A Royal rift as Princes Charles and Andrew row over Beatrice and Eugenie's taxpayer-funded duties

Lucia Binding
Chelsea Flower Show 2016: Royals

The Queen is said to be at the centre of an extraordinary row within the Royal Family as her two eldest sons have come to blows over the futures of Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie as taxpayer-funded working royals.

Prince Andrew, The Queen's second-born son, has long demanded that his daughters should be given more prominent roles within the Royal Family, but Prince Charles has reportedly resisted this idea.

The row escalated after Andrew, 56, wrote to his mother demanding that Beatrice, 28, and Eugenie, 26, who receive no public funding, carry out full-time royal duties supported by the Sovereign Grant – the public purse which funds the royals' work.

The letter was originally drafted by the Duke's private secretary and "gatekeeper" Amanda Thirsk, and complained about the princesses being in danger of being overshadowed by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry when Charles becomes king.

It asked the Queen that his daughters, who are seventh and eighth in line to the throne, be given better accommodation at Kensington Palace instead of having to tolerate "small" apartments at St James' Palace.

Sources claim that that the heir to the throne believes there "is no public appetite" for more minor royals on the payroll and wants a "streamlined" monarchy when he takes the reign.

Queen Elizabeth (4th L) stands on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (L), Prince Charles (2nd L), Princess Anne (3rd L), Prince Andrew (4th R), Prince Harry (3rd R), Prince William (R) and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge af

According to the Daily Express, the Queen was so stunned by the letter that she felt unable to reply and handed it to her private secretary Christopher Geidt to handle.

He raised the issue directly with Charles – who suggested that someone in government should inform his younger brother that while he will continue to play a formal role in the Royal Family in the future – his daughters will not.

A source said: "The Prince of Wales is already conscious that he divides opinion more than his mother. The last thing he wants is additional criticism by keeping peripheral royals on the public payroll."

Charles' austerity on the matter is understood to have caused friction with the Earl and Countess of Wessex also, who both gave up careers to become full-time working royals. The Queen has decreed that Prince Edward will inherit his father's title as the Duke of Edinburgh in order to preserve his status in the royal pecking order.

prince charles

A senior royal aide told the Mail on Sunday that while Charles was fond of the princesses, he will not be swayed by his decision. They told the publication: "HRH has read the runes on this and doesn't believe there is public appetite for a large, unwieldy monarchy in the future – and that includes the York girls.

"It is one thing for [Charles'] brothers and sisters to continue the work they do, but quite another for their children to be afforded the same role and status. It is unjustifiable in this day and age."

The Queen's other children, Princess Anne and Prince Edward, did not seek royal titles or roles for their children.

Princess Beatrice Graduation

Princess Beatrice and Eugenie's place in the monarchy has long concerned members of the royal household. The sisters, particularly Beatrice, have a reputation for enjoying long, lavish and frequent holidays.

Beatrice jetted abroad 18 times between December 2014 and December 2015 alone – which included several trips to the Caribbean and a stay on Roman Abramobich's superyacht in Spain. She stepped down from her last job as an associate at Sandbridge Capital in summer 2016 – the fourth role she has quit in five years – to "pursue her entrepreneurial ambitions" before holidaying in Greece and France.

Princess Eugenie has carved out a career in the art world since returning to London in 2015 from New York, getting a job as an associate director for the Hauser & Wirth art gallery.

Neither sibling conducts royal duties, although as members of the royal family they are involved in certain activities. In 2010 they lost their 24-hour taxpayer-funded police protection after it was argued the estimated £500,000-a-year expense was unjustifiable.

Queen Elizabeth II

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