One does love a royal wedding
Perfect ceremony a dream of Eugenie’s
PRINCESS Eugenie was married in a stunning and emotional ceremony at Windsor Castle last night, tying the knot with fiance Jack Brooksbank before 800 guests, including celebrities and the royal family, led by the Queen.
The Princess arrived at St George’s Chapel wearing a layered white gown and a stunning emerald Kokoshnik tiara, loaned by the Queen and a favourite of the late Queen Mother.
Her dress, by London designers Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos, featured a pleated skirt, long sleeves and a bow on the back, similar to that worn by her mother Sarah Ferguson when she married Prince Andrew in 1986.
It featured a relatively low backline for a royal bridal gown at the request of the Princess, to show scars from surgery she had at 12 to correct curvature of the spine.
The bride arrived with father Prince Andrew in a cream 1977 Rolls Royce Phantom VI, the same car Catherine Middleton travelled in to her wedding to Prince William in 2011.
Her mother Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, travelled with her older sister and maid of honour Princess Beatrice. It signalled “Fergie’s” return to the heart of the royals, at least temporarily.
Wearing a bright dress by Ascot dressmaker Ella Louise Design and a Jess Collett hat, Sarah bounced out of her limousine, hugging people in the crowd before walking up the steps into the chapel.
Princess Beatrice wore a blue dress by Australian designers Ralph & Russo and a Sarah Cant Millinery headband.
The sun came out on a wild and windy day as Eugenie, 28, and Jack, 32, exchanged vows.
The groom was visibly nervous, taking his glasses on and off as he waited at the altar.
The Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince William and his wife Catherine and Prince Harry and his wife Meghan – who married at the same chapel five months ago – were among the guests inside the chapel, which was decorated in autumnal colours of pink, purple, orange and deep reds.
Other royals included Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Princess Anne and her husband Sir Tim Laurence, and Zara and Mike Tindall,
The young duchesses stole the fashion show, with Me- ghan in a navy Givenchy dress and coat and a hat by Noel Stewart. Catherine wore a bright pink dress by Alexander McQueen and a matching hat by Philip Treacy.
The Queen and Prince Philip arrived together, the Queen wearing ice blue and peach from her favourite designer, Angela Kelly.
Two of William and Cath- erine’s children, Prince George, 5, and Prince Charlotte, 3, were in the bridal party, with pageboy George wearing a white shirt, blue pants and a green waistband while Charlotte and other bridesmaids wore white dresses and matching green waist bows.
The celebrity-packed wedding attracted guests including models Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, former Australian pop star Holly Valance, Prince Harry’s ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy, and Pixie Geldof, the daughter of Bob Geldof and the late Paula Yates.
Several thousand people lined Windsor High St outside the 1000-year-old castle as the couple embarked on a carriage-ride through the streets, waving to crowds who had shrugged off fierce winds and freezing conditions to welcome them to married life.
Storms in Windsor overnight kept crowds down, and there was none of the hysteria that accompanied the nuptials of Prince Harry and American actor Meghan Markle.
But those royal enthusiasts who did take a day off work to attend the wedding, dressed in
Union Jack waistcoats, hats and glasses, and waved bottles of sparkling wine printed with pictures of Eugenie and Jack.
The grounds of the castle opened at 5am and the 1200 people who won a ballot spot to watch the event from inside the grounds filed in, along with members of charities supported by Princess Eugenie.
Celebrities including pop superstar Robbie Williams were among those who turned out to see the ninth-in-line to the throne say “I will” to her boyfriend of eight years, a former nightclub manager turned wine merchant and tequila salesman.
The royal township of Windsor was decorated with bunting, balloons, and the English Union Jack flag and police had a strong security presence, with all arrivals into the High Street undergoing airport-style scans and bag searches.
With Eugenie’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth the head of the Church of England, the service was a traditional one with none of the flourishes seen in the wedding of bi-racial Meghan to Prince Harry, such as a gospel choir and an animated American preacher. Tenor and family friend Andrea Bocelli sung the haunting hymn Ave Maria, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry also performed.
Princess Beatrice did a reading for the couple, taking inspiration from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.
Mr Brooksbank gave a fist pump sign to Princess Beatrice, who is dyslexic, when she delivered her reading.
Prince Charles’ wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, was not in attendance, opting to attend events in Scotland, reigniting rumours of her rift with Prince Andrew, which dates back more than 20 years.
A S ROYAL protocol dictates, before Prince Harry married his Hollywood bride, Meghan Markle, the first woman he sought wedding permission from was his grandmother, the Queen.
But Her Majesty wasn’t the first in Harry’s family to give the relationship her seal of approval – with his sister-inlaw the Duchess of Cambridge understood to have given her nod to the Suits star.
In the five months before the royal romance was made public, Prince William and his wife reportedly played cupid for the blossoming couple, hosting quiet dinner parties at their home in Apartment 1A of Kensington Palace.
It kept the prying eyes of the paparazzi at bay, but also gave the young lovers time to explore their fledgling relationship with the people who matter most to Harry.
And just as Harry took a nervous Kate Middleton under his wing when she joined “The Firm”, she has since returned the favour by showing his new bride the royal ropes.
Meghan first hinted at her closeness with Catherine – who the family calls Kate – in her engagement interview, describing her help during the transition as “wonderful”.
Royal commentator Katie Nicholl has observed that while “Kate is different to Meghan in many ways, she has made great strides to help Meghan settle in”.
It’s a friendship, she says, “that is still slowly blossoming” but “Kate has gone out of her way to be friendly to Meghan, and Meghan has been very grateful for that”.
Their public displays of affection have both confirmed those differences and the role each woman will play on “Team Royal”, but also just how quickly they have warmed to each other as the wives of two closely bonded brothers. B efore meeting Meghan, Harry was the third wheel in his brother’s relationship, embracing Kate as “the big sister he never had”, Nicholl says.
But finding his own love has been a long time coming for Diana and Charles’ youngest, who was just 12 when his mother died.
Turning to his brother for comfort and security was only natural, but his protection of and devotion to Kate when she became engaged to William was an easy extension of his love for his big brother.
While Kate has had the benefit of being raised British and understanding the long history of the royal family and what was expected of anyone who joined it, Meghan had plenty to catch up on – trading in her career and country; taking on a new religion (christened into the Church of England before her May 19 wedding); and
Kate has gone out of her way to be friendly to Meghan, and Meghan has been very grateful for that ROYAL COMMENTATOR KATIE NICHOLL
learning the laws and protocols of an institution admired – or otherwise – from afar by Americans.
Still, the scrutiny on both women to adjust – and quickly – has been, at times, an unreasonable pressure.
Body language expert Judi James, who assessed the women when they shared a day out at Wimbledon together in July, says Meghan is quite literally looking to Kate for guidance.
“Kate is always very much the pitch-perfect princess in terms of her regal-but-warmlooking body language and the levels of confidence she displays at royal events,” James says. “Her Achilles heel was always Harry, who
often looked duty-bound to make her laugh or giggle, and it seems from the body language here that Meghan might be adopting a similar role to try and forge a familiar and very congruent friendship with her sister-in-law.
“While Kate sits smiling as she watches the tennis, Meghan face-checks her closely in what looks a little like admiration bordering on hero worship.”
The dazzling duo, both with their own distinct senses of style and occasion, have looked to assure each other during events attended by the new “awesome foursome”.
At their first group press call, for the Royal Foundation’s Heads Together initiative in February, it was Meghan who outshone the more experienced Duchess of Cambridge, who is still a tentative public speaker.
Having been in the UK officially for just three months at that stage, Meghan flagged what a “boots on the ground” gal she plans to be.
“It’s very important for me to hit the ground running ... to, even if you’re doing it quietly behind the scenes ... what I have focused my energy on thus far has been meeting with the right people, meeting with the right organisations and learning as much as I can so that I can maximise the opportunity we have here to really make an impact.” S he will have seen the example set by Kate, whose patronages reflect her interests, including a focus on early childhood mental health and sports participation programs, as well as promoting the visual arts (especially photography).
Earlier this week Kate showed she’s a dab hand herself with a paint brush, while husband William watched on, as part of an artist exhibition at the first Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit in London.
Similarly, Meghan’s first solo project – a community cookbook with the survivors of the Grenfell Towers tragedy – reflected her passion for cooking and what a potent force for change she stands to be for female empowerment.
Watching on as she launched the food kitchen and recipe collection was proud husband Harry and her mother Doria Ragland – who has played an important part in encouraging her daughter on her path.
Before she realises family plans of her own, Meghan has anchored herself in her mother’s love and support (in stark contrast to her dysfunctional father and halfsiblings, who continue to sell her out at every opportunity).
At the times she would have felt most let down by her blood relatives, it has been Harry, William and especially Kate who have made her feel a welcomed and protected part of their family unit.
Putting to use the cooking skills she had already showed off during the Grenfell project, Meghan’s returned that love by baking treats for her new nephew Prince George and niece Princess Charlotte, as well as meals for the Cambridges, in the days after Kate brought home their third child, Prince Louis.
Always the way to win hearts.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Princess Beatrice; Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and Prince Charles; Prince William and wife Catherine; Prince Harry; Meghan Markle; Princess Charlotte and Prince George. FROM LEFT: Eric Buterbaugh and actress Demi Moore, model Naomi Campbell, Pixie Geldof, singers Robbie Williams and Ellie Goulding.
STUNNING: Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank after their wedding last night and (inset) leaving St George’s Chapel by carriage.
MAJESTIC BESTIES: (clockwise from main) Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, at Wimbledon; Meghan with her husband Prince Harry; Kate and Meghan with their grandfather-in-law Prince Philip; with princes Harry and William marking the centenary of the RAF; and at a Royal Foundation forum. Pictures: Getty, AFP