Princess Beatrice opens up about her experiences with dyslexia as a child

By Heather Cichowski

Princess Beatrice is one of the many people who have dyslexia, a language-based learning disability that affects reading, spelling and word-level decoding. In an effort to change the narrative about people with dyslexia and raise awareness about it, the elder Princess of York has opened up in a video to help charity Made By Dyslexia's work.

The global organization is "led by successful dyslexics," and Beatrice discussed her experiences at school as well as her dyslexic strengths.

The 31-year-old appeared in the clip in a periwinkle patch pocket blouse with two pearly barrettes fastened to her ginger hair.

"The reason why I am so passionate about dyslexia is because of being a dyslexic person myself," she said at the start of the video.

"I feel like we really have a responsibility to change the narrative around what we are delivering to young people in the classroom."

The engaged royal went on to recount her experiences at school.

"I was very lucky – I got to go to a school that was very nurturing and very supportive," Sarah Ferguson's eldest daughter explained. "But I would describe the actual day-to-day learning side of things [as] very challenging."

The princess recounted how the different books associated with reading levels made her doubt her abilities when she compared herself to her friends.

"I remember we had different coloured books to describe where your reading levels had got to, and I was always on the white books," she explained. "My best friends were always on the yellow books or the green books, they were so far ahead.

"And I think at that stage, those moments of doubt just pop into your head: 'I'm not good enough, I'm not smart enough, why am I not like the others?'"

Beatrice said these moments in the classroom can be "very defining." She said she would love to tell her younger self "not [to] be defined by those moments that happened to you in that exam or classroom because they are lifelong learnings."

Sarah, Duchess Of York holds little Princess Eugenie's hand on her first day at Upton House School in Windsor in September 1994. Big sister Princess Beatrice holds Eugenie's other hand. Photo: © Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

"They are lessons that you carry with you," she continued. "And they are lessons that build you up to be who you are."

The British royal broadened the discussion to the current learning system and how young students can be so focused on getting something "perfect" for a test yet that they "don't have the opportunity for expression." She said it is a time to really figure out skills-based learning and what it looks like.

Beatrice is working with a number of organizations across the world to hopefully help establish that and what are the skills young people need to thrive! In that, she discussed the potential of tech-based learning and how it can aid all learners.

Beatrice and her fiancé Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi at Christmas in 2019. Photo: © UK Press Pool/UK Press via Getty Images

Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi's partner also spoke about her current job and said she works with a number of people who are dyslexic. According to LinkedIn, she is currently Vice President of Partnerships & Strategy at software company Afiniti.

"I'm very lucky I've been able to find a job that relies on my communication skills a lot more than it is me sitting behind a desk," explained Beatrice.

"A lot of my colleagues also have dyslexia because we work in a technology company that is always about looking at things differently," she said. "And I think that's one of the strengths we have as dyslexics, looking at things differently."

She ended the video with a message to all.

"Dyslexia really does affect me day to day.

"It develops as you develop, it grows. It's part of you, it's part of how your brain develops.

"It is not something that is wrong with you," Beatrice said emphatically. "It is a great part of how your brain works and everybody's brain works incredibly differently.

"There is nothing wrong, there is just everything that is so right."

Chef Jamie Oliver, actress Keira Knightley and former Lord of the Rings star Orlando Bloom have also participated in videos for Made With Dyslexia and recounted their own experiences with the disability.

MORE: Princess Eugenie joins mom Sarah Ferguson on 'Storytime with Fergie and Friends'

It is believed the princess is isolating at her fiancé's family home in Chipping Norton and the Made With Dyslexia video was likely shot there. Beatrice and Edoardo had intended to marry this month, but have postponed their wedding in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The couple was due to marry at the Chapel Royal at St. James's Palace on May 29.

Sarah, Duchess of York talked about the support of both of her daughters during COVID-19 in a recent instalment of "Storytime with Fergie and Friends" featuring Princess Eugenie!

"My darling daughter, there's nobody more in the world, that I love more in the world than you and Beatrice and I'm just so grateful to you both for supporting me during this crazy, this crazy time..." Sarah said in a voiceover at the start of the video.

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