The Possible Royal Meaning Behind Princess Eugenie's Tiny Tattoo

Princess Eugenie is not considered a working royal, allowing her to be a bit more laissez-faire with her personal style choices. Just a little bit, though, because as a member of the royal family who routinely shows up in support of the monarchy, she still is held to certain standards. However, that didn't stop her from getting a tattoo.

Eugenie has a small empty circle inked just behind her right ear. It's not super obvious and is often covered by her hair, making it difficult to determine when she visited her chosen tattoo artist. Still, even eagle-eyed royal watchers didn't start noticing the tiny circle until June 2022 when it was (maybe proudly?) on display at a National Service of Thanksgiving in honor of Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee.

Since the debut, speculation has grown as to what the tattoo means. Some believe it represents the Sovereign's Orb, that ultra-fancy golden globe crowned with a cross brought out for royal coronations, and honors her grandmother, the late Queen Elizabeth II. But we're just guessing, as Eugenie hasn't acknowledged the tattoo, much less commented on its symbolism.

Is that legal? Royally speaking?

There are a lot of rules surrounding what the royal family can and cannot do. Interestingly, there doesn't seem to be a particular entry in the rulebook about tattoos. But as the guidelines include that "Nude stockings must be worn to public engagements" and "You cannot take off your coat in public," we're guessing they're not super-fans of body ink. In fact, Princess Eugenie is the only modern higher-ranking royal known to have a tattoo. (Or, at least, a visible one — who knows what's lurking beneath all those button-ups and coat dresses!)

As for less-major royals, we've caught a glimpse of a few other tattoos. For example, Lady Amelia Windsor, third cousin of Prince William and Harry, has at least a handful of tattoos. The British model and sustainable fashion influencer has a tiger on the back of her shoulder, as well as a few designs on her side and wrist. Outside of British royalty, Princess Sofia of Sweden, Princess Stephanie of Monaco, and even Prince Frederik of Denmark all have some form of ink.

Today, we think of "The Firm" as frowning upon tattoos, but historically, they're actually not uncommon within the family. Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, received one in 1869, while Princes Albert Victor and George of Wales (who became King George V) got theirs as teenagers. The teens' ink was sanctioned by their father, King Edward VII, who had ink of his own in the form of a Jerusalem Cross on his arm.

Prince Eugenie is used to bucking tradition

Speaking of pushing the boundaries a little bit, getting inked isn't the first time Princess Eugenie has bucked royal tradition. When she and her sister, Princess Beatrice, were younger, they first broke royal tradition by not taking up horse riding, a beloved British sport. Then, as they aged, the sisters continued to make headlines for breaking with typical royal protocol.

Princess Eugenie occasionally sports manicures with vibrant colors and patterns that certainly don't follow the royal beauty rule that calls for only neutral shades. The royal has been known to make quite the statement with her fashion choices as well. When her first baby, August, was born, she broke with the palace rules by snapping his birth announcement photo with him swaddled in a cute blue knit blanket and hat instead of the customary white blanket. 

Later, she celebrated Halloween with the toddler, which included dressing him up as a blue monster (the British royal family reportedly isn't allowed to celebrate and dress up in public). Her second pregnancy announcement occurred over Instagram instead of the traditional, formal announcement by the palace — yet another bucking of typical royal British formality. But if Princess Eugenie is pushing the boundaries in order to be a great mom, we're all for it! Maybe her next tattoo, if she decides to get one, will be a cute representation of children.