Eu­ge­nie’s Big Royal Wed­ding

Berkshire Life - - Front Page - WORDS: Jan Ray­croft

The car­riages are out in Wind­sor again

Fol­low­ing in Harry and Meghan’s foot­steps, Princess Eu­ge­nie

will marry this Oc­to­ber in Wind­sor Cas­tle’s fa­mous chapel

When it was an­nounced that Princess Eu­ge­nie was to fol­low in the re­cent foot­steps of the Duke and Duchess of Sus­sex, right down the aisle of St Ge­orge’s Chapel in Wind­sor, and then on a quick-trot car­riage ride round the Cas­tle’s near­est streets, we were at first a lit­tle sur­prised.

Not be­cause she is ac­tu­ally mar­ry­ing fi­ancé Jack Brooks­bank on 12 Oc­to­ber. They have been to­gether for years, but we had be­come used to think­ing of them as ‘a Lon­don cou­ple’. Af­ter all, they live next door to Prince Harry and the for­mer Meghan Markle in the roy­als’ Kens­ing­ton en­clave, just four miles or so from his par­ents’ home in Wandsworth.

She is a di­rec­tor at the cap­i­tal’s Hauser & Wirth art gallery; he has been in ‘hos­pi­tal­ity’ since leav­ing Stowe School, has worked in a Chelsea pub, man­aged a May­fair club and is a brand am­bas­sador of Casami­gos Tequila, co-founded by Ge­orge Clooney.

You might, there­fore, have ex­pected a stylish Lon­don wed­ding, plenty of A-list celebri­ties and young Roy­als in at­ten­dance, and then par­ty­ing un­til they made it to a lengthy hon­ey­moon some­where glitzy but out of the price range of most of us, rather than re-run pomp and cer­e­mony.

But no, we are get­ting ‘the works’ at Wind­sor and there are two rea­sons for this. Firstly, be­cause Eu­ge­nie is ‘a lo­cal gel’. As chil­dren, she and sis­ter Beatrice lived with her then mar­ried par­ents, Prince An­drew and ‘Fergie’, Sarah, Duchess of York, at Sun­ninghill Park. Now Fergie may have Hamp­shire roots, but she her­self had been a pupil at Hurst Lodge School in As­cot – it closed at the start of this year, merg­ing with a school in Hamp­shire.

Along­side all that, Eu­ge­nie at­tended the Montes­sori nurs­ery at Wink­field, and then it was off to Up­ton House School in Wind­sor with Beatrice. Ac­tu­ally, this is per­haps where the pa­parazzi be­gan their stalk­ing of Fergie – catch­ing ‘school run mum’ pho­tos where she of­ten ar­rived look­ing a bit fraz­zled be­hind the wheel be­fore jump­ing out in leg­gings, tee shirt and hair in a reg­u­larly es­cap­ing knot.

Then Eu­ge­nie headed for Coworth Park School (some of the roy­als seem to be very fond of ‘Catholic ethos’ schools), an­other ed­u­ca­tional es­tab­lish­ment which was merged, this time with a Sur­rey one.

Two years at St Ge­orge’s School in Wind­sor fol­lowed be­fore she fi­nally es­caped Berk­shire for a while, gain­ing a de­gree in English Lit­er­a­ture and His­tory of Art at New­cas­tle Univer­sity be­fore spend­ing a year in New York, work­ing at an on­line auc­tion busi­ness.

Mean­while, the Duke of York and his girls (with room forr now

di­vorced Sarah as re­quired) moved to his­toric Royal Lodge in Wind­sor Great Park, where the sis­ters were very much in­volved in its ren­o­va­tion. So there you have it: you can take the girl out of Berk­shire, but…

And so we come to the sec­ond rea­son for this Wind­sor cer­e­mony, and that’s Prince An­drew, Duke of York, fa­ther of proper princesses, not Lady ‘This or That’. HRH not only lives clos­est to his par­ents at Wind­sor in what was once the trea­sured home of the late Queen Mother, his grand­mother, but takes a ‘hands-on’ in­ter­est in the Wind­sor es­tate and the Royal Archives in the Cas­tle.

His con­nec­tions to the Wind­sor fam­ily home have been en­dur­ing and in­clude hold­ing his own 21st birth­day party there in 1981, com­plete with a per­for­mance by El­ton John. But the depth of this abid­ing in­ter­est per­haps be­came most ap­par­ent when Wind­sor Cas­tle caught fire in 1992. One of the first peo­ple on the spot, he was seen direct­ing staff and sol­diers as they raced to res­cue Cas­tle trea­sures, from car­pets to price­less art­works.

He’s been a stick­ler for keep­ing a beady eye on go­ings-on at Wind­sor ever since.

So there you have it, a lo­cal bride, and a fa­ther who likes to do things prop­erly. Prefer­ably at the ‘fam­ily church’ with all due cer­e­mony, thank you.

They’re close: Sarah, Duchess of York, with her daugh­ters Beatrice and Eu­ge­nie

ABOVE: Princess Eu­ge­nie with her fi­ancé Jack Brooks­bank

The Duke and Duchess of Sus­sex head through the streets of Wind­sor af­ter their wed­ding

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