William is believed to have quite a distant relationship with his cousins in recent years. It appears that as William has expanded his family, the spotlight has gradually shifted away from the York sisters and onto the Cambridges. Additionally, Prince Charles has made it clear that he wants to implement a slimmed down monarchy when he takes to the throne.
It became evident Beatrice and Eugenie would be first among the royals to lose their privileges when they had to give up their paid-for protection officers in 2011 in a cost-cutting measure.
However, according to journalist Catherine Ostler, tensions between the York sisters and their cousin really began to build much earlier, after Princess Diana’s tragic death in 1997.
Writing in the Daily Mail in 2016, she explained: “It is hard to imagine that at one time, William and Harry and Beatrice and Eugenie felt almost like equals.”
A source told the writer: “Diana would take the boys swimming at Fergie’s house every Sunday.
“In 1996, they all went on holiday together to the South of France.
“They were so close despite the age gap [there are six years between William and Beatrice]. It’s tragic really.”
Ms Ostler explained: “Then Diana, the link between the two sets of children, died.”
Diana and Sarah Ferguson — affectionately known as Fergie — knew each other before they married into the Royal Family, as they were fourth cousins and were in the same social circles.
Fergie wrote in her 1996 autobiography: “She was two years younger than I, and I strove to support and protect her as I would a younger sister — as I still do today, as a best friend.”
Diana later acted as cupid when put Fergie’s name forward for a dinner at Windsor Castle, enabling her to bond with her future husband Prince Andrew.
According to Town & Country magazine in 2018, “Sarah brought out Diana’s cheeky, fun side — often with disapproval from others, including members of the family”.
However, they did have a certain rivalry, too.
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According to biographer Andrew Morton, Diana once told him that Fergie “wooed everybody in this family” leaving Diana “looking like dirt”.
The pair fell out in late 1996 and, although Fergie claims she does not know why, it’s believed Diana was frustrated with her sister-in-law’s portrayal of her in her autobiography.
Charles has been gradually distancing himself from Fergie ever since she split from Andrew in 1992.
A source told Ms Ostler that the Prince of Wales “cannot even stand the mention of her name”.
This tension between Beatrice and Eugenie’s mother and William’s father ended up rubbing off on the cousins.
William did not invite Fergie to his wedding, which she later said upset her.
Ms Ostler explained: “Regardless of their mother’s actions, Beatrice and Eugnei could certainly be forgiven for agreeing with those who thought it a little small-minded of William, who controlled the guest list, to so humiliate her.”