Since Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, the minor royals have been sent out on international tours, to little-to-no fanfare. The Countess of Wessex was on a tour in Africa for two weeks and it barely made any international or domestic news. The Duke of Gloucester was apparently in America for six days in October and hardly anyone heard a peep about it. I’ve believed for some time now that the international royal tours are less about international media coverage and more about British-domestic coverage, as in “British taxpayers want to see their royals dressed up in colonialist cosplay and interacting with the ‘natives’.” The problem is when the taxpayers are footing the bill and no one cares about the tours, nor are the tours being covered. Which brings me to Omid Scobie’s latest Yahoo UK column, where he talks about how the new “slimmed down monarchy” is painfully dull, and how they need to inject some glamour in the form of the two York princesses, Eugenie and Beatrice. Some highlights:
The Duke of Gloucester’s American tour: He took on an extensive 19-engagement, six-day official visit to the United States. From glamorous gala dinners and time at NASA’s Space Center in Texas, to charity visits and a tour of The Met museum in New York, it was an itinerary filled with picture-perfect moments that usually make royal trips to America so special. As 30th in line to the throne, the late Queen Elizabeth II’s first cousin has been a full time working royal his entire adult life, carrying out hundreds of engagements in the UK and overseas every year. Hard working and uninterested in courting popularity, he’s made of the stuff expected from working royals—and perfect for picking up the less exciting duties senior members have no time for.
His trip got no coverage: His US trip that got me wondering why there wasn’t anyone else to cover it? I’ve no doubt the Duke did a fine job… but given the work of the Royal Family is part funded by the government and tax payer, surely profitability must play a role here too. Part of the royals’ value is their popularity on the world stage. In America, people can’t get enough of them. So spending all that money on a near week-long visit that no one paid attention to seems like, dare I say it, a bit of a waste.
Busy days in the slimmed-down monarchy: With Countess Sophie travelling around Africa for nearly two weeks at the time of the Duke’s US trip, King Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort ploughing through the packed diaries of their new roles, the Wales’ off work for British school holidays (and preparing for a visit to Boston later this month), and Princess Anne having already been to New York for four low-key engagements just weeks earlier, our current slimmed down lineup left few working royals to take on a visit like this.
The downside to King Charles’ pared down monarchy: His suggestion was to focus the future of the family business on his sons and their families. Of course, a lot has happened since then. One of those sons is no longer a working royal and happily living a new life in California. And Prince Andrew, once part of that leaner lineup, was forced to retire due to to the shame of underage sexual assault allegations and his close relationships with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell. It’s resulted in a small group of working royals not quite big enough to carry out the present model of engagements.
The York princesses: And it doesn’t need to be this way. In previous years both Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie had expressed interest in undertaking occasional duties on behalf of the Crown, only to be pushed back each time. Their presence didn’t fit in with King Charles’ vision, but perhaps it’s time to revisit that? Because not only is there an increasingly smaller pool of working royals, there’s also a serious lack of youth. Aside from Lady Louise Windsor (who has only just started a four year university degree), there are no other royal adults under the age of 40. And it’s not like the York Princesses aren’t capable of the work.
Beatrice & Eugenie have not been handed everything on a silver platter. Their rejection from royal work and funding saw them venture out into the real world and build their own careers (Beatrice, 34, is currently the Vice President of Partnerships & Strategy for software company Afiniti and Eugenie, 32, is a director at London art gallery Hauser & Wirth). Their experience of life outside of the royal bubble has made them more grounded and, ever-so-slightly, more relatable. And despite not being given roles, the dedication to service they witnessed in their grandmother has lived on in their private lives today. Both are patrons of a number of charities and organisations… All of this is alongside juggling motherhood and, unlike a number of other royals, keeping well out of any drama.
Charles should rethink the York princesses: Since Charles became King there has already been talk of a time when the princesses may see their titles downgraded as the monarch looks at culling the number of title holders in the family. But it feels like he’s missing a trick here. While neither have an interest in becoming full time working royals (or even changing their present lives), utilising Beatrice and Eugenie’s likability seems like a no-brainer to me (especially with so many patronages without homes following the deaths of Prince Philip and the Queen). They have a lot to offer but have been overlooked for so long. Imagine if one, or even both of them, had carried out that US visit? The coverage would have been radically different. After all, princesses are always going to get way more clicks than men in suits ever could.
[From Yahoo UK]
Around the Jubbly this year, it honestly felt like Beatrice was publicly auditioning for a royal role, doing several high-profile charity visits and making appearances around the Jubbly festivities. She was seen much more than the Sussexes during their brief visit to the UK. So, I do think Beatrice would absolutely be down for a larger role, and I think Charles should consider it. But Eugenie? I think Eugenie has a pretty shrewd streak and she sees that becoming a “working royal” would be a giant pain in the ass, especially if she ends up in the new Princess of Wales’s crosshairs. God knows, Kate does love to mean-girl whatever female contemporary is around. There’s absolutely a reason why Kate is the “youngest royal woman” in the working royal clique – that’s exactly what Kate wanted. Eugenie sees that and wants no part. Why would she when she and Jack are making their own money and raising their son away from the royal hassle? But again, Beatrice wants it.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instar, Cover Images and Backgrid.
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