One does love a royal wed­ding

Per­fect cer­e­mony a dream of Eu­ge­nie’s

The Courier-Mail - - FRONT PAGE - ELLEN WHINNETT

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.

Pic­tures: AP, AFP

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.

Pic­tures: AFP, AP

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

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