Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie launch the Great Britain Mini tour at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Photo source: The British Monarchy. Photo © Press Association.
It was what the advertisers would call a Mini adventure: two princesses driving in a car with a union flag painted on the roof dashing from Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate to the British Embassy in an effort to drum up business for UK plc.
What onlookers in the German capital made of it is unclear. The Associated Press, covering the event, reported that bemused tourists had union flags thrust into their hands by British officials to make the welcome for the royal pair appear warmer.
With Eugenie, 22, at the wheel and Beatrice, 24, in the passenger seat, and security detail, local police and excitable photographers bringing up the rear, the publicity stunt took place on a 500m stretch of one-way streets closed to normal traffic for the event.
Which was just as well, as the two managed to run a red light, according to AP, before taking a swift right into the diplomatic sanctity of the British Embassy compound.
Ignoring a red light can attract a €200 fine and a month’s driving ban. Happily, the princesses’ father, the Duke of York, a British trade ambassador himself, has agreed to pay any expenses his daughters incur on this, their first overseas engagement to-gether. Undoubtedly, normal road rules would not apply, and it seemed unlikely the duke would have to stump up. “Of course it’s forbidden but so far we haven’t had any reports,” Berlin’s police spokesman, Carsten Mueller, told AP.
In a short speech, Beatrice said the Great Campaign would showcase the very best of Britain, from culture and technology to music, innovation, and the UK’s “trendsetting fashion”.
It’s fair to say the two have not always wowed in the fashion stakes. But it took a cheeky eight-year-old boy, at the Berlin British School, to broach the tricky question: where did you get that hat?
The headpiece in question was the infamous “turkey twizzler” worn by Beatrice to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s nuptials, which was also compared to a toilet seat and a pretzel by the fashion police at the time. Beatrice told the boy that her friend Philip Treacy had created it. Crucially, she confided, she had not seen it before the wedding. And it wobbled every time she moved.
After attracting so much attention, the hat was auctioned on the internet site eBay, eventually selling for £81,000.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010