice] try to support Granny and Grandpa in any way we can because that is what family is for,” Eugenie told Harper’s Bazaar. She remembers the private moments too, such as how happy her “Granny” is to be surrounded by her family at Christmas time. Queen Elizabeth was even one of the first people Eugenie told about her engagement. “Granny actually knew right at the beginning—she was one of very few people,” Eugenie said in her engagement interview. “She was very happy, as was my grandfather.”
She bonded with Meghan
Eugenie also reportedly gets along really well with her cousin Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan. According to biographer Andrew Morton’s new book, Meghan: A Hollywood Princess, the two women have bonded “over a shared love of art, dogs, and late-night macaroni suppers.” It’s convenient then, that they are now neighbours at Kensington Palace! Eugenie and Meghan also have similar style: They’ve even been spotted wearing the same shoes.
Her dog and fiancé have the same name
Like Meghan, Eugenie loves her furry friends. “I couldn’t live without my doggies,” Eugenie told Harper’s Bazaar. Her dogs actually rank right up there with her fiancé: When asked about her first conversation in the morning, she says, “It’s with my boyfriend, Jack…or it’s my doggie Jack—yes, my boyfriend and my dog have the same name—total accident!” Her father, Prince Andrew, once used this coincidence to play a joke on Eugenie’s unsuspecting fiancé when he sat near Jack the dog. “[Andrew] goes ‘Jack, get off that chair!’” Eugenie’s mother, Sarah, told the BBC’s The One Show. “So Jack, our Jack, the son-in-law Jack, jumps up and goes, ‘Ahh, what have I done now?’”
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She found true love on vacation
So who is Eugenie’s fiancé and how did they meet? With a background in the hospitality industry, Jack Brooksbank is currently the U.K. ambassador for George Clooney’s tequila brand, Casamigos (so we can probably expect to see George and his wife, Amal, at their wedding). The couple met while on a skiing vacation in Switzerland—”love at first sight,” according to Jack. They got engaged seven years later, also on vacation, this time in Nicaragua overlooking a volcano and lake at sunset. “The lake was so beautiful—the light was just a special light I had never seen,” Eugenie said in their engagement interview. “I actually said, ‘This is an incredible moment,’ and then he popped the question, which was really surprising even though we had been together seven years.”
She’s not a bridezilla
Despite getting married in the same spot cousin Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot last May, St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, plus inviting a reported 850 guests and having a post-ceremony carriage ride around town just like her cousin, Eugenie says she’s “not stressed at all” about her wedding. “It’s very nerve-wracking because you want it to be perfect, but then you realize that you’re going to be with the person you love forever and nothing else really matters,” she told British Vogue. “I really recommend getting engaged. It’s all about the future, being inclusive, and our love. We’re really excited.” Although she and sister Beatrice are perhaps best known for wearing outlandish fascinators at cousin William’s wedding, Eugenie’s look for her own nuptials probably won’t be so over-the-top. “I’m not telling anyone who is making [the wedding dress], but I can say it is a British-based designer,” she told Vogue. Beatrice will be alongside her as maid of honour.
She lives an everyday life—for a royal
As a working woman, Eugenie has striven to maintain as normal a life as possible despite her royal title. That includes getting up early to work out. “I get up around 6:45 to start exercising by 7,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “I go to the park from 7 to 8. I do circuits, which I love because they’re quick: burpees, squat jumps, lunges, the whole lot. It’s much better, as I can’t run for a long time. Or I go with my best friend to this amazing women-only gym.” After her working day, Eugenie often stays in to cook and watch TV. “I’m watching How to Get Away With Murder—Viola Davis, she’s insanely good—and Outlander, my favourite,” she says. “When I’m with Jack, we watch The Walking Dead, which we’re obsessed with. Maybe Game of Thrones is our next thing.”
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She battled scoliosis
You wouldn’t know it to look like her, but Eugenie has some physical—and emotional—scars due to her battle with scoliosis as a young adult. She recently showed her X-rays for the first time on Instagram, and has opened up about the eight-hour surgery she had when she was 12 years old. “I’ve got two 12-inch rods and eight screws going up my back keeping me straight, and they’ve fused together with my spine so now I can’t really live without them,” she said in an interview. She’s using her “terrifying” experience to inspire children with scoliosis and is a patron of the Royal National Orthopedic Hospital, where she had her surgery.
She got in trouble over an Instagram pic
Wait, so Eugenie is allowed to have an Instagram account whereas Meghan and Kate can’t? Yes, royal protocol doesn’t apply to her in this case because she isn’t a working member of the royal family and doesn’t perform official duties. But that’s not to say she’s allowed to post whatever she wants. “I recently got in trouble for posting a picture of Papa [Prince Andrew] in a corridor of the palace that was off-limits to the public,” she told British Vogue. Whoops! But it appears the Queen didn’t make her take it down—it’s still there for everyone to see, along with other pics that give us insight into Eugenie’s royal-ish life. “It’s so easy to recoil when you see a perfect image, but it’s important that it’s real,” she told British Vogue about her social media. “We’re real.” Indeed.
Next, check out 15 facts you never knew about past royal weddings.