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Princess Eugenie’s decision to show a surgery scar on her wedding day inspired a cancer survivor to be more body confident.
Eugenie and her sister Beatrice spent time on a video call with young people going through cancer treatment, and spoke to Darcy Shaw, who praised Eugenie for her dress decision.
The 21-year-old told the royal sisters: “I’ve always struggled with my body image, way before I got diagnosed with cancer, and anxiety and mental health issues. I was quite recently diagnosed – in February – and now have a scar on my neck and chest from surgery. And I thought to myself ‘Well, everything is going to plummet’.
“But, actually, the complete opposite has happened, and I put that entirely down to all the support I’ve had through the lockdown. I’ve attended body image workshops with Teenage Cancer Trust, and it’s boosted my confidence, I can’t believe it.”
Eugenie put her hands in the air and replied: “Woo – I love hearing that, Darcy. I have a big old scar down my back and I’m proud to show it off.”
Eugenie’s wedding dress had a low back at her request to show the scar she got when she got from an operation to correct a curvature of her spine.
Shaw, who was diagnosed with skin cancer in February, said: “I saw pictures of you in your wedding dress and the scar, and it inspired me that you were so open about it and wanted to have it on show.”
Shaw asked Eugenie about the choice, relating it to her own thoughts about buying clothes that would hide the surgery scar on her chest when she becomes a teacher in the next year.
The princess, 30, said that her scars were “beautiful” and told a “wonderful story”, adding that for her it may also have been “harrowing” but that she could be a role model for others.
Eugenie and Beatrice, 31, are honorary patrons for the Teenage Cancer Trust, and spoke to six young people who are being supported by the charity’s services in the North West.
Teenage Cancer Trust staff told the princesses about how they had transferred all their work on to digital platforms, and they had more people engaging with their services during lockdown.
Caitlin Wilde, who has finished treatment but has ongoing complications related to a previous stem cell transplant, said of one of the staff members: “Steve’s been putting on online bingo and all sorts and to begin with I thought, I don’t want to do it, I thought it would be a bit cringe.
“But taking part has been a lot of fun.”
Jack Fielding added: “You actively look forward to these events as well. For me they’ve really been a lifeline.”
Eugenie donned flowery glasses after suggesting “we should play bingo as well”.
Princess Beatrice said: “We’ve grown up with Teenage Cancer Trust, we’ve been part of this family our entire lives, and it was so amazing to speak with these young people and some of the incredible team who are supporting them through this crisis.
“They have been through so much already, and as we start to come out of lockdown, many young people will remain in very difficult situations, often separated from friends and family, at home or in hospital.
“We must not forget about them, and charities like Teenage Cancer Trust who are working so hard to help them cope.”
Teenage Cancer Trust chief executive Kate Collins praised the royal sisters for their “heartfelt” support.
She said of the young people: “Sadly, for them and others, this isn’t their first experience of shielding and the isolation this can bring. Young people facing cancer often feel isolated from their friends and peers, who are moving on with their lives.
“Put a global pandemic on top of that, and it is essential that Teenage Cancer Trust is able to work even harder to make sure young people don’t face cancer alone.”
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie are not working royals, but have private patronages. Their work is not done on behalf of the Queen.