‘Gatsby’ smile that captured princess’s heart
Chapel dressed in autumn colours for big day Prince George and Princess Charlotte in bridal party
IT WAS Jack Brooksbank’s smile that had captured the heart of the young princess.
It reminded her of Jay Gatsby, the millionaire hero of F Scott Fitzgerald’s cautionary tale of decadence and idealism in America’s roaring 1920s.
Nearly a century later after they were composed, his words echoed around the chapel inside Windsor Castle.
“It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it,” read the bride’s sister, Princess Beatrice, a maid of honour.
It was seen by a few social media critics as a curious choice, given the novel’s tragic finale. It fell to the Dean of Windsor, David Conner, to explain its significance to Princess Eugenie.
She had read The Great Gatsby soon after meeting her future husband on the ski slopes of Verbier in Switzerland, and thought immediately of him.
“A few years have passed and Eugenie and Jack come here today to smile on each other, and to offer each other something like ‘eternal reassurance’ and the promise of an ‘irresistible prejudice’ in each other’s favour,” the Dean said, in his address.
The 15th century St George’s Chapel had been dressed in autumn shades for Eugenie’s big day. Foliage and flowering branches, sourced locally from Windsor Great Park, with roses, hydrangeas, dahlias and berries, were draped around the church.
A hush fell over the chapel at about 10.30am and guests took their seats against the backdrop of music from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
The bridal party’s gaggle of youngsters included the future king Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Theodora, daughter of the pop star Robbie Williams.
George held his hand over his ear as trumpeters lined out at the back of the chapel moments before Eugenie’s arrival.
The prince could be seen shuffling his feet on the carpet beneath him, while Charlotte went up on her tiptoes at one point. She had taken a tumble as she arrived before the ceremony and Louis de Givenchy, one of the page boys, also struggled with the steps.
The group of children were startled and jumped when the trumpeters performed an initial flurry, and at one stage, George seemed to shake his legs and briefly bobbed up and down in time to the music.
The mother of the bride, Sarah, Duchess of York, in a vibrant green outfit, was seated in the row in front of her former father-inlaw, the Duke of Edinburgh.
It is believed to be the first time the pair have been pictured together for 26 years, during which time Sarah has been cast out by the Royals. Judi James, an expert in social behaviour, said: “She got quite the look from Philip – he smiled at her at least twice, almost as if he had planned to greet her warmly. That was quite a big step for the Duke of Edinburgh.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, normally reserved when it comes to public displays of affection, were seen holding hands in their pew, while outside, Eugenie shared two shy kisses with her new husband.
On the West Steps of St George’s Chapel, decorated with more autumn flowers and lined with Grenadier Guards in their bearskins, the newlyweds beamed with delight and waved to onlookers. Comment: Page 16.
It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance. Quote from The Great Gatsby, which Eugenie said reminded her of Jack Brooksbank. “She has the ability to do a million things at once in her brain, including working as well as organising everything to do with the wedding.” – Jack Brooksbank on his new bride, Princess Eugenie.
“I’m led to believe that the train is quite wide, so I’ve got to walk on the left of the carpet to make sure she can get down the middle. That’s a lesson I got from my wedding when my father-in-law walked down the middle and Sarah said: ‘Get over to the other side’.” – Father of the bride, the Duke of York.
“Eugenie is a chip off the old block. She’s a little like her father. She’s quite decisive, but she’s got a huge heart and Jack is an extraordinary young man, one of the kindest hearts I think I know. I think he’s met his match with Eugenie. It’s a good match together, but it’s wonderful watching them interact together, because it’s almost as if they’re a married couple now. I have huge hopes and I’m sure they will be massively in love for the rest of their lives and I’m incredibly proud of both of them.” – Father of the bride, the Duke of York. “You could tell the tension as soon as the Duchess [of York] arrived in the church. As soon as she walked in she pulled her arms into her side and put her head down. It was almost like the sort of behaviour you see at the party when somebody you don’t want to see walks in.” – Judi James, an expert in social behaviour, on the body language of the bride’s mother and her former father-in-law, the Duke of Edinburgh.
“I got the feeling the cake was something they were very excited about.” – Sophie Cabot, designer of the Royal wedding cake.
“The Queen very firmly said, ‘St George’s is where you are going to have the wedding.’ So I said: ‘Aye, aye ma’am’, turn to the right, salute and carry on.” – Father of the bride, the Duke of York.
“Jack’s the kind of guy, when you’re lost at a party and you can’t find anyone to talk to, and you start panicking and you need help, he’ll walk in and make everyone feel so special. He’ll scoop you up and talk to you and make you feel a million dollars.” – Princess Eugenie, asked to describe her new husband in a few words.
ROYAL PAGEANT: Clockwise from top, Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank walk down the aisle at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle following their wedding; the ceremony was attended by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh; Princess Charlotte and Prince George were among the bridal party; Sarah, Duchess of York, and Princess Beatrice wave to newly married couple.