When the Queen invited her nearest and dearest to a pre-Christmas lunch, the code was dress to impress.
Quite what she thought about the new ‘tragus’ piercing being sported by the Duke of Kent’s grand-daughter, 20-year-old Lady Marina-Charlotte Windsor, though, is anyone’s guess.
For the uninitiated, the tragus is the small flap of cartilage that sticks out in front of the ear canal.
The piecing is usually made with a small hollow needle. According to those in the know, they ‘hurt like hell’.
It wouldn’t have been the first time the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have seen such an outlandish body piercing.
Zara, who had her tongue pieced when she was just 17 at a tattoo parlour near her boarding school, Gordonstoun, for just £35, famously unveiled her stud to the rest of the Royal Family at uncle Prince Charles’s 50th birthday party in 1998.
Fortunately her unflappable mother, Princess Anne, took it all entirely in her stride and just asked her if she was able to speak properly.
Lady Marina was educated privately at £30,000-a-year St Mary’s, Ascot and is believed to be on a gap year ahead of studying at Oxford with hopes of working for the United Nations or pursuing a career in international diplomacy - a talent she might have needed to use while chatting to Prince Philip about her piercing over the dinner table.
The tragus piercing was made popular by celebrities including Scarlett Johansson when she starred in the Woody Allen film Match Point
Her father is the Duke and Duchess of Kent’s eldest son and heir, the genial George, Earl of St Andrew’s, and his Canadian academic wife, Sylvana Tomaselli, who is a don at Cambridge.
She gave up her right to the throne when she followed her mother by being received into the Catholic Church.
She and her family do, however, continue to appear regularly at royal events including on the balcony at Buckingham Palace after Trooping the Colour and at last year’s royal wedding.
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Two years ago Lady Marina, who was named after her great-grandmother, a legendary beauty, and her younger sister, Lady Amelia, and elder brother, Edward, Baron Downpatrick, launched themselves with a glamorous fashion shoot in society bible Tatler magazine, where she wore a series of elegant evening gowns - and no hint of a piercing in sight.
The magazine declared that the two girls had ‘glamour in their genes’ and were the future Windsors to watch - a spot-on prediction if the blue-blooded beauty’s latest adornment is anything to go by.
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