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Princess Eugenie supports Queen Camilla in rare move - details

The royal, who is mum to August and Ernest, turned storybook teller

Princess Eugenie read Elmer to schoolchildren© Matt Crossick / PA
Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
Updated: March 21, 2024
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Princess Eugenie showed her support for a cause close to Queen Camilla's heart as she read to schoolchildren in Chelsea on Thursday.

The royal, who turns 34 on Saturday, told the classic tale of Elmer the Patchwork Elephant by David McKee to mark the launch of the Elephant Family charity's Little Egg Hunt.

Eugenie looked elegant in a burgundy coat and a floral midi dress as she animatedly read the story to the youngsters in the middle of Sloane Square.

The Little Egg Hunt has returned to Chelsea after a ten-year hiatus and features egg-shaped sculptures designed by some notable names, including Anya Hindmarch and Philip Colbert.

Elephant Family was founded by Queen Camilla's late brother, Mark Shand, in 2003 and works to protect the Asian elephant from extinction in the wild.

Eugenie, who is patron of the charity, told ITN: "It was so important to be here because I've worked with Elephant Family for so many years now and they're a charity so close to my heart, so close to my family's heart and Mark Shand, who started the charity, was a dear friend.

Princess Eugenie smiles as she reads to schoolchildren© Justin Goff
Eugenie read Elmer The Patchwork Elephant to the children

"What they're doing in saving elephants and making sure people are aware of what's going on around elephants and in wildlife is so important for the world to know. The legacy that they've created and the excitement around egg hunts or elephant [sculpture] hunts, a few years ago, it brings elephants to London.

Princess Eugenie reads to schoolchildren in © Justin Goff
The Little Egg Hunt exhibition is on display around Chelsea, London

"I think bridging that gap between what happens in the wild, although we might not see it every day, actually you can come to a city and learn about just what goes on and how elephants really need to be looked after and protected because there is this human-wildlife conflict happening, and it's so important that elephants live in peace and humans live in peace."

Eugenie with artist Philip Colbert and his creation© Matt Crossick / PA
Eugenie with artist Philip Colbert and his creation

The exhibition comes ahead of the ten-year anniversary of Mark's passing. Camilla's younger brother was a travel writer and conservationist, who tragically died at the age of 62 on 23 April 2014 after sustaining a serious head injury caused by a fall outside the Rose Bar of the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York.

Mark Shand and Princess Eugenie in New York, 2014© Getty
Eugenie with Mark Shand in New York in January 2014

King Charles and Queen Camilla are joint Royal Presidents of Elephant Family and host an annual ball for the charity at Clarence House, where guests are encouraged to wear animal masks.

Eugenie, who shares her uncle King Charles' passion for conservation and the environment, took her eldest son August to view a previous exhibition by the Elephant Family in London's Green Park in 2021 when he was just four months old.

Eugenie and baby August in front of wooden elephant in 2021© Instagram / @princesseugenie
Eugenie with baby August in 2021

The Princess and her husband, Jack Brooksbank, welcomed her second son, Ernest, in May 2023.

Visitors can enjoy the Little Egg Hunt around Chelsea from 20 to 14 April 2024.

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