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Page last updated at 11:00 GMT, Wednesday, 23 September 2009 12:00 UK
Princess Eugenie makes her mark

BBC royal correspondent Nick Witchell
By Nick Witchell
BBC royal correspondent

Princess Eugenie arrives in Newcastle to study English and History of Art

She is a granddaughter of the Queen and sixth in line to the throne.

Under the eccentric rules which govern precedence within the British royal family she is - as the daughter of a son of the monarch - entitled to royal rank.

So she is "Her Royal Highness" (as opposed to the children of her aunt, Princess Anne, who, as the daughter of a monarch, did not confer royal style on her children - so they are plain Peter and Zara Phillips).

But for all that, as she knows very well, HRH Princess Eugenie Victoria Helena of York is a young royal who needs to make her own mark in the world through her own endeavours.

The future of the British royal family lies in the Wales/Spencer bloodline.

Shaping her life

The monarchy of a future King William V will be a streamlined affair, with a much sharper focus on the monarch and his immediate family.

First cousins will be on the margins, in very much a supporting role.

These students thought the princess would enjoy living in Newcastle

So Princess Eugenie's decision to pursue her academic studies in Newcastle can be seen as a sign of her determination to shape a life on her terms, in as much as that's possible.

She has shown that she is academically above average, with GCSEs which included two A*s, four As and three Bs.

Perhaps that was no more than should have been expected of someone who had the benefit of an expensive education at a private school in Windsor and then at Marlborough College.

But the results were perhaps more than might have been expected of the younger offspring of two parents, neither of whom had shown themselves to be academically-inclined.

So Eugenie's decision to leave the predictable path for a princess and head north to Newcastle for a university education is an unusual step - and an undoubted coup for the university.

It is also a further sign that she is a more-than-usually grounded young royal who appreciates that the princesses of the future will need to show what they're capable of.




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