A Picture of Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie’s Probable Future with the Royal Family Is Becoming Clearer, One That Allows Them the “Best of Both Worlds”

The York sisters “believe in the institution they grew up in” and want to support it.

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie attended a very rainy Buckingham Palace garden party one week ago today, it wasn’t their first time to attend such an event—but it was, perhaps, one of their most notable. Especially as the number of working royals has dwindled in size—their father, Prince Andrew, resigned from royal duty in 2019; their cousins, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, stepped back as working royals months later; and this year has seen King Charles and Princess Kate (and their mother, Sarah Ferguson) battle cancer—last week’s garden party only added fuel to the fire that Beatrice and Eugenie might be planning to merge into the “working royals” category.

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie exit a garden party in London on a rainy day while wearing nice dresses

This past week has seen endless questions about Beatrice and Eugenie's future as working royals after their appearance at a Buckingham Palace garden party one week ago.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Heretofore, both have forged careers outside of the Firm—Beatrice as vice president of strategic partnerships at U.S. tech company Afiniti, and Eugenie as a director at Hauser & Wirth, a London art gallery. Both are married and mothers, to two children apiece (Beatrice has stepson Woolfie and daughter Sienna with husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, and Eugenie shares sons August and Ernest with husband Jack Brooksbank). As if those obligations didn’t keep them busy enough, “they each support a range of charities and good causes and hold around a dozen patronages each, including being patrons of Teenage Cancer Trust along with their mother, Sarah, Duchess of York,” Hello reports. How would they even fit in being working royals?

Well, it’s likely that they won’t. Thanks to precedent established by Queen Elizabeth surrounding the decision of whether to allow Harry and Meghan to become part-time working royals or not (spoiler alert: she said no), it seems when it comes to the Firm, you’re either all in or you’re all out. And it doesn’t seem that Beatrice and Eugenie are headed for the all in path, but rather for what Her late Majesty often did with her own cousins—occasionally used them as support at occasions just like garden parties. It seems that’s where Beatrice and Eugenie will fit in going forward, as well. 

Princess Eugenie wears a white wrap dress at a garden party appearance in London

Eugenie spoke out on Instagram last week, writing she was "delighted" to attend the garden party on May 21.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Telegraph reports that the sisters’ appearance at the garden party and any to come aren’t symbolic of a formal shift, but, going forward, Prince William (who hosted the garden party last week) “would be keen to extend similar invitations again, in the spirit of including the wider family, as his grandmother once did.”

As for what Beatrice and Eugenie think about it all, “They’re very willing to step up and do more at this current time, to help,” a royal source told the publication. “They’re very fond of their cousin [William] and their uncle [King Charles], and they want to do everything they can to support them. And they believe in the institution they grew up in.”

After the garden party last week, Eugenie wrote on Instagram to her 1.8 million followers “Come rain or shine, I was delighted to support my family to meet some special individuals at the Buckingham Palace garden party who have gone above and beyond to support their local communities and the country.” Of the cousins—which include William, Harry, Beatrice, Eugenie, Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall (the children of Princess Anne) and Lady Louise and James, Earl of Wessex (the children of the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, Prince Edward and Sophie)—they “are all very close and always have been,” a source speaking to The Telegraph said. “I think people liked seeing them being there together and supporting each other.” In addition to Beatrice and Eugenie, Peter and Zara—as well as Zara’s husband, Mike Tindall—were all on hand last Tuesday.  

That said, “I don’t think it means there’s a plan for them to be full-time working members of the royal family, and I’m not sure they’d want that,” the source said. “They have careers and families, and they’re very protective of that.” But, they added, “I think the rest of the family respects their charity work. They haven’t ever really put a foot wrong.”

The support appears to be one of the more quiet kind, and Hello reports that the two have been drafted to help out given the “unique circumstances” the royal family has found itself in this year. “They are closer than lots of cousins might be—they have that unique shared experience and unusual life they all lead,” a source speaking to Hello said. “This is an institution that they all belong to, perhaps in slightly different ways in terms of how they serve it, but they all believe in it and its future and want to do what they can to support it.” 

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie

Both women have families and careers outside of the Firm.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

They added of the sisters “They’ve always had a sense of service and duty, probably inherited from their grandmother [Queen Elizabeth]. And they’ve shown that they can be trusted in the spotlight, and I think that’s appreciated.”

So, bottom line? We’ll likely see them at royal events—and will stand ready to support Charles and William whenever needed—but they won’t become full-time working royals. “The royal family recognizes that they’re very charming, quite dutiful young women who are very at ease and good in situations where they’re meeting the public and when they’re doing their charity work,” they said, adding of that work that “The princesses have been quietly getting on with supporting all these charities for some time. But they also have lives outside of the family. They’ve got families, they’ve got jobs. I’m not sure whether they would want to come fully into the fold and be full working royals. In a sense, they have a bit of the best of both worlds at the moment.”

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie

The picture of what the future might look like for the York sisters and the Firm is becoming clearer, and it's one that seems to be a "best of both worlds" scenario for Beatrice and Eugenie.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A litmus test as to Beatrice and Eugenie’s involvement will be Trooping the Colour, the King’s annual birthday parade, set for June 15. Will they be on the balcony with the rest of the royal family? That’s a big question being asked, as is if the event will even happen at all, after U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a general election set for July 4, rendering all royal events up until that point on the chopping block as to whether they will actually take place or not.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.