Eugenie and her older sister, Princess Beatrice, grabbed headlines when they donned a pair of scene-stealing fascinators by renowned London milliner Philip Treacy to Prince William and Kate Middleton‘s 2011 wedding.
Eugenie’s blue cap, pinned to the front of her head, perfectly matched her blue and green Vivienne Westwood dress, but it was the explosive arrangement of flowers and feathers that sent it over the top. Perhaps even more captivating was Beatrice’s pale pink headpiece topped with a giant bow — which drew comparisons to a pretzel.
“They got hammered in the press and it was a little unfair,” Charlie Anderson, a stylist who worked with the royal siblings for one year after their cousin’s wedding to help “turn around” their image, previously told PEOPLE.
Eugenie, who is set to wed fiancé Jack Brooksbank on Oct. 12, “tends to like more fitted, 1960s shapes, where as Beatrice likes flounce and floral pieces,” explained Anderson. “I think Beatrice has a good eye; she’s been wearing some fabulous pieces over the last few years — she makes daring choices, whereas I think Eugenie is a little more refined in her choices.”
For the nuptials of cousin Prince Harry to Meghan Markle in May, both siblings opted for fairly subtle headwear: Eugenie paired her bespoke Roksanda Viola design in dyed teal silk organza with a simple white pillbox hat by Stephen Jones while Beatrice appeared to be wearing a multi-strand headband by Fiona Graham with her Gainsbourg dress.
The ladies have even used their hats to send messages. Back in May, Eugenie attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace wearing a cinched-in navy dress, matching navy heels and a navy mesh hat a special word written across the brim: “LOVE.” (The event was just weeks after Harry and Meghan’s wedding, and many took the selection as a sweet tribute to her fiancé, as their wedding was officially next in line!)
Shortly after William and Kate’s wedding, Beatrice, 30, auctioned the fascinator off to raise money for charity, fetching $130,000 to go toward UNICEF and Children in Crisis, which was established by her mother.
“It has its own personality, and I am so happy that we have raised the most incredible amount of money and can make an even bigger change for the lives of some of the most vulnerable children across the world,” she said of the dazzling hat at the time.
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Despite making the best of the situation, the duo admitted in a joint interview for British Vogue‘s September issue they often act as “each other’s rocks” when public ridicule gets especially difficult.
“There was a horrible article that had been written about Beatrice and she got really upset. We were just about to step out [at a Buckingham Palace garden party] and she had a bit of a wobble and cried. I was looking after her,” Eugenie, 28, explained. “And then about an hour later, I had a wobble and started crying and Bea was there for me.”
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While Beatrice works for a U.S-based technology company called Afiniti, Eugenie is a director at the London art gallery, Hauser & Wirth. However, they have to balance their everyday careers with their high-profile roles within the royal family.
“It’s hard to navigate situations like these because there is no precedent, there is no protocol,” Beatrice explained. “We are the first: we are young women trying to build careers and have personal lives, and we’re also princesses, and doing all of this in the public eye.”