The ranking system in royalty is a complex emotional affair, with many royals getting pushed in the line of succession or seniority whenever a new person joins the family either by birth or by marriage. Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie used to be the young female faces of the British royalty, attending engagements with their grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, until Kate Middleton entered the family after her marriage to their cousin Prince William.

The princesses, daughters of the Queen's third child Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, were automatically distanced from the monarch as Kate, the future Queen consort, started accompanying her at events. This was particularly evident during the diamond jubilee celebration of the Queen's reign in 2012, a year after William and Kate's wedding.

Royal journalist Catherine Ostler described the allegedly "chilly" relationship between the princesses and Kate in a column for the Daily Mail in 2016. She quoted one royal insider as saying, "Royalty is all about pecking order, often in a cruelly blunt sense, and it is Kate who has all the toys and the position. It particularly hurt when Kate did solo engagements with the Queen during the Diamond Jubilee. They felt snubbed."

Ostler noted that a picture clicked at a Buckingham Palace garden party days before this article was proof of the frostiness between Kate and the York princesses. She wrote, "the sisters were pictured trailing in the wake of Kate, who was a vision in a fitted cream Alexander McQueen coat. The three women weren't walking together, gossiping companionably, as you might imagine, say, Zara Phillips, Beatrice and Eugenie might have done."

"More than that, the Princesses were giving the Duchess what would appear to be some rather chilly looks," the royal expert added.

Ostler also noted that competition might not be the only reason behind the coldness between the royal women. She said, "From Beatrice and Eugenie remaining close pals with the one woman by whom Kate has ever felt threatened — the stunning Isabella Branson, whom William is said to have propositioned during the couple's brief split — to perceived slights against Kate's sister Pippa by the Princesses, the relationship between the three women is not as easy as it could be."

Kate experiments new look at the 2011 Epsom Derby Festival.
Catherine, Britain's Duchess of Cambridge, (L) stands with Britain's Princess Eugenie as they attend Epsom Derby horse race at Epsom Racecourse in southern England June 4, 2011. Reuters.