Tabloids target Princess Bea-kini
Mon, May 26, 2008
The Straits Times
LONDON - Britain's press has found a new royal target after Princess Beatrice was photographed wearing a bikini that displayed her curvy hips.

London's Daily Mail newspaper, which has dubbed her Pampered Miss Piggy, said: 'Can't someone buy the poor girl a sarong? For her sake, as well as ours.'

Even the comparatively staid Sunday Times asked whether the exceedingly well-rounded princess should have covered up while on vacation in St Barthelemy in the French West Indies.

Just over six months ago, the media was reporting a concerted effort to build Brand Beatrice around the 19-year-old daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, who is fifth in line to the throne.

So the long-tressed royal appeared alongside her mother on the catwalk at the grand finale of London Fashion Week. Images of Beatrice clad in a gorgeous Dolce & Gabbana dress were plastered everywhere.

Then there was her role in an upcoming film about her great-great-great-great-great-grandmother called The Young Victoria.

Her romance with Dave Clark, 25, an American working on Richard Branson's space-tourism project Virgin Galactic, has been followed closely by the paparazzi, sparking discussion of plans to make her the first member of the royal family to travel into space.

So what went wrong?

'Everything's always going to be an uphill struggle for Princess Beatrice,' said Max Clifford, one of London's best-known publicists. 'The tabloids have never liked her mother, and so the daughter is inheriting a lot of the animosity.'

He added: 'It's a shame, because it seems she's a very caring, bright girl.'

Bikinigate, as the British press called it, sparked a vigorous defence of her daughter from Ferguson, the Duchess of York.

'Bea is a healthy size 10, she's a fabulous girl, she has a completely good heart,' she told reporters.

The longtime spokesman for Weight Watchers in the United States was years ago nicknamed the 'duchess of pork' because of her own weight battles. By most accounts, she's been very close to both Beatrice and her other daughter, Eugenie, since divorcing Prince Andrew in 1996 after a 10-year marriage.

Following her counter-attack, the publicity tide already might be turning back in favour of the princess.

She has been praised for her high grades as she sets off to begin her history degree at Goldsmiths College in London in September.

Currently she's gaining some 'work experience' by acting as a personal shopper at Selfridges department store.

And her choice of a garish headpiece decorated with a flock of butterflies for the wedding of Princess Anne's son Peter Phillips to Autumn Kelly last Saturday was commended by many fashion writers as delightfully daring.


'Bea is a healthy size 10, she's a fabulous girl, she has a completely good heart'
Sarah Ferguson, coming to her daughter's defence when the press had a field day over photographs of a curvy Princess Beatrice frolicking on the beach with boyfriend Dave Clark

'Everything's always going to be an uphill struggle for Princess Beatrice. The tabloids have never liked her mother, and so the daughter is inheriting a lot of the animosity'
Max Clifford, a London publicist, on Princess Beatrice and Sarah Ferguson, seen here hitting the catwalk at London Fashion Week last year

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