Royals: Princess Eugenie Facts Most People Don't Know

The following article includes brief mentions of sexual assault allegations.

Thanks in part to "The Crown," interest in the British royal family has seemingly never been higher. Accordingly, the public's fascination with all things regal has led to the celebrity status of the extended aristocratic clan. While said celeb status is presumably welcome when things are going well, it also inevitably leads to some bad publicity (it seems that not a day goes by in which Princes Harry and William fail to throw some shade at each other). But thankfully, some members of The Firm are kept in the shadows of the more prominent figures.

Princess Eugenie is one royal who has managed to keep a relatively low profile amid the myriad scandals and controversies that have long plagued the Windsor family. Granted, her mom, Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson, has frequently been a target of the public's ire with her numerous faux pas — and the less said about her dad, Prince Andrew's, alleged antics, perhaps the better. But throughout it all, Eugenie has remained low-key, opting to spy drama from the sidelines as opposed to building a rep as a rabble rouser.

Choosing to remain a background player to her more famous relatives doesn't mean Eugenie is dull, however. Time and time again, the princess has proven herself a thoroughly modern royal who largely eschews the pomp and pageantry associated with The Firm, instead embracing hipster cliques and pop culture (she's a big fan of Netflix 'n chill, but more on that later). Let's take a look at Her Royal Highness' crowning glories: Here are some facts most people don't know about Princess Eugenie.

Princess Eugenie grew up in the spotlight

Princess Eugenie was born via cesarean section on March 23, 1990 to Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, and Prince Andrew, Duke of York, per the Los Angeles Times. Just two years later, her parents called it quits, per BBC News. The split came amid what the queen termed her annus horribilis (horrible year), which also entailed the dissolution of both then-Prince Charles and Princess Anne's marriages, and a fire at Windsor Castle, as Reuters noted.

The Duke and Duchess of York were faced with relentless media scrutiny following their divorce: Fergie was snapped having her toes sucked by her extramarital lover in 1992, while her financial problems have become the stuff of legend, per The Guardian. With the constant tattle, it would be safe to assume that Eugenie grew up to resent the press, but she remains diplomatic when discussing the media intrusion that blighted her life from such a tender age. "Growing up in the media, it's ... interesting," she told Vogue in 2018. "We've had some serious grounding from our parents. They've had their fair share of terrible media interest and it makes us stronger. ... There's no point being angry with anyone for beating us up."

And though her parents may have called it quits, Eugenie was never bereft of parental love. "They are the best divorced couple I know," she previously enthused to The Telegraph. "I don't remember much of [the divorce] happening. They just always went out of their way to make us feel loved and secure."

The princess struggled with health issues

Though the royals may appear the picture of privilege, they are not immune from health struggles. As with many celebs, Princess Eugenie lives with a disability that may not be apparent to the naked eye. When she was 12, she was diagnosed with scoliosis.

The young princess didn't realize that anything was wrong until a specialist informed her that her spine was curved, per The Telegraph. Although initial reports suggested that Eugenie would only need minor surgery, the severity of her condition soon became apparent, as she was told that it would continue to decline without medical intervention. A scheduled one-hour surgery turned into eight hours on the operating table, entailing the implantation of two metal rods and eight screws into Eugenie's back. "I remember it so well because it was on my mother's birthday," she revealed to The Telegraph. "It was terrifying. ... When the day came, they woke me at six in the morning for the operation and I was so tired I think I told them to go away and come back later. And then I woke up and it had all been done."

The procedure left her with a prominent scar. Subsequently, Eugenie has fought against the continued stigma surrounding scars, encouraging others to embrace their differences. In 2020, she shared a photo of her scar on her Instagram Stories (via People), writing, "Please share your stories with me where you have scars that show your strength. Scars are beautiful."

As a teen, Princess Eugenie traveled the world

Princess Eugenie attended the swanky £23,000 ($25,900) a year boarding school Marlborough College. She excelled at schoolwork, obtaining impressive A-level results in 2008. Though the royals aren't exactly known for their academic prowess, Eugenie has proven herself the exception, with her grades far surpassing those of any of her regal relatives, according to the Independent. Her parents were so pleased with her performance that they released a statement, declaring, "She has worked extremely hard towards these justifiably fantastic results."

But before heading to college, the bright teen decided to pull a "Booksmart" and live the high life. Accordingly, Eugenie went on a gap year in which she traveled to America, India, South Africa, and Thailand, per Express. As noted by the Daily Mail, her travels proved highly controversial, as the British taxpayers were funding her security, which amounted to a whopping £250,000 (around $282,000). Moreover, it was during this period that Eugenie developed a party gal reputation. Per the Daily Mail, her activities abroad reportedly included "topless bathing, incessant drinking, visits to nightclubs and unseemly behavior" (she had previously been caught cavorting in the nude following her high school graduation).

Following her trip around the world, Eugenie attended Newcastle University, where she studied English Literature and History of Art. A professor at the institution, Dr. Martin Farr, later claimed that the princess was only accepted into the college because of her privileged status, though the vice chancellor refuted the claims. After graduating in 2012, Eugenie expressed her excitement at starting her first job, per People.

From the Princess of York to New York

Like Giselle in "Enchanted," Princess Eugenie was thrust into the real world following her graduation. But whereas the aforementioned hapless princess foundered in the big city, Eugenie flourished as a girl boss. In 2013, she relocated to New York City to begin working for the art auction website Paddle8, per Us Weekly. According to insiders who chatted to the outlet, the princess relished her new career and enjoyed walking to work every day. "She loves New York!" a source revealed. The job followed an internship at London auction house Christies in 2010, according to Harper's Bazaar.

Although she could have resided in the glitziest apartments of Manhattan, Eugenie instead chose to live in the Meatpacking District, per Express. According to the Daily Mail, she was hanging with hipsters while living in the Big Apple and had a lone New York pal in Cara Delevingne's older model sister, Poppy Delevingne. Soon enough, however, she found herself mingling with the likes of models Lily Cole and Dree Hemingway, as well as Sting's daughter about town, Mickey Sumner. "You feel so cool in New York everywhere you go. ... There's food all day. They even have 'linner' — lunch and dinner," Eugenie told Harper's Bazaar.

Unfortunately, living in the States meant that Eugenie had to forge a long-distance relationship with her then-boyfriend, businessman Jack Brooksbank, who lamented that he and his princess bride-to-be were limited to chatting on Skype (certainly no big deal in the eyes of post-COVID Zoomers, but 2014 was a very different time indeed).

Princess Eugenie has an arty job

Although Princess Eugenie once harbored aspirations to become a painter, she soon realized that her talents lay in appreciating art rather than creating it. "I've loved art since I was very little," she told Harper's Bazaar. "I knew I definitely wouldn't be a painter, but I knew this was the industry for me." At the age of 16, she went to a Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition in New York. Basquiat swiftly became her hero, and the princess' obsession with art was cemented.

In 2015, Eugenie was given a royal send off in New York and returned to London, where she took on a new job at the turn of her 25th birthday, per The Telegraph. The creatively minded princess was appointed associate director of the contemporary art gallery Hauser & Wirth, thereby fulfilling her childhood dreams. Now fully immersed in the art world, she could count contemporary artist Tracey Emin among her pals, with the royal calling Emin "a guardian angel."

In a 2014 feature for Harper's Bazaar, Eugenie chatted to Emin about her excitement for her job. "I want to see this art, I want to put it on the walls. ... Helping someone build up their collection is just so exciting," she enthused. "I know that when I'm building mine up, it's so much fun to see all the little bits you've got." Eugenie's passion for art did not go unnoticed: In 2017, she was handsomely rewarded when she was promoted from associate to director of Hauser & Wirth, per Hello!.

Princess Eugenie wants to give back

Having been involved in various philanthropic endeavors, Princess Eugenie has admitted that she spends the majority of her evenings attending charity galas, per Vogue. As a patron of the Teenage Cancer Trust, she often meets with young cancer patients and has been brought to tears by their stories, according to Hello!. In 2020, she had a poignant Zoom meeting with a cancer survivor, who revealed that their surgery had left them with a large scar, as Tatler reported. However, thanks to body image workshops with the Teenage Cancer Trust, they had begun to embrace their differences. Offering some sage encouragement, Eugenie told the patient, "I have a big old scar down my back and I'm proud to show it off."

Much like her uncle, King Charles, Eugenie's charity work also extends to environmentalism. She partnered with the sustainability organization Project Zero in 2018, which propelled her to stop buying single-use plastic. "It's been eye-opening," she told Vogue. "My whole house is anti-plastic now — and Jack [Brooksbank] and I want our wedding to be like that as well."

Moreover, Eugenie co-founded the Anti-Slavery Collective, an anti-sex trafficking initiative. The move was met with controversy due to her father's links to convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. According to sources who spoke to the Daily Mail in March 2022, Prince Andrew was reportedly not consulted about his daughter's campaign, which has included the princess launching a podcast wherein she discusses her efforts to raise awareness of sexual slavery. "There has been disquiet about a rift between father and daughter," an insider claimed.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

The princess has some surprising hobbies

What hobbies are fit for a modern day princess? No doubt images of caviar munching and jaunty soirees come to mind. But Princess Eugenie is no ordinary princess. Chatting to The Telegraph in 2008, she counted reality TV among her pastimes. However, by 2016, Eugenie's interest in augmented reality waned and she swapped "Big Brother" for U.S. series such as "How to Get Away with Murder" and "The Walking Dead," which she admitted to being obsessed with, per Harper's Bazaar. "Maybe 'Game of Thrones' is our next thing," the royal said. "I don't watch reality shows, but I love cooking programs. Indulgences? Chips — fries, as you say — Diet Coke, nuts! Cashew nuts with mustard are the best. Netflix."

When it comes to music, she enjoys listening to indie bands such as Death Cab for Cutie and Jamie T, according to The Telegraph. Eugenie's also a big fan of Beyoncé, having been spotted attending her concerts on numerous occasions. In 2013, she was even chosen by Queen Bey herself to perform an impromptu duet, leading to a mortified Eugenie quickly shying away from the mic, per the Mirror

Regarding the media attention she attracts for attending pop concerts, Eugenie has remained insouciant. "It was quite funny because the headline was totally contradictory, something like: 'Eugenie gets spotted and is unrecognizable at Beyoncé,'" she joked to Vogue. The outlet noted that in addition to her poppy musical interests, Eugenie is an avid user of Pinterest, where, like so many millennials, she enjoys compiling cake boards.

Princess Eugenie is super close to her sister

Princess Eugenie and her sister, Princess Beatrice, are only 21 months apart, which might help to explain their psychic twin-like connection, per The Telegraph. Eugenie told the outlet that she and her big sis are practically inseparable, and their bond lies in their differing personalities. "We get on fantastically well, perhaps because we do and think different things. ... I am shyer at first," she explained. "Like, at a party I will say to Beatrice as we go in, 'Oh, you go first.' But then, when we're actually in, I am much louder and she is far more polite."

In an interview with Harper's Bazaar, she admitted that Beatrice is the one thing she can't live without. "My mom always says that we're the only ones who know exactly what's going on in each other's lives," Eugenie remarked. Indeed, the sisters haven't always had an easy ride. Back in 2011, during the much-publicized wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Eugenie and Beatrice were derided for their hats, with the former wearing a blue feathery concoction and the latter donning what was later termed a "toilet seat."

Speaking with Vogue, Eugenie revealed that the hat backlash left the pair in tears. "She got really upset. We were just about to step out and she had a bit of a wobble and cried," she disclosed. "I was looking after her. And then about an hour later, I had a wobble and started crying and Bea was there for me."

This princess is not a working royal

Princess Eugenie does not carry out royal duties, so she isn't entitled to receive money from the taxpayer-funded Sovereign Grant, which pays for the royal family, per Express. This means that Eugenie is free to take on a regular job. In 2016, it was reported that Prince Andrew was campaigning for his daughters to start receiving public funds, according to People. However, he vehemently denied the rumors on Twitter, insisting in a since-deleted tweet, "As a father, my wish for my daughters is for them is to be modern working young women, who happen to be members of the Royal Family, and I am delighted to see them building their careers."

The barring of Eugenie and Princess Beatrice from the Sovereign Grant has been largely attributed to the various indiscretions of their parents, namely the salacious stories that soon followed their divorce, which occurred so soon after Eugenie's birth. "The sins of the parents have rested on the children," royal historian Marlene Koenig told Town & Country. "I do believe that if their parents had never gotten divorced and were in a happily married state to this day, Beatrice and Eugenie would be working."

Eugenie's hopes of becoming a working royal were dashed further when unsavory stories about her father surfaced following the arrest of his associate, Jeffrey Epstein, in 2019. Subsequently, as royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told Newsweek in June 2022, "The York brand is absolutely toxic."

Princess Eugenie's controversial wedding

In 2018, Princess Eugenie announced her engagement to long-term boyfriend Jack Brooksbank. Recalling the time her beau popped the question, Eugenie told BBC News that it was a "perfect moment" set against the volcanoes of Nicaragua. "The lake was so beautiful," she said. "The light was just a special light I had never seen. I actually said this is an incredible moment, and then he popped the question, which was really surprising. ... I was over the moon."

While Eugenie's wedding service was set to be privately funded, the security of the nuptials, which amounted to over $2 million, was still paid for by the public, per the Evening Standard. This led to a major controversy, as detractors questioned whether the British public ought to pay for a royal who has fashioned a persona around being an ordinary working gal. "Who's heard of Princess Eugenie anyway?" British politician Chris Williamson told Sky News. "She carries out no royal functions, no useful purpose to the public sphere and yet we're having to spend this kind of money." Ouch. Accordingly, 46,000 people signed a petition in protest against the wedding's cost in taxes, as reported by the Independent.

The happy couple didn't let the anti-monarchist protestors rain on their parade, however. That October, Eugenie and Brooksbank said "I do" at the quaint St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, complete with a lavish floral display befitting the romantic autumn vibes, per People.

She is embracing motherhood

As with many women, Princess Eugenie had a lockdown pregnancy. In an Instagram Live interview (via Hello!), she stated that she was grateful to have avoided catching the coronavirus during her pregnancy. "Lockdown's been OK for me. I can't believe we're on lockdown 2.0, as everyone's calling it," she admitted in November 2020. "I'm very lucky to have had my health throughout number 1 and number 2 and I just can't really begin to imagine what people are going through, who are getting ill."

In February 2021, Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank welcomed their first child, August Philip Hawke Brooksbank, per People. On her Instagram Stories, she explained the poignant meaning behind her son's unusual name. "On his grandfather's birthday weekend, thinking of my grandfather [Prince Philip], we are introducing our little boy," she said. "He is named after his great-grandfather and both of his great x5 grandfathers."

Eugenie has been fully embracing her newfound parenthood. Speaking to Hello!, the princess' mom, Sarah Ferguson, gushed about her daughters, saying, "They were great children but now they're phenomenal mothers" (a testament to their sisterly bond, Princess Beatrice's pregnancy coincided with Eugenie's). In addition to acing motherhood, Eugenie has been using these new life skills to help out her famous pals. Singer Ellie Goulding, who has long been BFFs with Eugenie, revealed to The Telegraph that March that her bestie supported her during her own lockdown pregnancy. "She's been a great friend throughout this," Goulding enthused. "We've talked a lot about pregnancy and she's been inspirational because she just takes everything in her stride."

Princess Eugenie was criticized during the queen's funeral

The death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was a shock for royal fans the world over, but the loss was twofold for her family. Princess Eugenie was devastated by her beloved grandmother's demise. "You were our matriarch, our guide, our loving hand on our backs leading us through this world," Eugenie wrote in a joint statement with Princess Beatrice (via Sky News). "You taught us so much and we will cherish those lessons and memories forever."

In celebrating the life of the late monarch at her funeral in September 2022, members of the extended regal clan were reunited in their grief. Although a solemn and dignified affair, the ceremony was not without its controversy. Eugenie and Beatrice were heavily criticized for apparently leaving the service early. Although the sisters were visibly distraught throughout proceedings, they appeared to get up from their seats and leave before the service ended, per Hello!. Some viewers took to Twitter to express their discomfort and confusion at the sisters' seemingly disrespectful conduct. "What happened with Beatrice and Eugenie?" one fan tweeted. "They left their seats and held up the bearer party ... even Sarah [Ferguson] was going to get up and leave. Strange."

As noted by the Daily Mail, however, Eugenie and Beatrice did later re-join the congregation at Westminster Abbey, so it's possible that, prior to heading to the royal church, they simply left the ceremony in order to curtsy to their late grandmother's coffin.