A windswept royal wedding
Fergie, celebs join celebration in Windsor
WINDSOR CASTLE • The wedding day brought a dramatic gown, a wind wild enough to knock small bridesmaids off their feet and an assortment of celebrities.
But from the moment Princess Eugenie stepped out of her car, it all seemed rather simple: a family wedding, on their terms, in which love won the day.
As the damp October day dawned, visitors trickled into Windsor to line the streets and ticketholders picked up Jack and Eugenie-themed goody bags in the grounds of Windsor Castle.
The 28-year-old bride, a granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, is ninth in line to the British throne.
Guests arrived in stages, as friends were more than matched by celebrities in a lineup that left onlookers wondering at how the couple came to know such a diverse range of actors, supermodels and singers.
The Queen was joined in the chapel by Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, Liv Tyler and Demi Moore, Tracey Emin, Stephen Fry, Ricky Martin and many more besides.
As they took their seats, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, long absent from the Royal Family’s official events since her divorce, made a return to the fold, arriving at the chapel with Princess Beatrice to watch on proudly.
Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, at 97, was in his rightful place next to the Queen to celebrate the wedding of their granddaughter.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex — Harry and Meghan — returned to the chapel for the first time since their own wedding in May, with the Duchess telling the Princess Royal: “It seems time has gone so quickly since we were here.”
The Cambridges, who left Prince Louis at home and watched from afar as Prince George and Princess Charlotte joined the bridal party, seemed taken with the romantic atmosphere, holding hands as they waited for the bride and groom to arrive.
At 10.35 a.m., Jack Brooksbank arrived. Nervously wiping his palms on his trousers as he stepped out of his car, he was supported by his brother and best man, Thomas.
Appearing to have visibly shaking hands, the genial groom at one point told his brother, “Oh stop it, I am fine” as they waited.
In high winds, the six young bridesmaids and two page boys navigated the steps of St. George’s Chapel with Princess Charlotte and sixyear-old Louis de Givenchy taking a tumble. They recovered quickly with a helping hand from Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, 14, who shepherded the children as special attendant.
As the trumpets sounded, the children, including Prince George, Maud Windsor, Mia Tindall, Savannah and Isla Phillips, and Teddy Williams, the daughter of singer Robbie Williams, covered their ears and pretended to play along.
At 11 a.m., Princess Eugenie, who arrived with her father, beamed as she stepped from the 1977 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI, the same wedding car used by the Duchess of Cambridge.
She wore a diamond-and-emerald tiara loaned to her by the Queen. Her Peter Pilotto dress was designed to display her faint scar, a line down her spine from an operation for her scoliosis aged 12. She said she had wanted to “stand up for” other young people who may feel self-conscious about their own scars, and “change the way beauty is.”
Her groom agreed. “You look breathtaking,” he told her, taking off his glasses as she reached him.
At the altar, Princess Eugenie and Brooksbank clutched hands so tightly their fingers turned white.
Princess Beatrice, who has spoken of her dyslexia, carried off a confident reading of a passage from The Great Gatsby, chosen by the bride, which reminded her of Jack shortly after they met, despite the flaws of its protagonist.
On the steps outside there was the kiss.
And with that, the York family swung into action: the Duke lifting his daughter’s long train into the Scottish State Coach, while the Duchess fielded questions from curious bridesmaid Teddy Williams.
Told that no, she was not the Queen, the six-year-old persisted. “Are you a princess?” In a rush, the Duchess agreed that yes, perhaps she was.
After a short carriage ride through Windsor, the couple retired to their afternoon reception at the castle.
In his speech, which he said he had not prepared, the Duke of York joked that he would break protocol to publicly hug his new son-in-law, regaling guests with the tale of how the groom mistook himself for the family dog.
He had once, he said, shouted at the dog — also named Jack — to get off a chair, only to be startled to find Brooksbank leap to his feet.
In an emotional speech, Brooksbank told how his new wife “lights up my life” and “makes me whole.”
The newlyweds made a dramatic departure in a waiting Aston Martin DB10 — made for the James Bond film Spectre.
And with the sun setting, the couple left for a two-day party at Royal Lodge.
Britain’s Princess Eugenie of York receives the ring from Jack Brooksbank during their star-studded wedding ceremony at Windsor’s St. George’s Chapel Friday, a day that included such celebrities as Liv Tyler and Naomi Campbell.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, returned to St. George’s Chapel for the first time since her own wedding in May.