Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie—Despite Remaining Close to Prince Harry—Would Never Have Attended His Invictus Games Event “Without the King’s Consent”

Both women, especially Beatrice, are under consideration for an upgrade in their royal roles, as dictated by the King.

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

It’s not a secret that Prince Harry’s relationship with his father, King Charles, and older brother, Prince William, is contentious. But his cousins, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie? Well, Harry is thought to be particularly close to the York sisters (the daughters of the Duke and Duchess of York, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson). Yet, that said, neither showed up to support Harry at the 10-year anniversary celebration of the Invictus Games earlier this month—in fact, not a single member of the royal family turned up at St. Paul’s Cathedral for the Service of Thanksgiving. Harry—who was in the U.K. without his wife, Meghan Markle, who stayed behind in California with their two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet—did, thankfully, have family on hand, in the form of his late mother Princess Diana’s siblings, who turned up to support their nephew.

Prince Harry, Princess Beatrice, and Princess Eugenie together

Harry is still reportedly close to Beatrice and Eugenie, but neither turned up to his Invictus Games event earlier this month.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Back to Beatrice and Eugenie—there may be a couple of reasons why they weren’t on hand to support Harry. The first is simply based on location: Beatrice was in New York City on Monday, May 6, so maybe she wasn’t yet back in the U.K. by May 8, or maybe she was jet-lagged. Eugenie, for her part, splits her time between the U.K. and Portugal, so, who knows, maybe she was in the latter on May 8. They could have also had other commitments, familial or otherwise—both are married with two kids each.

But then, there’s the other side of the coin—Marie Claire previously reported that the King required working royals to be at the garden party he threw simultaneously at Buckingham Palace, held just miles away but a world apart from Harry’s event at St. Paul’s at the same time. Beatrice and Eugenie aren’t working royals (and weren’t at the garden party), but, in light of Charles reportedly considering bringing Eugenie and, especially, Beatrice on as his slimmed down monarchy has become perhaps a bit too slim, OK reports that the York sisters wouldn’t attend Harry’s Invictus Games event without the King’s permission. OK reports that “the sisters didn’t want to send out a divisive message by attending,” and royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told GB News that Beatrice and Eugenie “would not have been expected to be there because that would have been a sign of a split in the royal family,” he said. “You would have had royals there, some there and not others—that would have been seized on.” 

Prince Harry, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie

Harry with Beatrice, Eugenie, and the two women's husbands at the King's Coronation one year ago.

(Image credit: Getty)

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie

The York sisters, and in particular Beatrice, are under consideration to ramp up their roles as working royals amid the health scares of 2024.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Fitzwilliams did clarify that Beatrice and Eugenie still maintain a “close relationship with Harry,” but added “If you had any members of the royal family going, it would have been perceived as a split,” he said. “There would have been no way Beatrice and Eugenie would have attended an event like that without the King’s consent.”

Though no Windsors were there, the Spencers came out in support—and body language expert Judi James said that Harry was comfortable around Diana’s siblings, including Earl Charles Spencer and Lady Jane Fellowes. “Harry clearly looks excited and delighted to be seeing his mother’s family again here,” she said. “His cheeks are rounded, his face red and shiny, and his eye-smile involves crinkling to signal authentic pleasure and affection.”

Lady Jane Fellowes and Charles Spencer

Lady Jane Fellowes and Earl Charles Spencer were on hand for Harry's May 8 Invictus Games event at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Prince Harry

Harry was, according to a body language expert, "excited and delighted" to see the Spencers.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In particular, when talking to his uncle—Diana’s only brother—“Harry’s body language here is a blend of excited, free child and fond adult,” James said. “He looks relaxed and socially ‘safe,’ as though able to express his emotions as well as be more playful.”

In addition to supporting Harry when no members of the royal family did at the May 8 Invictus Games event, Diana’s sisters Lady Jane and Lady Sarah McCorquodale flew to California for Lili’s christening back in March 2023. No royals were present for that occasion, either.

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.