‘We dyslexics look at things differently’ says Princess Beatrice

One of the causes that Princess Beatrice of York supports in the few royal engagements she undertakes is that is dyslexia and learning difficulties. In a video for Made By Dyslexia, the 31-year-old spoke about her own educational experiences with dyslexia and why it is a positive thing.

“The reason why I am so passionate about dyslexia is because of being a dyslexic person myself,” she says in 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.”

Speaking about her school experiences, Princess Beatrice said she was ‘very lucky’ because ‘I got to go to a school that was very nurturing and very supportive’.

Princess Beatrice speaks about her experience with dyslexia (video still)

“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?'”

Princess Beatrice is a dyslexic, and has struggled with it, but she maintains it is a positive difference. She gave a reading at her sister’s wedding in 2018. Picture by Stephen Lock / i-Images

She said these moments can be “very defining’ but that 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.”

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

Beatrice started school at Upton House School, Berkshire, before attending Coworth Park School. She completed her A-Levels at St. George’s School in Ascot.

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words, also called decoding. It affects areas of the brain that process language.

The Princess is patron of the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity,

You might remember that Princess Beatrice gave a reading at Princess Eugenie’s wedding in October 2018, showing just how hard she has worked to be able read publicly. Beatrice read a passage from The Great Gatsby.

“So I really see the work that we’re doing, raising awareness around dyslexia as a true pillar to stand up the concept of reimagining education because so many young people now are going to be faced with some of the biggest moral and ethical decisions, you really want to make sure they have every tool for success,” the Royal explained.

Commenting on the shift in technology and how that is now a focus of the education sector, Beatrice said: “It’s a great time to be a dyslexic now, because that narrative is starting to change. I think employers are really aware they need do have to rely on a different set of skillsets.

“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,” she explained; Beatrice is the Vice President of Partnerships & Strategy for Afiniti, a software company.

She was due to marry fiance Edo this weekend, but Covid-19 has put paid to those plans for now.

“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…be a problem solver, find new ways to do things, be experimental, entrepreneurial.”

“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.”

Watch the full video below:

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