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British RoyalsThe Yorks

A look back: The year for the York family


Ben Stevens/i-Images

For the York family, one could say its been a year of ups and downs. Princess Beatrice became engaged to property developer Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Princess Eugenie took on new patronages, and we also saw more of Sarah, Duchess of York. Perhaps one of the standout moments of the year came in the fall of 2019 when the Duke of York gave a candid interview regarding his former friendship with Jeffrey Epstein resulting in the Duke stepping down from royal duties for the foreseeable future. Royal Central takes a look at the York Family’s 2019.

January 2019:

After a busy few months post royal wedding, The Queen attended a Sunday morning church service at Sandringham alongside her son, the Duke of York. This would mark the first time Her Majesty would be spotted in public since her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a serious car crash.

February 2019:

Following rumours of a rift between the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex, Sarah, Duchess of York released a statement saying that she was never rivals with Diana, the late Princess of Wales.

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As part of HELLO!’s #HelloToKindness campaign, the Duchess wrote:

“Women, in particular, are constantly pitted against and compared with each other in a way that reminds me of how people tried to portray Diana and me all the time as rivals, which is something neither of us ever really felt.”

In February, we would also see Sarah launch the ‘Schools for Tomorrow’ campaign. A campaign that works to build, renovate and re-energise schools in the world’s toughest places.

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At the end of the month, Princess Beatrice spoke at a Women4Tech event. At the event, the Princess opened up about her experiences in the workplace as well as the challenges she faced such as gender norms in the office. The Princess was quoted as saying:

“It was not until I entered the workplace did my understandings of the role of women play in businesses suddenly dawn on me. Slowly the gender norms started to make themselves known, and in doing so, created an uncomfortable environment for my passionate, problem-solving determination.”

March 2019:

In March, Princess Beatrice would travel to Paris to hold bilateral meetings with international dignitaries. During this time, the Princess took the time to deliver on the SIGI (Social Institutions and Gender Index) Report’s gender equality commitments. In her keynote address, Beatrice said:

“With the SIGI Report, we are better informed as to how we can advance gender equality and women’s empowerment.”

Following her comments disregarding a feud between herself and Diana, Princess of Wales, the Duchess of York took to Twitter on International Women’s Day to pay tribute to her “dear, departed friend, Diana.”

This month would also be a busy time for the York family taking on different patronages.

  • The Duke of York became the patron of the Outward Bound Trust. Taking the role from the Duke of Edinburgh, the trust works to shape the U.S. Peace Corps and other outdoor activity programs. Princess Beatrice was elected to the organisation’s Board of Trustees.
  • Princess Eugenie also became the patron of the RNOH (Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital) Charity. A charity that works to provide world-class care in the orthopaedic medical field.

Princess Beatrice also made her first official appearance alongside her then, new boyfriend, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi at the National Portrait Gallery.

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April 2019:

The Duke and Duchess went on a joint official overseas visit to Bahrain. This would mark the first foreign royal visit the Duchess has been on with her former husband in 25 years. Buckingham Palace did not comment on the matter, but it’s believed Sarah paid for her own plane tickets.

Princess Beatrice and her new partner, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi also joined the Duke and Duchess on the trip.

For Eugenie, she attended the Alliance Against Trafficking In Persons Conference. The 19th annual conference was held in Vienna, Austria where the Princess delivered a keynote address. Eugenie is the co-founder of the Anti-Slavery Collective.

May 2019:

Princess Eugenie took on a new patronage very close to her heart. Having undergone spinal treatment herself, the Princess became the patron of Horatio’s Garden, an organisation that brings accessible green spaces to spinal treatment centres. The Princess is said to have first become involved with the organisation in 2016.

June 2019:

The annual Trooping the Colour would be a momentous occasion for the York family for a couple of reasons. Sarah would join her two daughters to see Prince Andrew salute at the Colonel’s Review, the first time the Duke carried out this special royal duty.

This would also mark the first Trooping the Colour for Jack Brooksbank.

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Later in the month, the Duchess would speak to ITV News candidly about her uncle, in which she took on a new patronage in honour of. Sarah had revealed that her father’s brother died at the age of 10 after eating a crab sandwich.

Her family’s sad story was revealed as she helped launch the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation. The foundation aims to support and extend research into food allergies as well as provide extensive information to people about their food. The Duchess is patron.

July 2019:

In July, we would see the Duke of York join the Earl of Forfar and the Princess Royal at their mother, The Queen’s Royal Garden Party. The party, which was held at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh saw thousands of people from across Scotland who were invited to celebrate their achievements.

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Street Child, backed by its founder patron, Sarah, Duchess of York announced that they had raised a total of £2.8 million during their latest campaign to get children into education.

The charity had merged with the Duchess’ organisation, Children in Crisis back in 2018. Essentially, the organisation works to raise funds to give more children access to education and the resources they need to learn.

August 2019:

August would be the first time in which Prince Andrew’s former relationship with Jeffrey Epstein would be brought to light in 2019.

Pictures were published in the Mail on Sunday showing the Prince visiting Epstein’s Manhattan mansion back in 2010 shortly after the billionaire had served an 18-month prison sentence for soliciting a minor for prostitution.

In August, Epstein was facing federal sex trafficking charges in New York. However, Epstein appeared to have committed suicide just a few hours after new court documents were opened.

A statement was published in the Daily Telegraph, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes.

“His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behaviour is abhorrent.”

September 2019:

Following recent reports of his former relationship with Epstein, the Prince had ‘cancelled’ several appearances after concerns with his former Epstein links.

Facing backlash on social media, the Duke also turned off comments on his personal Instagram account.

September did end on a lighter note for the Yorks. At the end of the month, it was announced that Princess Beatrice became engaged to marry Edoardo Mappelli Mozzi. The two became engaged earlier on a holiday in Italy.

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In full, the Duke and Duchess of York said: “We are thrilled that Beatrice and Edoardo have got engaged, having watched their relationship develop with pride. We are the lucky parents of a wonderful daughter who has found her love and companion in a completely devoted friend and a loyal young man. We send them every good wish for a wonderful family future.”

The couple’s engagement photos would be shot by Beatrice’s sister, Princess Eugenie.

October 2019:

In October, the Duke of York had told friends why he made that now, controversial visit to Jeffrey Epstein in 2010.

According to The Sunday Times, the visit was to tell the billionaire that he was cutting all contact.

On 12 October, it would mark a year since Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank tied the knot. While the couple mostly celebrated behind closed doors, the royals marked the occasion with some unseen footage on their social media.

To coincide with Anti-Slavery Day, Princess Eugenie announced that she is to become a patron of a charity aimed at eradicating all forms of slavery and related abuses. That charity is the Anti-Slavery International – a global non-governmental organisation working to free people from all forms of slavery.

November 2019:

At this time, it was announced that Prince Andrew would take to TV to talk about his former relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.

That interview would dominate the press as the Prince got extremely candid in the BBC interview.

Virginia Roberts, a former victim of Epstein’s alleges that she also had encounters with the Duke. However, Andrew claimed he had no recollection of ever meeting Roberts.

Throughout his interview, The Prince made several notable comments.

  • The Duke said that he did not have sex with Roberts because he was at Pizza Express at the time. He also claimed that the accusations could not be true because, at the time, the Prince was unable to sweat. The 59-year-old said that he was shot during the Falklands War which meant he was unable to perspire.
  • The Duke also said he would be willing to testify in court regarding the Epstein scandal. Saying, “if push comes to shove.”

The Prince went on to add:

“I’m like everybody else, I would have to take all the legal advice that there was before I was to do that sort of thing. But if push came to shove, and the legal advice was to do so, then I would be duty-bound to do so.”

A week or so after that interview aired, the Prince issued a statement saying that he would step back from public duties for the foreseeable future.

December 2019:

December would be a much more low-key month for the Yorks.

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For the holidays, Princess Eugenie was joined by her husband, Jack at The Queen’s church services in Sandringham. Beatrice also attended with her fiance, which was a noteworthy moment from this year’s service.

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Typically, the service is only meant for members of the family so fiances would need to wait until their wedding day to join the family at such an event. However, a couple of years prior, this tradition was broken when Prince Harry brought his then-fiancee, Meghan Markle as a guest to the annual service.

Prince Andrew was not seen at the service with the rest of the family but was seen on a private walk with his brother, Prince Charles.

About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.