The Royal Family's Leading Ladies Without Makeup Is A Must-See

We're used to seeing the royal family's leading ladies looking glamorous and polished. But they're not all ballgowns and tiaras. They're just like us — but way richer and way more privileged — but they're not always dressed to the nines with perfectly coiffed hair and makeup.

Nobles must adhere to an insufferably long list of royal dress codes. There's a strict "no knees" policy, a covered shoulders mandate, and an unhealthy obsession with nude-colored pantyhose. There are also guidelines on beauty: bright-colored lipstick and nail polish are frowned upon, and simple, light, flawless makeup and immaculately styled hair, without any errant gray peeking through, are essential. No panda eyes and scrunchies allowed.

Rules are there to be broken, though. Meghan Markle made some controversial style decisions during her time with the Firm. However, she paid the price for them in the court of public and elite opinion. Meghan faced criticism for wearing a sleeveless dress and regularly came under fire for the sin of dressing casually in jeans. Still, Queen Elizabeth II did pretty much what she wanted when she was alive, but that was a perk of being the person who made the rules. Elizabeth was more often spotted dressed in tweeds and a headscarf, zipping around in her Land Rover, than stepping out of limos and shaking hands with the elite while decked out in diamonds and natty hats. And the royal family's other leading ladies have been snapped without makeup from time to time.

Sarah Ferguson is a proud bare-faced beauty

As the ex-wife of Britain's favorite scandal-plagued, disgraced royal, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Sarah, Duchess of York, is no longer forced to abide by royal protocol. Although, in fairness, she wasn't a big fan of doing so even while married to Andrew. Sarah, AKA flame-haired Fergie, has always marched to the beat of her own drum.

Like Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Fergie was hammered by the British press and public for her style choices. She was persistently compared, unfavorably, to Diana, Princess of Wales, fat-shamed and called horrendous names — the tabloids dubbed her "Duchess of Pork" and "Fat Fergie." Not surprisingly, it stung. "It took my opinion of myself to absolutely nothing, a piece of dirt," she told The Observer in October 2002. "And maybe I had to reach that point to start to put myself back together."

"I lost all my self-esteem, I lost any confidence I had, I lost myself, completely, and I don't want any girl to have to go through that," she told the Child Mind Institute in December 2012. "So I focus a lot of my attention on building self-esteem at a very young age." Somehow, Fergie managed to build herself back up again, and these days, she doesn't feel the need to always be polished and made up to the nines. She's happy to be bare-faced, regularly stepping out without a scrap of makeup.

Kate Middleton isn't afraid to go au natural

Catherine, Princess of Wales, rarely puts a foot wrong style-wise. She is often compared to her late mother-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales, and lauded for her grace and seemingly effortless beauty. Kate isn't afraid to forego makeup when she's out and about, though — and when she does wear it, it's usually understated and natural-looking.

Kate often does her own makeup. Still, rumors that she did so for her wedding have proven false. According to Royal Style Watch, Hannah Martin from Bobbi Brown Cosmetics was responsible for Kate's look on her big day. However, the bride-to-be did apply the finishing touches, having been tutored in the art of makeup by skincare guru Arabella Preston. Kate is so comfortable with her application skills that she reportedly ditched the makeup artist for her Mario Testino official engagement photos and post-shoot interview and did it herself. Although a pro was on standby in case of any emergencies.

As the future Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Kate is the picture of self-confidence and poise. But it hasn't always been that way. A pal told the Daily Mail that Kate was shy and reserved when they were at school. "Apparently, she had been bullied very badly, and she certainly looked thin and pale," the source claimed. "She had very little confidence."

Meghan Markle is comfortable with the skin she's in

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, is used to life in the spotlight. Before she married Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, she was a Hollywood actor. So, not surprisingly, Meghan knows how to look flawless for the camera. Still, that doesn't mean she feels the need to be covered in makeup around the clock.

Meghan is comfortable with the skin she's in and is becoming even more self-assured as she ages. "I think as you get older, you feel more confident, and you don't need to put that much effort in — to be able to throw your hair up in that very French way [of] doing things. If your outfit is on point, one thing has to be off for you to look perfect," she told Glamour in May 2017.

Still, Meghan has had to endure more than her fair share of hateful abuse over her appearance. She opened up about the vicious cyberbullying she was subjected to during a film festival panel at SXSW in March 2024. "I keep my distance from [social media] right now for my wellbeing," Meghan said. "But the bulk of the bullying and abuse I was experiencing in social media and online was when I was pregnant with Archie and with Lili, and with a newborn, with each of them. You just think about that and wrap your head around why people would be so hateful. It's not catty; it's cruel."

Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice like to keep it real

The British monarchy is notoriously formal, stuffy, and elitist. However, a few nobles are relatively down-to-earth and relatable, such as Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. Having Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Sarah, Duchess of York, as your parents doesn't make for the easiest of rides growing up. Both have weathered more than the average number of scandals and disgraces, with no end seemingly in sight for Andrew. Still, for all intents and purposes, Beatrice and Eugenie appear grounded and well-rounded — well, for the royal family at least.

Unlike many other members of the Firm, Beatrice and Eugenie have an active social media presence that seems largely real-life and unfiltered. The two regularly post candid pics on Instagram showing them hanging out together or with their husbands and kids. And both of Queen Elizabeth II's granddaughters like to keep it real and informal — posing bare-faced and happy.

However, sadly, both Beatrice and Eugenie have been subjected to cruel attacks from haters over their appearance and fashion choices. "I don't believe that there are many things in life that can make you feel more vulnerable, more helpless, more alone than being bullied," Beatrice told the audience at WE Day UK in 2018. "When stones are being thrown, we reassure each other that people don't often understand how hurtful they can be — especially in the world we live in today," Eugenie added.

Queen Camilla blazes her own trail

Queen Camilla is more at home hanging out in the stables and kennels than in royal circles, and she prefers to go makeup-free and casual. She's a no-nonsense and practical country girl with little time for frivolity and fuss. Still, since becoming the wife of King Charles III, Camilla's been forced to switch the tweeds for more formal attire when out in public, at least most of the time anyway. Camilla favors simple and classic styles but likes to change things up for a night on the town and bust out with sumptuous fabrics and patterns. However, she always keeps her makeup minimal and understated.

Camilla refuses to follow the royal standard of dark, bold lipstick favored by the late Queen Elizabeth II. Instead, she adheres to a more natural-looking beauty aesthetic. Camilla's makeup artist, Marina Sandoval, told Harpers Bazaar that her famous client sticks to a "less is more" ethos.

Camilla was painted in an unflattering light due to her affair with King Charles III while he was married to Diana, Princess of Wales. Camilla was regularly compared to Diana — a beauty standard that few, if any, women could live up to. But thick-skinned Camilla always took it in her stride and didn't place stock on her appearance. Author Penny Junor told Vanity Fair in January 2022 that Camilla didn't miss a beat when the actor Elaine Stritch once told her she looked great. "You need eyeglasses," she shot back.