The British Royal Family are a pretty big deal. They’re in the public gaze and receive constant media attention every day.
So it’s natural that many people think they know their business, and that they know all there is to know about the royal family.
Added to that, it seems like the younger members of the royal family are the ones really capturing the public’s imagination at the moment.
So while the Queen enjoys her retirement and probably pours herself another glass of gin (cheers, ma’am), we’re all hanging on every word of William and Harry.
William and Kate have an adorable growing family, and of course Harry’s recent engagement to Meghan Markle was global news. Get ready for their wedding to be on every TV screen you see pretty soon!
So it’s not much of a leap to say that we have almost become experts on the comings and goings of the royal family.
But – and I’m just gonna come right out and say it – I bet you didn’t know that Princes William and Harry have a sister!
I know, right!
People were shocked to discover that Prince William and Harry actually have a sister that almost no one knew about!
Who is she and why have we heard so little about her? Well, it all starts first and foremost because William and Harry are notoriously private people.
They have a long standing love hate relationship with the media, that stretches all the way back to their late mother, Diana Princess of Wales. If you think the media obsession with the likes of William, Harry and Catherine is great, it’s nothing compared to Diana.
The media were so intrusive in Princess Diana’s life that she sheltered the princes away from the public eye as much as she could. Even on the night she died in a tragic car accident, Diana was allegedly being pursued buy paparazzi photographers, which caused her driver to go too fast.
Since the media were blamed in part for the untimely death of their mother, her sons have done as much as they can to keep their private lives out of the glare of the public eye.
How does this relate to this sister they share?
Well, their desire for secrecy is something they share with their stepmother, Camilla Parker Bowles. She married her long-term partner and the princes’ father Prince Charles in 2005, after the couple had been dating for years.
Camilla, after becoming a part of the royal family chose to keep her children as far out of the limelight as possible. And that’s where the princes’ sister comes in, as they have a step sister on Camilla’s side!
The sister that the princes are now related to by marriage is Laura Lopes, daughter of Camilla Duchess of Cornwall. Sheesh, it’s like Game of Thrones up in here!
Born Laura Rose Parker Bowles on 1 January 1978 (yep, her birthday is on new years!), Laura is now princes William and Harry’s elder sister.
And it turns out that she has been hidden in plain view all along, cropping up several times in the princes’ lives and even at important and well-known points!
In 2006, Laura got married to chartered accountant Harry Lopes, who studied at Eton College and the University of Edinburgh, and used to work as a Calvin Klein underwear model. She has three children; Eliza, born in 2007 and fraternal twin boys named Gus and Louis, who came along in 2009.
What does this have to do with the two princes? Well, Eliza was actually a bridesmaid at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011!
Back to Camilla however, apparently when she married Prince Charles, she decided that her daughter – who was just 27 years old at the time of the marriage – should keep her privacy whatever the cost. So that’s why Camilla has done a good job of keeping her out of the public eye when she married Charles.
Because of all this, Laura Lopes continues to live a relatively normal life, and isn’t really hounded by the press in the same way that some of her relatives can be. This is all despite the fact that her step-father will one day be the king!
Laura’s father is Camilla’s first husband Andrew Parker Bowles, and 40 year old Laura also has an older brother called Tom. Tom Parker Bowles is actually reasonably well known in the UK for his work as a writer and a food critic, whilst his sister manages a number of gallery spaces across London for a living.
It’s a pretty flashy job that she’s got as well, and Laura even has connections with the famous Guggenheim art gallery. In 2001, Lopes spent three months as an intern at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, and apparently she still goes back to her old place of work whenever she is in Venice visiting.
More recently, Lopes has managed The Space Gallery in London’s Belgravia area since the mid 2000s, and in 2005 she became a co-founding partner and gallery director of London’s Eleven gallery. Fancy!
Even though her brother Tom has written columns for the Daily Mail and his sister has an important job, you definitely never really hear about them! But despite being out of the public eye, both Laura and Tom enjoy a good relationship with Harry and William.
Probably the next time we see Laura in the public eye – whether people know it or not! – will be attending Harry’s upcoming wedding to Meghan Markle. Most people might not realize who she is watching around the world, but you certainly will now.
While inviting your step sister to your wedding is probably an automatic invite, there is another more controversial family member who scored themselves an invite to Harry and Meghan’s wedding!
One invitation is actually reported to have caused a lot of friction within the royal family, as nobody else wants this person to be there! That would be Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York and mother to Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
Better known in the media as ‘Fergie’ (no, not the Black Eyed Peas singer), Ferguson has been somewhat of an outcast in the royal family after she got divorced from Prince Andrew in the early nineties.
After marriage looked from the outside to be falling apart, she was frequently photographed with other men, despite still being married to Andrew at the time.
The real ‘Fergie’ controversy came when she was even famously photographed on vacation topless by a paparazzi photographer. At the time, this was shocking, and something which was seen as not being proper royal behavior. Maybe it says a lot about the hot water she was in already however that when the same thing happened to Kate Middleton, the royals were far more forgiving.
Since her divorce, Sarah has been largely snubbed by the Royal Family, but Harry has clearly decided to reach out to her by inviting her to his wedding.
So what do you think of princes William and Harry’s media shy step sister? Have you ever heard of her before, and do you find it strange that we seem to ignore her for the most part?
Or do you think it was a wise move for her mother to protect her from the media spotlight, enabling her to live a quiet life away from the cameras? Whatever your thoughts, let us know with a COMMENT, and don’t forget to SHARE this article if you enjoyed it!