Princess Eugenie of York, the younger daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York, has faced criticism and dislike from some members of the public throughout her life. As a minor member of the British royal family, Eugenie does not carry out official duties but maintains a public profile.
Her lavish wedding, jet-set lifestyle, and association with scandal have sparked debate about her role and image. This article will examine the key reasons why Princess Eugenie provokes antipathy among certain groups.
Her Lavish Lifestyle
One of the main factors driving animosity towards Eugenie is her indulgent lifestyle funded by taxpayers.
Eugenie’s October 2018 wedding to Jack Brooksbank at St George’s Chapel attracted controversy for its extravagance, costing an estimated £2 million in security expenses alone. Many considered it an unnecessary burden on the public purse.
- The over-the-top event featured 850 celebrity guests, including models, singers, and actors.
- Critics argued that Eugenie should have paid for a private wedding rather than relying on security forces.
- Headlines called it a “celebrity-packed royal wedding” and a “pageant of excess”.
Eugenie has also faced criticism for taking luxurious holidays multiple times per year.
- She regularly holidays in exotic destinations like the Bahamas, Italy, Switzerland, and the Hamptons.
- Her trips are documented on social media, drawing ire for flaunting luxury during a recession.
- Many believe her jet-setting lifestyle is out of touch with the realities of British citizens.
Perks and Privileges
As a princess, Eugenie enjoys certain Royal perks at the taxpayers’ expense:
- Until 2012, her security detail was funded by the Metropolitan Police.
- She has access to Buckingham Palace and royal residences like Balmoral Castle.
- Eugenie and her sister receive about £250,000 a year from their father, Prince Andrew.
This privileged lifestyle strikes some as unfair when she does not carry out public duties.
Association With Prince Andrew
Eugenie’s close association with her father Prince Andrew, who remains mired in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, has also impacted her public perception negatively.
- Andrew was friends with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and became embroiled in accusations related to Epstein’s trafficking ring.
- He stepped back from royal duties in 2019 due to the damaging claims.
- Eugenie has maintained a close relationship with her father despite the controversy.
This tie to Andrew’s disastrous reputation has tarnished her standing and led some to see her as guilty by association.
Perceived Special Treatment
There is a perception among some critics that Princess Eugenie expects special allowances not afforded to average citizens. Her royal status grants privileges some find unfair.
When 18-year old Eugenie underwent spinal surgery to correct scoliosis, conspiracy theories swirled that she received preferential treatment.
- The surgery took place at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital where the waiting list was 18 months for NHS patients.
- Critics questioned if her royal status allowed Eugenie to jump the queue.
- The hospital refused to comment on whether she received special priority.
When Eugenie married in 2018, some objected to her being granted the title “Princess” as an adult before completing royal duties:
- Traditionally, titles are given when royals come of age or marry.
- Princess Michael of Kent, for example, worked for her HRH status by marrying into the family.
- Giving Eugenie the prestige of “Princess” based on birth rather than merit bothers modern sensibilities.
Perception of a “Party Princess”
Eugenie has acquired a reputation in the media as a “party princess” fixated on nightlife and celebrity culture. This personality has not endeared her to more traditional royal watchers.
She socializes in wealthy celebrity circles:
- Her inner circle includes models, fashion designers, and stars like Demi Moore.
- Eugenie holidays and attends fashion events with friends like Chelsea Davy and Cressida Bonas.
- This élite social set breeds resentment and the perception she cares more about fun than duty.
Drinking and Partying
Stories of wild partying and drunken misbehavior have added to her “party princess” image:
- In 2012, she was scolded for a raucous girls’ trip to the US which included flashing and skinny-dipping.
- Eugenie and her sister Beatrice were dubbed “the gruesome twosome” for drunken antics on another holiday.
- Her hedonistic lifestyle clashes with the dignity expected of royalty.
This perception of Eugenie as a privileged, party-loving princess rubs many the wrong way.
Resentment of Minor Royals
Some of the animosity towards Eugenie has a broader context in changing public attitudes towards the royal family.
- There is growing resentment at taxpayers funding minor royals’ luxurious lifestyles.
- In a modern egalitarian society, the privileges of birth sit uncomfortably.
- Minor royals like Eugenie are seen as the most dispensable and least deserving of perks.
- Her perceived aversion to royal duties while enjoying the privileges amplifies criticism.
As ideas about equality evolve, minor royals face more scrutiny over how they earn their prestige and lifestyle.
Why She Doesn’t Deserve the Hate
While Princess Eugenie provokes criticism from some quarters, there are counterarguments for why the antipathy is undeserved:
She Brings Publicity and Revenue
While not a working royal, Eugenie draws global publicity and revenue through tours, weddings and other events.
- Her 2018 wedding generated an estimated £2 billion revenue boost for the UK from tourism and memorabilia.
- When traveling, Eugenie promotes British brands like Vivienne Westwood.
- As a glamorous young royal, she holds appeal, especially for fashion magazines and websites.
So despite lacking an official role, she contributes to the royal family’s PR and economic impact.
She Uses Her Privilege for Good
Eugenie leverages her privilege to champion charitable causes like children’s hospitals, modern slavery, and environmental issues.
- She is an ambassador for the Elephant Family, a wildlife conservation charity.
- Eugenie collaborated with Dame Vivienne Westwood on a line to raise awareness of overfishing.
- Her Anti Slavery Collective organization works to combat modern slavery and human trafficking.
While she enjoys royal privileges, she also gives back in commendable ways.
She Can’t Control Her Lineage
As Prince Andrew’s daughter, Eugenie did not choose her parents or royal heritage. Animosity aimed at her seems unfair.
- She should not be blamed for Andrew’s mistakes or receive guilt by association.
- Singling her out while other royals also inherit privilege and perks seems illogical.
- It is unproductive to resent people for circumstances of birth they did not control.
Judgement of Eugenie as an individual seems more appropriate than fixating on her family ties.
She’s Carving Out Her Own Career
In recent years Eugenie has consciously tried to forge her own career separate from the royal family.
- She works as a director at the art gallery Hauser & Wirth in London.
- Marrying a commoner, Jack Brooksbank, signaled independence.
- Distance from royal roles gives her freedom to find purpose outside the palace walls.
Eugenie is making efforts to be more than just a princess or Prince Andrew’s daughter.
Public Perception Is Slow To Shift
While some defend Eugenie against negativity, public opinion does not seem to be shifting rapidly in her favor. Several factors perpetuate the dislike she provokes:
Repeated controversies involving the Yorks keep Eugenie in the crosshairs of public discontent towards the royals.
- Andrew’s disputes over Jeffrey Epstein’s estate and sexual assault allegations continue.
- Fergie’s financial and influence peddling scandals are ongoing.
- Regular embarrassing stories about Eugenie’s lavish holidays and celebrity lifestyle still arise.
It’s hard for her reputation to recover when surrounded by recurring royal scandals.
Media Bias Against Her
The British tabloids and media outlets have an incentive to portray Eugenie negatively as a minor royal.
- Drama and controversy generate more clicks and sales than positive coverage.
- Stories framing her as spoiled, wasteful and undeserving are appealing to critics.
- Once a narrative is established, it tends to perpetuate.
Given the media’s hostility, it’s an uphill battle to reshape her public perception.
Resistance to Change
In general, people are slow to update negative first impressions. Confirmation bias leads us to notice information confirming what we already believe about someone.
- Those prone to dislike Eugenie latch onto any new examples that fit that view, ignoring contrary evidence.
- Positive facts about her charity work or career are dismissed as PR spin by skeptics.
- Overcoming preconceived notions requires time and overwhelming contrary proof.
With entrenched opinions, Eugenie’s reputation is sticky and resistant to rapid improvement.
Princess Eugenie has long been a controversial royal figure, perceived by some as an undeserving beneficiary of privilege. Her lavish lifestyle, ties to Prince Andrew, and “party princess” reputation have fueled public animosity in segments of British society and media.
While she has supporters and contributes value through publicity and charity work, the dislike she provokes has been slow to dissipate for multiple reasons. With minor royals facing growing backlash in the 21st century, Eugenie remains saddled with a negative image in the minds of many.
Nonetheless, she is attempting to take control of her own path and forge an identity beyond her family ties and royal status. Time will tell if she can eventually overcome the antipathy of her critics.
Why did Princess Eugenie have a big wedding?
Eugenie’s lavish wedding was criticized for being an extravagant affair funded by taxpayers. As a non-working royal, some thought she should have paid for a private event rather than rely on security forces to foot the £2 million security bill.
Eugenie defended her wedding by arguing it was a familial celebration bringing joy during a difficult time for her father Prince Andrew. But the 850 celebrity guest list and spectacle still drew accusations of waste and excess from many quarters.
What does Princess Eugenie do for a living?
Princess Eugenie works as a director at the London art gallery Hauser & Wirth. Prior to that, she worked for an online auction firm.
Eugenie has deliberately pursued a career independent of the royal family in the art and business world. She holds a university degree in Art History and English Literature from Newcastle University.
Why is Princess Eugenie not a working royal?
As a minor royal, Princess Eugenie has never carried out the official duties expected of senior royals. Her father Prince Andrew and mother Sarah Ferguson are also not currently working royals after various scandals.
The Queen and future King Charles III are said to want to slim down the monarchy, so Eugenie is unlikely to ever take on a major role. She focuses instead on arts patronage and charity work.
What scandals is Prince Andrew associated with?
Prince Andrew has been embroiled in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal given his years-long friendship with the convicted sex offender. Andrew also faced his own accusations of sexual misconduct related to trafficking victim Virginia Giuffre, which he deny.
Due to the damage from these accusations, Andrew stepped down from royal duties in 2019 but remains associated with the ongoing legal disputes.
How much does Princess Eugenie cost the taxpayer?
The exact cost to the taxpayer is unclear. Eugenie’s 2018 wedding security alone cost £2 million pounds. As a princess, she also benefits from round-the-clock security, publicly-funded housing, transportation and other perks.
Republicans critics claim the annual security bill for minor royals like Eugenie could be around £3 million. But the true figures are opaque as royal finances and security arrangements are kept private.