22 November 2023

Princess Eugenie reveals stress of ‘having to look a certain way’ in public eye

22 November 2023

Princess Eugenie has revealed having difficulties with her appearance due to scrutiny from the public.

The King’s niece also discussed having dinner with the late Queen Elizabeth II and her work around modern slavery on an episode of the Table Manners podcast, due to be released on Wednesday.

Hosted by Jessie and Lennie Ware, the weekly podcast describes itself as being “about food, family, and the beautiful art of having a chat”.

Eugenie – daughter of the Duke of York and Sarah Duchess of York – started her own podcast called Floodlight last year, which highlights issues of modern slavery.

Asked if she was fed up with people criticising what she wore or if she looked tired, Eugenie said the problem “definitely has caused a couple of issues” as she focused on “having to look a certain way” after being the subject of negative comments.

She said: “I guess everybody has that if you’re in the public eye. I guess within our family, it happens at that perfect age where you’re, you know, 13 years old and you’ve got that dorky bowl haircut and you’re a bit chubby and you know, all the boys are bullying you and all that kind of stuff.”

Eugenie now lives in Portugal with her husband Jack Brooksbank and their two sons, August, 2, and Ernest, who was born in May.

She continued: “This is why Portugal is the dream because I can go to the supermarket in my exercise gear and my hair piled on my head and not mind. Not care. No one cares.”

Among the other topics the princess discussed on the podcast was the etiquette expected when eating with her grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.

Eugenie said the family used “table manners A” when together, including having no knees at the table and children eating spaghetti bolognese.

Elaborating further, she said: “I guess it’s just you’re not getting down from the table until you can get down from the table.

“Like, tea was at five. And it was only ever, like, 45 minutes so you can never get stir-crazy.

“And then we’d go running everywhere afterwards around the house like crazy people.”

The princess then answered questions about her Floodlight podcast, now on its second season, which she started alongside Julia de Boinville, co-founder of the Anti-Slavery Collective.

Asked about her decision to pursue the venture, Eugenie said she first learned about the broader scope of slavery on a visit to India aged 21.

She said: “It’s simple things like you know, being aware that someone could be enslaved at your local nail bar or in a carwash, or in construction and things like that.

“It’s not something in far-flung places that you might not go to. It can happen within a mile of where you live in the UK and around you.

“So it’s just about, where are your clothes from? Have you asked someone if they’re okay? If they don’t look happy? Or that kind of thing. And it’s about empathy and kindness as well.”

Eugenie also opened up about her experiences at boarding school and at university in Newcastle.

She explained how she lived in halls before moving into a house with friends and having house parties, adding: “I then did all the normal things. Yeah, I loved it. It was a really special time.”

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