WINDSOR (REUTERS) - Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter Princess Eugenie married wine merchant Jack Brooksbank at Windsor Castle on Friday (Oct 12) in front of celebrities and Britain’s senior royals including Prince Harry and wife Meghan who wed at the same venue in May.
Princess Eugenie, 28, younger daughter of the Queen’s third child, Prince Andrew, and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, tied the knot with Mr Brooksbank, 32, in a traditional ceremony in the castle’s 15th Century St George’s Chapel.
It was the same setting as Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding in May, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as the couple are now known, were among the star-studded congregation.
The 92-year-old Queen and her husband Philip, 97, who has retired from official engagements, were joined by other royals and celebrities including Hollywood stars Liv Tyler and Demi Moore, models Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell and singer Ellie Goulding.
Female guests had to cling on to their hats as a blustery wind threatened their wedding outfits and a page boy tripped on the stairs walking into the chapel.
Princess Eugenie’s dress, by Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos of the London-based label Peter Pilotto, had a low back to reveal scars from surgery she underwent to correct scoliosis when she was 12.
“It’s a lovely way to honour the people who looked after me and a way of standing up for young people who also go through this,” she told ITV’s This Morning ahead of the wedding.
The couple, while showing clear signs on nerves, beamed happily during the hour-long service.
"This is meant to be a family wedding," Princess Eugenie's father, Prince Andrew, said earlier.
"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 friends that they need a church of that size to fit them all in," he told This Morning which broadcast the event live.
Several hundred singing and cheering well-wishers gathered outside in Windsor in the shadow of the castle, far fewer than the thousands that crammed into the town for Prince Harry’s wedding.
“I’m a true royalist,” Mr David Weeks, 77, bedecked in a Union Jack suit and bowler hat, told Reuters. “I was here for the queen’s 90th birthday. I was here for Harry and Meghan’s wedding, I wouldn’t miss it, I love the atmosphere.”
The ceremony was conducted by the Dean of Windsor David Conner, and Princess Eugenie’s elder sister, Princess Beatrice, the maid of honour, read an extract from the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel The Great Gatsby which the bride had read after meeting her future husband in the Swiss ski resort of Verbier in 2010.
“One particular passage in which Jay Gatsby is described reminded her immediately of Jack,” Dean Conner said. “She decided she wanted eventually to let Jack know how much those words had brought him to mind.”
One noticeable absentee was Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, the wife of heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, as she was carrying out an engagement in Scotland.
Princess Charlotte, 3, daughter of Prince Harry’s elder brother Prince William and his wife Kate, was a bridesmaid, and her brother, Prince George, 5, a page boy.
After the service, the couple took an open-top horse-drawn carriage tour of Windsor before a reception at the castle, hosted by the Queen.
Princess Eugenie is a director at London’s Hauser & Wirth art gallery, and Mr Brooksbank owns a wine wholesale business and is European brand manager for Casamigos Tequila, which was co-founded by US actor George Clooney.
Security around Windsor was tight, with airport-style security checks and large numbers of police. As Princess Eugenie does not carry out official royal duties, republicans have said it is wrong that the estimated £2 million pound (S$3.64 million) security bill will be paid by taxpayers.
Writing in the Times newspaper, commentator Matthew Bell said the grandeur of the wedding showed Prince Andrew’s desire to cement his family’s royal status.
“When it is all over, Eugenie will continue to live with an identity experienced by a tiny minority: as a fully fledged princess, gawped at, envied and scrutinised by all,” Mr Bell wrote.
“Yet as the years roll by, and her royal status diminishes, as a peripheral figure of almost no consequence at all.”