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Why can Princess Alexandra undertake engagements but Beatrice & Eugenie can’t?

As Royal Central has been reporting in recent days, tensions have been emerging between the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York over the question of whether Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie should become full-time working royals.

While Prince Andrew is pushing for his daughters to gain more recognition and not be overshadowed by their cousins, Princes William and Harry, the Prince of Wales has long been campaigning for a more streamlined monarchy. Perhaps the most notable example of his efforts in this direction came in 2012, when the Queen was flanked only by Charles himself, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry on her historic Diamond Jubilee balcony appearance (readers may recall that the Duke of Edinburgh was absent as he had been admitted to hospital a few days earlier).

A poll taken by Royal Central a few days ago showed that over half of people surveyed believe that Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie should not become full time working royals.

The question has been hotly debated in royal circles for years, with things now coming to a head with the involvement of the Queen. Prince Andrew, in fact, reportedly wrote to his mother asking that his daughters be made full-time working members of the Royal Family and be given taxpayer-funded accommodation at Kensington Palace, like their cousins Princes William and Harry. A spokeswoman from Buckingham Palace refused to comment on the matter, but there is no doubt that the issue remains a very pressing one.

A question puzzling those who are favour of the York Princesses being granted full-time working royal status is the unique position of the Queen’s first cousin, Princess Alexandra.

Born on Christmas Day 1936, Princess Alexandra is the youngest daughter of Prince George, Duke of Kent, and Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, and the youngest granddaughter of King George V and Queen Mary.

The Royal Family’s website reports that the Princess “has supported the Queen throughout her reign, through representing Her Majesty in the UK and overseas and attending events of national significance”. Princess Alexandra remains a very active member of the Royal Family and is patron or president of over 100 organisations, which reflect her wide-ranging interests.

She undertook her first official solo engagement aged just 17, when she visited the British Red Cross on 11 August 1954. The Princess was then 9th in line to the throne and it was imperative that she started playing a more active role within the Royal Family after the accession of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth II. As Princess Alexandra’s brother, Prince Michael of Kent, clarifies on his website: “Prince Michael’s sister, Princess Alexandra, was asked by the Queen to undertake such duties because of a lack of female members of the family during the 1960s“.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were away on their first Commonwealth tour for almost six months between November 1953 and May 1954. Prince Charles and Princess Anne were of course still too young. The Queen Mother, who was still grieving, undertook a limited number of engagements at the time, as did the Princess Royal, the Queen’s aunt, who had been widowed in 1947 and mostly resided at Harewood House, her home in West Yorkshire.

This left only Princess Margaret, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester (whose children were still too young to fulfil a public role), the Duchess of Kent and her children.

In the early years of her cousin’s reign, Princess Alexandra undertook many high profile engagements: she carried out an extensive tour of Australia in 1959 and, a year later, represented the Queen at the Nigerian Independence celebrations.

Nowadays, the Princess, who is now 50th in line to throne, continues to support the Queen at official receptions and annual events, such as as Trooping the Colour. She also regularly attends receptions for The Queen’s Award for Enterprise winners and The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. Most recently, she was a guest at the State banquet the Queen gave in honour of the President of the Republic of Colombia earlier this month.

With the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh still undertaking between them the bulk of official engagements (figures for 2015 can be found here), it does perhaps not seem as necessary for the younger members of the Royal Family to start taking a more active role as it was in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when Princess Alexandra first took on higher profile engagements.

However, while the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh remain undoubtedly very active, they’re 90 and 95 respectively, Prince Charles is about to turn 68 and Princess Anne is 66. It will be many years, if not decades, before Prince George and Princess Charlotte can take on any sort of public role. In this scenario, it comes as no surprise that the Duke of York is lobbying for more active roles for his daughters, who are the only adult princesses of the blood under 30 years old.

After the Duke of York required his mother’s intervention on the matter, the question of whether the York Princesses will be allowed to receive full-time working royal status lies with the Queen.


  • Lynn Taylor

    Goon on you Andrew, stand up to you odious, bullying brother, you are as royal as he is and so are your daughters……He is not king yet and should mind his own business……

    • Just another dumpling

      Tell you what, Lynn, you pay the expenses of them. If there is an odious bully here, it is not Charles.

      • Lynn Taylor

        Beatrice and Eugenie are as peculiar as their names……..

        • Kathleen Ames

          Whatever the argument their names are no more peculiar than yours is. They are both names of former royals. It is merely a matter of opinion.

      • Shavri

        tell you what “dumpling’ when you understand the finances and expenses of the Royals I will pay attention to your opinion. But since you obviously think they are paid out of some funds that you feel you are paying in I KNOW that you have zero clue so your opinion is worthless.

        • Just another dumpling

          Pray tell me, which don’t I know about? The old Civil List? The former Grants-In-Aid? The parliamentary annuities that used to fund the additional members of the Royal Family, but now only apply to Prince Phillip? The 2011 Sovereign Grant that now goes to the Queen to pay for the other members of the Royal Family – although, of course, Charles has independent income through the Duchy?

          Overseas engagements and those done on behalf of the Government are taxpayer funded through Sovereign Grant. Last I checked, I am a UK tax payer – so I wonder what I am paying into? Now, I wonder what the effect of having the two princesses added to that list would result in?

          Oh dear, Shavri, is it possible that you are the one talking about things you don’t know anything about, in a typical abusive keyboard warrior style? That would be a real shame, wouldn’t it?

          Maybe next time you should save yourself the embarrassment of posting such comments before discovering more about the person who is likely to end up laughing at you. Especially when that person is a Royalist, with a commission signed by HM The Queen in the Hall, and friends who work in the Household?

    • Kathleen Ames

      While you are all arguing about this Prince Andrew has said there is no such dispute,

  • PennieP

    They need to trim more branches off that tree.
    EUGENIE and BEATRICE should go… But make sure there are many others on the Chopping Block.
    But, at least it’s a start.
    How many flipping Charities need ‘Patrons ‘.
    At the rate their going, everyone in Great Britian should be well taken care of. Give me a break.

  • Just because Princess Alexandra is not going to be knackered, it does not mean that the remaindered Princesses should be moved into position. What is obvious is that Her Majesty has preferences for some of her grandchildren without titles. If not them, not the Yorkies.

  • Jef Bouwens

    I can’t imagine him talking as vulgar as you?

    • PennieP

      Really, Jef? NMFD72 is the nasty one?
      Think again..

  • Kiwi Bird

    Princess Alexandra is the only daughter of the late Duke and duchess of Kent, not their youngest daughter.

  • Kiwi Bird

    I meant The Duke and Duchess. Not Duke and duchess of Kent. A typing error.

  • Lesley Thompson

    GET A JOB! Idle hangers o!

    • LauraS

      Princess Eugenie has worked full-time since she graduated from university.

  • HunterT

    Hmmm.. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact Princess Alexandra and Prince Philip were very “good friends” for many, many years. It’s on the record. Do your own research.

    • Just another dumpling

      Some people can have close friends without needing to get in their pants, HunterT. Maybe you should consider trying it?

  • Gianmarco Sabato

    HRH Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie do way more than MIDDLESLUT the flasher stalker

  • Riley

    I have always believed that if you are a Royal Highness, then you should be working for your title. The plan for a slimlined monarchy is a ridiculous one. At the end of 2016 when the annual total of engagements conducted by the Royal Family was published, the Gloucesters, the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra together accounted for 536 engagements conducted in the UK alone. Who will perform these duties when the working royal family is reduced to Charles, Camilla, William, Kate, Harry, Anne, Andrew and Anne? Are the organisations and causes these 500+ engagements are for to become less deserving of attention with the passage of time? How will the remaining active royals find time for Commonwealth and overseas trips if there is more to do in the UK without these 4 “minor” royals to perform duties? There is certainly a role for Beatrice and Eugenie to perform royal duties as well as a great need for them to do so.

    • bearzy123

      Agreed.. All those plaque unveilings must be attended to….lol

  • Sue

    Anyone is better than Kate and William. They both seem so insincere

    • Observator14

      LOL. Always some sour fruit on the tree.

  • Just another dumpling

    No, they should not. They should be seen as members of the Royal Family, and be allowed to attend and even host some events as such – but they should not be full time, tax-payer supported members. They should be more like the Danish Royal Family, and also have real jobs – which will also bring them closer to the people. By the way, I like the Princesses and do not see my view as a negative one towards them.

  • Theodora

    I wonder if the taxpayer funded lodging at Kensington has anything to do with it?

  • Lynn Taylor


  • Lynn Taylor


  • Lynn Taylor


  • Lynn Taylor

    when did you hear him talking to the Palace Staff ?

    • nmfd72

      It is well documented, by many who have worked there over the years. Do some research instead of sitting behind your computer making childish remarks

  • CP

    doesn’t it make more sense to allow these two princesses to enjoy their twenties, get jobs, have boyfriends etc, and maybe marry before taking up a more public role in support of the Family business? I think it’s more likely that Prince Charles and Her Majesty the Queen are being protective of these Royal Princesses, perhaps their father needs to be kept in the loop more?

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