Security bill is case for slimmer monarchy
– PRINCE ANDREW, YESTERDAY
EVERYONE likes a Royal Wedding, don’t they?
The genuinely popular wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markel in May, a bit of royal maverick meets a glint of Holywood sparkle, did lighten up the mood of Brexit Britain. The choir, the vows, even the absent father, his emotions being manipulated by media chequebook, lent colour to the occasion.
But this, the re-run in Windsor, this Wedding Crashers 2, didn’t it just amount to a blustery parade of crinoline and fascinators in the autumn wind?
A Tequila salesman marrying an art gallery assistant is not really the stuff of fairy tales, although for the happy couple we have to hope it is.
For Eugenie, the younger of Prince Andrew’s two daughters, it must have been a special day, one which her family were determined would not be overshadowed by that other royal wedding.
In terms of lavish outlay it almost rivalled Harry’s nuptials, with 850 guests, 1200 ballot-chosen members of the public in the palace grounds, like extras in a Cecil B De Mille production, and a carriage procession over the cobblestones. Same guests, a mix of royals and celebs, same carriageway, same pages and flowergirls.
Yet at the end of it all, the emerald tiara she borrowed from the Queen for the day is the closest Eugenie will come to the crown.
Eugenie has slipped to ninth place in line to the throne, quite a long way down the pecking order. But Queen Victoria was fifth in line when she was born and went on to rule Britain for nearly 64 years, so never say never.
One of the reasons the wedding is so lavish is that Prince Andrew is determined that the Yorks should not be sidelined in the royal pecking order.
The Duke of York was sending out a reminder to his elder brother that his side of the family can still play a role in royal pomp and circumstance. And, presumably, like any dad, no demand from his daughter is too great for her wedding day.
The family is paying for the ceremony, her father can well afford it with all the gladhanding he does around the Middle East.
But the security bill estimated at £2million will be paid by the taxpayer. That’s the price of royal privilege, and an argument for a slimmed-down monarchy, in one tidy sum.
Andrew tried badgering the BBC into live broadcasting the event but the corporation, perhaps remembering It’s a Royal Knockout declined, fearing a ratings flop.
ITV filled the breach on their Good Morning slot and lent a more informal commentary than the Beeb would have.
Sarah Ferguson blessed the occasion in typically Fergie fashion, tweeting: “We love Jack and I am so excited to have a son, a brother and a best friend. Eugenie is one of the finest people I know and so together it will be pure harmony.”
Not quite, er, toe curling but a reminder, as William and Harry’s weddings were, that this generation of royals, as a result of the unhappy legacy of the previous one, are at least allowed to marry someone who makes them happy. For that we should be grateful.
SHE’S THE ONE Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda Field arrive at Windsor Castle BY RUSSELL MYERS PRINCE Andrew said that his daughter, Princess Eugenie, had to marry at the lavish 800-seater Windsor Castle chapel because she has “so many friends”.
Hollywood A-listers, supermodels, chart-topping singers, artists and TV stars were all invited to her ceremony with tequila ambassador Jack Brooksbank, making it the arguably the most star-studded royal wedding in history.
Dozens of celebrities made the guest list, raising eyebrows and bafflement over the couple’s eclectic associations.
Actress Demi Moore, 55, and models Naomi Campbell, 48, Kate Moss, 44, and Cara Delevingne, 26, were among the big names invited. Singers James Blunt, 44, and Ricky Martin, 46, and Robbie Williams, 44, and his wife, fellow X Factor judge Ayda Field, 39, were also in the congregation.
In a prerecorded interview before the ceremony, Prince Andrew, 58, said the couple were expecting a few more guests than Prince Harry, 34, and Meghan, 37, who wed at the same venue this year.
He said: “It will not be the same as the previous one that was held in May – it’s not a public wedding.
“This is meant to be a family wedding. There will be a few more people than most people have.
“There are a few more than Harry had, but that’s just the nature of Eugenie and Jack – they’ve got so many PAL Former footballer & pundit Jamie Redknapp friends they need a church of that size to fit them all in.” The Duke also said the Queen insisted Eugenie, 28, marry at the opulent chapel, despite her being ninth in line to the throne and carrying out no public duties.
He said: “The Queen very firmly said, ‘St George’s is where you’re having the wedding. And I said, ‘Aye, aye ma’am’, turned to the right, salute and carry on.”
Among the other stars at the glitzy event were former footballer Jamie Redknapp, 45, comedians Jack Whitehall, 30, and Jimmy Carr 46, as well as pop star Ellie Goulding, 31.
TV and radio presenter Richard Bacon, 42, boasted in an interview before the wedding of his friendship with Eugenie, saying she is “incredibly social” and speaking of “first meeting her at 3am at a Miami bar”.
Among the other VIPs, were actor Stephen Fry, 61, and his husband Elliott Spencer, 31, model Pixie Geldof, 28, Prince Harry’s ex Chelsy Davy, 32, and artist Tracey Emin, 55. Lord Of The Rings actress Liv Tyler, 41, and her 43-year-old husband Dave Gardner, who is best pals with ex-footballer David Beckham, were also among the well-wishers.
Buildings magnate Nick Candy, 45, and his wife, former pop star Holly Valance, 35, also showed up, as did Delevingne’s model and actress sister, Poppy, 32.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s brother James Middleton, 31, and her sister Pippa, 35, who is heavily pregnant, were also pictured at the event. DASHING Livin’ la Vida Loca singer Ricky Martin SPRUCED UP Singer and former soldier James Blunt WORN WITH PRIDE Royal shows her scars from scoliosis op. Main pic: PA
PRINCE ANDREW ON WEDDING’S PLUSH VENUE