“Everyone who has worked with her or met her through her charities has always been full of praise for her – they find her very easy to engage with, very friendly and a good listener.
“Those are the type of qualities which Diana had, and which would definitely help if she does decide to step up charitable endeavours.”
Despite being the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth and daughter of Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Sarah Ferguson, Eugenie is 10th in line to the throne, meaning that there is very little likelihood of her ever becoming Queen. As a result, she has been able to live a relatively normal life, while still maintaining her privileged royal status.
Eugenie’s childhood was spent straddling the royal and civilian worlds, but as an adult she has forged her own distinct identity as one of the more successful working royals.
After studying art history, English literature and politics at Newcastle University in the UK, she worked at online auction house Paddle8 in New York, before moving back to London to take a position at art gallery Hauser & Wirth, where she remains.
“Being out in the real world and earning a living might be an advantage because it gives her a different perspective,” Phil says.
“She’s not just going into it without any experiences of real-life problems.”
Phil adds that it seems likely Eugenie’s role will intensify over the coming years.
“Eugenie was never earmarked to be a senior royal, but in recent months she’s taken on more and more charities voluntarily.
“With Prince Andrew off the scene, Prince Philip retired, and Harry and Meghan having departed, we’re running out of senior royals, so I can see that there could be a bigger role for her.
“They’re thin on the ground, so given that the Queen and Prince Philip have roughly 1600 patronages between them, a lot of those are going to fall by the wayside unless there are some younger royals to take up the slack.”
Pre-empting this decision to up her philanthropic workload, as Princess Diana did as she got older, Eugenie told Harper’s Bazaar in 2015, “My sister Bea and I have charities we’re patrons of. We also try to support Granny and Grandpa in any way we can because that is what family is for.”
As the patron of a wide range of charities from children and women’s issues to HIV/AIDS and cancer, Diana managed to create long-lasting change across the world.
So far in her own philanthropic journey, Eugenie has co-founded the Anti-Slavery Collective, partnered with Project Zero to eradicate single-use plastics and, alongside her sister, worked with the Teenage Cancer Trust and Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, where she underwent surgery for her scoliosis in 2002.
And Phil guesses that there’s scope for her to utilise her own experiences even more.
“I think the fact that she had a major operation at a young age and has learnt to live with quite a difficult condition would make her empathise a lot more with people who have disabilities or physical problems,” he says.
A favourite with millennials, Eugenie boasts 1.1 million loyal Instagram followers and is one of the only royals to run her own account. Even her sister Beatrice doesn’t have one. Eugenie uses the platform to herald her charities, with posts encouraging people to donate, as well as candid personal snaps.
On March 23 the princess celebrated her 30th birthday in lockdown, alongside her husband Jack Brooksbank, at their home in Kensington Palace, due to COVID-19 restrictions. She shared a series of childhood photos to Instagram with the caption, “Thank you for all the wonderful birthday messages”.
Speaking to Vogue alongside her sister in 2018, Eugenie said of her relationship with social media, “Nowadays it’s so easy to recoil when you see a perfect image on Instagram – but it’s important that it’s real. We’re real.”
For more, pick up the latest issue of New Idea Royals. Out now!