A British Royal Wedding – Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank

In my ongoing series on British Royal weddings, this post will be about the wedding of Princess Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank which took place on October 12, 2018 at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.  At the time, Princess Eugenie was ninth in the line of succession to the British throne and since the wedding of Princess Anne to Mark Phillips in 1973 it has been 45 years since a British Princess has been married. (although her older cousin Zara Phillips married Mike Tindall in 2011 she does not hold the Royal title of Princess)

The wedding of Princess Eugenie also marked the second Royal wedding to take place in 2018, her cousin Prince Harry married Meghan Markle in May also at St. George’s Chapel.  Previously the most recent Royal weddings held at the Chapel include her uncle Prince Edward (the Earl of Wessex) to Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999 and her cousin Peter Phillips to Autumn Kelly in 2008 while her uncle Prince Charles (the Prince of Wales) had the blessing for his wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles at the same site in 2005.

Princess Eugenie Victoria Helena was born on March 23, 1990 and she is the second daughter of Prince Andrew (the Duke of York) and Sarah Ferguson.  Sadly her parents divorced in 1996 but the former couple has remained on very good terms. 

Princess Eugenie and her sister, Princess Beatrice received a proper British education.  She attended NewCastle University and graduated in 2012 with a degree in English Literature and Art History.  In 2013 she moved to New York to work at Paddle8 as a benefit auctions manager then moved back to London in 2015 to work for the Hauser & Wirth art gallery as a director.

Princess Eugenie met Jack Brooksbank through friends while on a ski trip to Switzerland in 2010, he was working there at the time.  Jack was employed as a wine merchant and then later as the European brand ambassador for Casamigos Tequilla.  The couple dated for seven years before Jack proposed while on a holiday in Nicaragua. 

The engagement was announce on January 22, 2018 by the office of the Duke of York at Buckingham Palace and the wedding would follow in the fall of 2018.  After the engagement photos were taken in the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace the couple gave an interview to the BBC which was an opportunity to see the engagement ring that Jack gave Princess Eugenie.  It was an oval-cut Padparadscha sapphire surround by a circle of diamonds set on a gold band with two addition diamonds place on either side of the band.

When announcing the plans it was describe that it would be a family wedding and not a public one like her cousins Prince William’s grand ceremony in Westminster Abbey or Prince Harry’s earlier in the year at St. George’s Chapel.  In addition, since Princess Eugenie is a supporter against plastic pollution, it was noted that she would like a “plastic-free” wedding.  This decision aligns with her personal views on sustainability and also with her role as an ambassador for Project O, which is a charitable initiative committed to protecting the ocean from pollution involving single use plastic. 

Prior to the wedding, it was confirmed that Princess Beatrice, the bride’s sister, would be the maid of honor and Thomas Brooksbank, the brother of the groom, would be the best man.  The six bridesmaids and two page boys selected would be Prince George and Princess Charlotte (son and daughter of her cousin Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge), Isla and Savannah Philips (daughters of her cousin Peter Phillips and his wife Autumn), Mia Tindall (daughter of her cousin Zara Phillips and her husband Mike Tindall), the bride’s godchild Maud Windsor (daughter of Lord and Lady Frederick Windsor), Theodora Williams (daughter of Robbie Williams and Avda Field) and Louis de Givenchy (son of Olivier and Zoe de Givenchy).  Two special attendants would be her cousins Lady Louise Windsor and James Viscount Severn (son and daughter of her uncle Prince Edward and Sophie)

On the morning of the wedding almost 850 invited guests gathered in St. George’s Chapel.  The interior and exterior floral arrangements were designed by the London based florist Rob Van Helden and featured a beautiful autumn floral theme using roses, hydrangeas, dahlias and berries that were sourced from the nearby Windsor Great Park.

The bride’s mother, Sarah Ferguson arrived wearing a Kelly green dress and coordinating hat and Princess Beatrice, the bride’s sister wore a royal blue dress.  The groom and best man arrived wearing dark morning dress suits.  The groom wore a navy blue vest and light blue tie with a tie pin featuring the white rose of York (remember the bride’s father is the Duke of York) and Padparadscha sapphire that was a gift from Princess Eugenie. 

Just after the arrival of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip (the bride’s grandparents), the bride and her father, Prince Andrew the Duke of York, arrived in a 1977 Rolls Royce Phantom VI. In a very sweet gesture Prince Andrew helped to arrange Princess Eugenie’s bridal dress train before they climbed the steps to enter the Chapel as a specially composed fanfare “Adventus” played.

Then to the music of “Piece d’Orgue” by J.S. Bach, the bride was escorted by her father through the Nave to the Organ Screen where the groom and the best man were waiting.  They were greeted by the Dean of Windsor, David Conner, who gave a brief introduction and then the couple with the bride’s father and the best man proceeded through the Quire of the Chapel and to the Main Altar to the music of “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken” by John Newton.

The Dean of Windsor officiated the vows and ring ceremony, the bride’s wedding ring was a simple band made of Welsh gold that was a gift from Queen Elizabeth.  Next, Andrea Bocelli performed two songs with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, “Ave Maria” by Bach/Gounod and later “Panis Angelicus” by Cesar Franck. Charles Brooksbank, the groom’s cousin, gave the first reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians which was followed by Princess Beatrice who gave a second reading taken from “The Great Gatsby”, a novel by F.S. Fitzgerald. 

The Dean of Windsor gave the sermon and the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, gave the prayer for the service.  After the signing of the register, the bridal couple and their invited guests sang the National Anthem.  Then with a deep curtsey from Princess Eugenie and a bow from her new husband to Queen Elizabeth, the couple proceeded down the aisle followed by their attendants and family members. 

The Princess Eugenie and Jack emerged from the chapel and they shared a kiss on the steps to the cheers of the crowd gathered outside.  Members of the Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards, of which the Duke of York is Colonel, lined the West Steps of the chapel.  Then, there was a carriage procession in the Scottish State Coach through the streets of Windsor, it has been estimated that 3,000 people lined the streets to watch.  The procession route was slightly smaller in length than the one that Prince Harry and Meghan took just a few months earlier after their wedding.

The bridal couple returned to Windsor Castle and there was an afternoon wedding reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth.  It has been reported that Prince Andrew gave a very touching father of the bride speech.  At the luncheon Princess Eugenie and Jack cut their 5 tier red velvet and chocolate wedding cake which was made by London-based cake designer Sophie Cabot.  The cake featured white icing with the couple’s intertwined initials on the bottom layer, sugar ivy to represent their new home at Ivy Cottage and decorated with a beautiful cascade of sugar autumn flowers and leaves.

Later that day Princess Eugenie and Jack were seen leaving Windsor Castle for the nearby Royal Lodge which is the country residence of Prince Andrew.  The car was a silver Aston Martin DB10; it was one of eight cars used for the 2015 James Bond film “Spectre”.

An evening reception was held at Royal Lodge and Jack worn a black tuxedo while Princess Eugenie looked amazing in a stunning blush color silk gown made by designer Zac Posen.  The gown featured “pin tucked plisse” (material specially made to give a permanent crinkled effect) cut on the bias which beautifully draped, the White Rose of York was embroidered on both shoulder and back to hold a cape.  In her hair Princess Eugenie wore brooches borrowed from her grandmother, Queen Elizabeth.  The brooches are known as the Queen Victoria Wheat Brooches which date back to 1830.  The brooches were originally commissioned by King William IV for Queen Adelaide and were inherited by Queen Victoria in 1837 and later by Queen Elizabeth in 1952.