This new breed of minor royal is more likely to be on the ’gram than at a garden party. Clara Strunck is your guide
Since Meghan and Harry bid the UK farewell for an “authentic” LA life of primetime interviews and Netflix collabs, many have questioned their decision to remain the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. But there’s a certain cachet to having a title — and one that can lead to some juicy jobs. Princess Diana’s nieces, Ladies Kitty and Amelia Spencer, for instance, are both managed by Storm modelling agency and have become influencers in their own right, while Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie have nice little numbers in consulting and art respectively.
For every working royal, though, there’s a royal-slash-socialite, or “royalite”: a minor member of the family treading the fine line between private citizen and representative of Her Majesty. “They will be expected to uphold the values of the Crown and not let the side down,” says Victoria Arbiter, CNN’s royal commentator and daughter of Dickie Arbiter, former press secretary to the Queen. “The Queen does not rule with an iron fist and she would never presume to tell private members of the extended family what they can and can’t do. As with all things ‘royal’, it’s a delicate balance.”
Meanwhile, over in Europe, royalites are somewhat less constrained by the concept of duty — the greater the distance to the top job, the more room there is to play. And play they do, on the slopes of St Moritz, at fashion weeks around the globe and on yachts moored in the Med, all the while accompanied by droves of aristocratic friends. Read on for the European royalites to know — as well as the up(per class)-and-coming Brits.
Princess Maria-Olympia of Greece at New York fashion week last year YUCHEN LIAO
The fashion It girl
Princess Maria-Olympia of Greece
She hangs out with Paris Hilton, Poppy Delevingne and Princess Eugenie, spends winters in St Moritz and summers at the family pad in Porto Heli, has her own agent and was once a Tatler cover star. The 24-year-old is the oldest child of Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece, whose father, King Constantine II, was the country’s last ruler before the monarchy was abolished in 1973. Maria-Olympia has links to the British royal family too: her godfather is Prince Charles, and in 2016 she was rumoured to be keeping it in the family by dating Prince Harry. Indeed, Maria-Olympia has quite the party reputation and once got in trouble for giving the middle finger on the ’gram (@olympiagreece). These days the NYU graduate models for glossy magazines and brands and is known for planning a barnstorming party. Her 21st — held in Gloucestershire, to which she wore Gucci rainbow flatforms — was attended by aristocrats and celebs, including Valentino Garavani, Nicky Rothschild and Lauren Santo Domingo.
From left: Samuel and Arthur Chatto
The Gen Z pin-ups
Samuel and Arthur Chatto
Princess Margaret’s grandsons Sam and Arthur Chatto — 27th and 28th in line to the throne, respectively — are the royal heartthrobs for Gen Z. Floppy-haired Sam, 24, is a bohemian teen’s dream: a ceramicist and trained yoga teacher, he spends most of his time dressed in clay-splattered overalls at his studio in West Sussex (@samchatto). He has been romantically linked with vegan blogger Sophie Pipe. By contrast, Sam’s younger brother, Arthur, 22, is a rugged, sporty type. A former junior army cadet, he’s into ice diving in Greenland and climbing the Matterhorn, and is the youngest person to have rowed around Britain, to raise money for ocean preservation. A personal trainer and ambassador for sports gear in his downtime, Arthur loves a topless Insta selfie (@artchatto) and (unsurprisingly) has a very active fan account.
Princess Scilla Ruffo di Calabria NICK HARVEY
The royal raver
Princess Scilla Ruffo di Calabria
Once described by society bible Tatler as Italy’s answer to the wild socialite Lady Mary Charteris, 35-year-old Scilla (@scillaruffo) is perhaps the only DJ with noble roots dating back to the 11th century. She was previously linked with Prince William when he was in his early twenties — her father, Prince Augusto, described Wills as having “good taste” — but now she keeps her private life low-key. Her career, however, is booming: a regular on the decks at events for Miu Miu, Loewe and Armani, she’s also a hot ticket at the weddings of friends such as Prince Antonius zu Fürstenberg and Countess Matilde Borromeo. When it comes to the playlist, she favours Iggy Pop, the Beatles and Creedence Clearwater Revival over anything too modern. Her response to anyone requesting a banger? “Go to a club.”
The classic blue-blood
Zenouska, or Zen as she prefers to be known, is 61st in line to the throne and counts King George V as her great-great-grandfather, Flora Vesterberg as her cousin and Princess Eugenie as a childhood friend. Head of marketing at royal warrant holder Halcyon Days, 30-year-old Zen can be spotted giving excellent hat game everywhere from Royal Ascot to Trooping the Colour, usually in a Carolina Herrera dress. Notoriously good fun and a die-hard Manolo Blahnik fan, Zen is also a keen rider (practically a royal requisite) and once swam from Albania to Corfu for charity. Catch her on her supremely entertaining Instagram (@zenouska1), a mash-up of party pictures from the Château de Versailles and barbecues with friends.
Flora Vesterberg DANIELE VENTURELLI
The jet-set aesthete
The granddaughter of Princess Alexandra, 26-year-old Bristol University graduate Flora Vesterberg (née Ogilvy) is the Queen’s first cousin twice removed, making her 58th in line to the throne. A hotshot art consultant, Flora gives talks for Sotheby’s, Soho House and Christie’s on the contemporary market, when she’s not hitting the books for her masters in history of art at the Courtauld Institute. She’s a regular fixture on the aristo social scene, from the Serpentine Summer Party to art openings in LA (@floravesterberg). Spot her in a designer frock (favourites include Missoni, Ralph Lauren and Armani) with her dashing Swedish husband, Timothy. Last year they married at Queen Victoria’s wedding venue, the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace. The bride wore Emilia Wickstead, natch.
Princess Eleonore von Habsburg JACOPO RAULE
The catwalk queen
Princess Eleonore von Habsburg
Her full title is the Archduchess of Austria and Royal Princess of Hungary, Bohemia and Croatia — casual. After attending Le Rosey in Gstaad, favoured school of the über-rich, 27-year-old Eleonore studied law in London, then went on to retrain as a jeweller (@eleonorehabsburg) and also walked the Dolce & Gabbana catwalk. Last summer she married Jérôme d’Ambrosio, a Belgian former Formula E driver, whom she met four years ago on a flight from London to Nice. Her brother, Ferdinand, is also a racing driver and heir apparent to the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, a strand of what was one of the longest reigning royal houses in the history of Europe. Like the British royals, Eleonore loves horses and took her husband trekking in the Dolomites for their honeymoon. She’s keen that’s where the similarities end, however: in the past she has said it “must be bad” to be a British royal, “always observed like that”.
Princess Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis GISELA SCHOBER
The regal rebel
Princess Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis
No fashion party is complete without 39-year-old Elisabeth — or TNT — on the guest list. The scion of one of Germany’s most aristocratic families, she grew up in a 500-room palace filled with 18th-century frescoes and contemporary art (Jeff Koons is a family friend). Based in London, the US Vogue contributor jets between Kenya, Italy and New York, mixing with the likes of Margherita Missoni and Delfina Delettrez at the fashion weeks, with her dachshund, Ciro, in tow. On Instagram (@elisabethtnt) she posts selfies with her boss, Anna Wintour (a “legend”), and her mother, Gloria, Dowager Princess of Thurn und Taxis (@gloriaisaprincess). Gloria rides a Harley-Davidson Softail Springer and was once known as the “punk princess” for her nonstop social life. Like mother, like daughter.