Princess Eugenie Has the Most "Real" Royal Instagram Account
"It's so easy to recoil when you see a perfect image on Instagram," she said. "It's important that it's real."
Friday's announcement from Buckingham Palace that Princess Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank, are expecting their first child some time early next year has refocused the spotlight on the low-key, likable royal for the first time since the couple's wedding in 2018. Eugenie, who is tenth in line for the throne, confirmed the news with an adorable post on Instagram: a photo of her and her husband's hands holding a tiny pair of teddy bear baby booties. While Prince William and Kate Middleton and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (who are expected to launch a new account since shuttering SussexRoyal) have maintained a carefully curated Instagram presence, Eugenie writes her own posts. She is the one who often gives royal watchers the most personal—and unexpected glimpses—into the royal family.
"Princess Eugenie has always been a very down to earth person. There is no pretense," said a Palace insider. "She wouldn't think of having someone else do something like write posts for her Instagram. What she posts very much reflects her openness and kindness."
Since officially joining Instagram in March of 2018, Eugenie has posted a mix of candid photos of herself and Jack and sweet shots from her childhood—with special shoutouts to her sister, Princess Beatrice (whose Instagram account is private). When Beatrice married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi earlier this year, Eugenie posted one of the stunning official photos of the newlyweds congratulating her "beautiful big sister" with the caption: "Couldn't Bea happier (get it) …" with a bumble bee emoji. (And for more on Bea's big day, check out The Queen's Sweet, Powerful Message at Princess Beatrice's Wedding.)
Eugenie's parents, Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York, have also been active on Instagram. When news of Eugenie's pregnancy broke, Sarah, who often posts goofy photos of herself, shared her excitement in an Instagram post where she said, "In my 60th year, cannot wait to be a grandmother. Welcoming a new baby into the York family is going to be a moment of profound joy." (Nothing has been posted to Andrew's Instagram account since he stepped down in November of last year after his disastrous BBC interview where he attempted to explain his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein.)
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Like most of us, it took Eugenie awhile to perfect her Insta game. In June 2018, she inadvertently gave her then 300,000 followers (she currently has 1.2 million) an unauthorized peek behind the royal curtain at Buckingham Palace when she shared a photo of her father during Trooping the Colour. To celebrate his first time riding on horseback during the parade, Eugenie posted a photo of her smiling dad in uniform, standing in a long red carpeted hallway at Buckingham Palace, which was lined with priceless art and rows of bust sculptures.
In a joint interview with Beatrice for the September 2018 issue of British Vogue, Eugenie said, "I recently got in trouble for posting a picture of Papa in a corridor of the palace that was off-limits to the public." The offending post was quickly taken down.
During the Vogue interview, Eugenie said she was undecided what photo to post for Father's Day that year. After family snapshots taken at Balmoral and Royal Ascot were deemed "too personal," she settled on a precious sepia-toned throwback photo of her and her sister kissing their father on both cheeks.
Like her royal cousins, Eugenie has also used Instagram to highlight the causes most important to her. Having been diagnosed with scoliosis as a child, Eugenie has been very open about her experience. In 2018, on International Scoliosis Awareness Day, she shared a photo of her own X-rays from the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in honor of the staff who "made me better." This year, Eugenie shared a photo of her scar (which she also intentionally bared on her wedding day), encouraging others who've "gone through the same thing to share theirs."
At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Eugenie joined the royal family with a personal salute to NHS nurses on International Nurse Day, telling her Instagram followers it was the nurses "were able to help me through one of the toughest moments of my life" when she was 12 years old and had to have spinal surgery.
Recently, she and Beatrice presented the inaugural Teenage Cancer Trust Awards over Zoom and the princess posted a lengthy tribute to the winners, as well as short video of their conversation with the honorees.
Although it would be easy for her to convey a sense that her life is picture perfect, Eugenie told Vogue, "It's so easy to recoil when you see a perfect image on Instagram—it's important that it's real. We're real." And for more honesty from Eugenie, check out Here's What All the British Royals Really Think About "The Crown."
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.