If Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie Sign On as Full-Time Working Royals, It Could Spark Tension, Expert Says

“Their current strategy of keeping their head down and quietly getting on with life is a wise one for them.”

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

With the Princess of Wales off public duty potentially until 2025—and with the monarchy already slimmed down before 2024 and the health crises this year has seen—Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie’s appearance at a May 21 Buckingham Palace garden party raised excitement about whether the York sisters might come on as working royals, at least in a temporary capacity. The sisters—who are the daughters of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York—both have careers outside of the Firm and have never been working royals nor, really, have they ever expressed a real desire to become working royals.

We’ll talk more about our thoughts on the matter in a moment, but public relations expert Grayce McCormick said, per The Mirror, that if one or both do become working royals, it could “spark tension.” 

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

The York sisters' appearance at a (very rainy) Buckingham Palace garden party last month set tongues wagging about their potential of joining the Firm.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

McCormick, the founder of Lightfinder Public Relations, is in favor of the sisters eschewing any chance to become working royals (if that option is on the table in the first place) because it would cause friction, she said.

“The emergence of new working royals may fuel comparisons and competition within the royal family,” McCormick said. “It could potentially lead to internal tensions or conflicts that could damage the monarchy’s public image.”

Another public relations expert, Luana Ribeira—founder of Dauntless PR—spoke to GB News and seemed to agree, telling the outlet “For Beatrice and Eugenie, there is also the ‘Prince Andrew factor,’” referring to their father’s sexual assault allegations (which he vociferously and vehemently denies, to present day) and his association with the late Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender. “Although they cannot be held responsible for the words and actions of their father, I think their current strategy of keeping their head down and quietly getting on with life is a wise one for them.” 

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie

Beatrice and Eugenie both have high-powered careers and lives outside of the bubble of the working royals.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The York sisters should absolutely not be blamed for the sins of the father, but the step back of the cousinPrince Harry—will likely be the reason why, even if they wanted a crack at life working for the Firm, Beatrice and Eugenie won’t be allowed to. After Harry and wife Meghan Markle stepped back as working members of the royal family in 2020, their desired solution was working as part-time royals, doing work for the Firm while also doing outside commercial projects, as well. This request was turned down by the late Queen Elizabeth, and, in doing so, set a precedent going forward that, when it comes to working for the royal family, you’re either all in, or you’re out.

“The unfortunate truth, however, is that none of them will be asked to support the working royals on a more permanent basis, however badly they are needed,” The Daily Mail’s Rebecca English wrote, referring to not just Beatrice and Eugenie but also fellow cousins Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall, the children of Princess Anne. (When they were born, Anne chose not to give her children royal titles, so becoming working royals was never in question for Peter and Zara, anyway.) “And for that,” English continued, “they must thank the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.” 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

The precedent set regarding Harry and Meghan in 2020 is guidance that will continue, experts said.

(Image credit: Getty)

Her late Majesty turned down the couple’s part-time royals request “very firmly,” English wrote, and they were told “that their preferred option of being ‘half-in, half-out' royals while pursuing lucrative commercial careers was simply unacceptable.” English added “Seeking commercial deals while acting on behalf of, or representing, the British head of state would also have been a clear conflict of interest, and Her Majesty knew that all too well.” So, as a result, “here is the consequence: there can be no relaxation of the rules for any of the younger royals,” English wrote. “It is full time or nothing. The occasional garden party aside, more substantial roles for William’s cousins are out of the question—for now, at least.”

We all might be making much ado about nothing, as Beatrice and Eugenie might not even be interested in the prospect of becoming working royals to begin with. Both women have thriving careers of their own, Beatrice as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at the U.S. tech company Afiniti, and Eugenie as a director at the art gallery Hauser & Wirth in London.

As we get deeper into June, we might see more of Beatrice and Eugenie this month, as the royal calendar remains wildly full despite scaling back royal engagements in the leadup to the U.K.’s upcoming general election on July 4. “They’ve got a busy diary coming up, and they need to widen the family at social events,” a source close to the Yorks told The Daily Mail. “You’ve got a whole week of Ascot. You have four garden parties. You’ve got Trooping the Colour, and you’ve got a state visit before you even start on other things.” They continued “I think Beatrice and Eugenie are adding support where they can. They’ve always been clear they’re non-[working] royal, but they’re always there to help fulfill any duties required.” 

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie

June's busy social calendar may mean we see more of the sisters this month.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A source speaking to The Telegraph said of the sisters that “They’re very willing to step up and do more at this current time, to help. They’re very fond of their cousin [William, in this instance] and their uncle [the King], and they want to do everything they can to support them. And they believe in the institution they grew up in.” 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,” they continued. “They have careers and families, and they’re very protective of that.”

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.