The Queen's granddaughter recalled how dyslexia caused "doubt" in the classroom — and how she is working to help schools support dyslexic students

By Stephanie Petit
May 26, 2020 12:35 PM
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Princess Beatrice

Princess Beatrice is helping the next generation understand that dyslexia is not a disability.

In a new video for Made by Dyslexia, the 31-year-old daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson opens up about being dyslexic — and how the learning disorder related to language processing has actually been beneficial.

Princess Beatrice said that working at a technology company, she is able to rely on her communication skills — and notes that many of her coworkers are also dyslexic.

"I think that’s one of the strengths we have as dyslexic is to look at things differently, be a problem solver, find new ways to do things, be experimental, entrepreneurial," Beatrice explains.

The royal added that dyslexia "really does affect me day-to-day."

"It develops as you develop, it grows. It’s part of you, it’s part of how your brain develops. It is not something that is wrong with you. It is a great part of how your brain works, and everybody’s brain works incredibly differently," she said. "There is nothing wrong, there is just everything that is so right."

Despite her confidence today, Princess Beatrice opened up about feeling self-conscious at school when her friends and classmates were ahead of her.

"I was very lucky, I got to go to a school that was very nurturing and very supportive, but I would describe the actual day-to-day learning side of things very challenging. You know, I remember we had different colored books to describe how far where your reading levels had got to and I was always on the white books. My best friends were always on the yellow books or the green books. They were so far ahead," Beatrice said. "And I think at that stage, those moments of doubt just pop into your head. I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough. Why am I not like the others?"

She continued, "I think when you’re in the classroom, those moments are very defining. I think if I were to say to my younger self do not be defined by those moments that happened to you in that exam or that classroom because they are lifelong learnings. They are lessons that you carry with you, and they build you up to be who you are.”

Princess Beatrice

The royal shared how schools can support dyslexic students today, sharing that she's "really excited" about all the work done to create different ways of learning, including technology such as online tutoring and homework help.

"So I really see the work that we’re doing, raising awareness around dyslexia as a true pillar to stand up the concept of reimagining education because so many young people now are going to be faced with some of the biggest moral and ethical decisions, you really want to make sure they have every tool for success," Beatrice said.

Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi
CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Princess Beatrice was set to marry fiancé Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi at St. James’s Palace in London on May 29 with a reception to follow at her grandmother Queen Elizabeth’s gardens at Buckingham Palace. However, they canceled their nuptials due to the lockdown in the U.K. amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In her first public appearance since her wedding news, Princess Beatrice recorded a video for her patronage, the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity.

Beatrice previously opened up for World Book Day about her struggles with dyslexia, which affects 1 in 5 people around the world, as a child.

"Reading was really hard work, even trying to get through the pages of some of the simple school reading books," she said. "I could not understand why I was still reading behind my classmates. It was at this point that stories became one of the key things which inspired me."

With her parents’ guidance, Beatrice says that she overcame the challenges the learning disorder presented, and by age 11, was "tearing through" the Harry Potter series.

Princess Beatrice
Press Association via AP Images

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And when her younger sister Princess Eugenie married Jack Brooksbank in Oct. 2018, Beatrice served as maid of honor and read a a passage from the iconic American novel The Great Gatsby.

The moment "really stood out," a wedding guest told PEOPLE. "What really came out was how amazing she is. It was one of the strongest things, because the acoustics aren’t that great in the church, and her reading was amazing."