Princess Eugenie marries Jack Brooksbank at star-studded royal wedding in Windsor
Princess Eugenie of York married her longtime commoner boyfriend, Jack Brooksbank, Friday in a stunning Peter Pilotto gown and a royal Russian-style tiara, in a lower-key repeat of the nuptials that enchanted the world when Prince Harry wed his American girlfriend Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle in May.
The new couple left St. George's Chapel and kissed on the steps while a gaggle of bridesmaids and page boys, including Princess Charlotte and Prince George, followed them out. They climbed into the glass-enclosed Scottish State Coach for a 15-minute carriage procession through Windsor, past gathered fans on the High Street.
The assembled guests at the second royal wedding in five months featured Eugenie's many royal relatives led by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the bride's grandparents, who entered the church to a trumpet fanfare.
Harry and Meghan, who wore a deep navy blue coat-and-dress outfit by Givenchy with a matching fascinator, entered the church to cheers, as did Prince William and Duchess Kate of Cambridge, dressed in a raspberry Alexander McQueen dress and matching fascinator, but they slipped in quickly to avoid grabbing too much of the spotlight.
The bride's dress, by Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos of the British-based label Peter Pilotto, featured a fitted bodice and full pleated skirt with an off-the-shoulder neckline that folds around the shoulders to a low back that draped into a flowing full-length train. The low back feature was at the specific request of Eugenie who had surgery at age 12 to correct scoliosis, according to Buckingham Palace.
She wore the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara, lent to her by the queen. The diamonds-and-emeralds tiara was made by Boucheron in 1919 in the "kokoshnik" style popularized in the Russian Imperial Court. Her diamond and emerald earrings were a wedding gift from the groom.
The royal bride may not be as well known outside Britain, let alone her groom, 32-year-old Jack Brooksbank, a former bartender turned tequila brand rep, but a royal wedding is still something in the United Kingdom and the ancient town of Windsor was celebrating.
Even before dawn, hours before the ceremony was to begin in St. George's Chapel inside the castle gates, people gathered in the narrow flag-festooned streets in front of souvenir shops stuffed with royal wedding knickknacks (although much of it featured Harry and Meghan).
The wind was described as gusty, which was a problem for the female guests and the elaborate hats that are required head gear at a royal wedding. But it didn't rain and by the time of the carriage procession, the sun was peeping through the clouds.
Celebrity guests were among the first of the arrivals, including Chelsy Davy, Prince Harry's former girlfriend who is a close friend of Eugenie. Liv Tyler, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell were also spotted entering the church. Cara Delevingne and Demi Moore were also there.
Eugenie's uncle, the queen's youngest son Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, were among the first senior royals to arrive, with their son James, Viscount Severn. Their daughter, Lady Louise Windsor, will be in the bridal party.
They were followed by Eugenie's aunt, Princess Anne and her husband, Sir Timothy Laurence, and her daughter Zara Tindall and her husband Mike Tindall, and her son, Peter Phillips and his wife Autumn.
Large signs at the castle's ticket booth welcomed people to the wedding, but many visitors earlier in the week seemed unaware of what was going to happen, the Associated Press reported.
"No interest," said Michael Taylor, a drummer from Chicago who toured the imposing castle Wednesday — but didn't know about the wedding. "I don't know anything about her. If she walked past me right now, I wouldn't even know."
Eugenie, 28, and one of Harry's cousins, is the younger daughter of Queen Elizabeth II's second son, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, and the sister of Princess Beatrice, 30. Sarah wore a Kelly green dress and hat (the dress designed by local Windsor company Emma Louise Design), while Beatrice was in a royal blue off-the-shoulder dress from Ralph & Russo with a headband-style fascinator.
Eugenie and her sister are among the eight grandchildren of the queen, 92, and her husband, Prince Philip, 97, who led the extended royal family at the wedding. Philip is frail, retired from public life, and still recovering from hip surgery but he walked unaided behind his wife into the church. The queen was dressed in a pale blue coat and dress outfit and hat.
On the eve of the wedding Eugenie and Brooksbank were interviewed on ITV, which carried the wedding live in the U.K. Eugenie said she was so excited about the wedding she will be “running down the aisle.”
She and her father arrived at the wedding in a Rolls Royce Phantom VI, presented to the queen in 1978 for her Silver Jubilee. It was also the same Rolls the former Kate Middleton rode in to her wedding to Prince William at Westminster Abbey in 2011.
Eugenie carried a bouquet that complemented her dress and tiara and also featured a royal floral tradition: Besides lily of the valley, Stephanotis pips, hints of baby blue thistles, white spray roses and trailing ivy, the bouquet contained sprigs of myrtle from Queen Victoria's Osbourne House. A sprig from a posy she was once given was planted against the terrace walls there and continues to thrive. Since 1858, royal bouquet have contained sprigs from that myrtle.
Special guests representing British charities assembled inside the castle gates near the chapel where they watched guests and the wedding party arrive.
Some of the 800-plus guests and 1,200 special guests representing charities began arriving around 4 a.m. ET, two hours before the start of the ceremony.
Prince William and Duchess Kate's two eldest children, Prince George, 5, and Princess Charlotte, 3, served as page boy and bridesmaid - their third family wedding in 15 months. Wearing white outfits by Amaia Arrieta of Amaia Kids, the children appeared lively and excited; Charlotte waved every time she got the chance outside the church.
The only senior member of the family who did not attend was Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, the wife of Prince Charles, Eugenie's uncle, who had a long-planned prior engagement at a school in Scotland.
As happened at the earlier wedding, the ceremony was followed by a carriage procession through part of Windsor in a shorter version of the carriage procession Harry and Meghan had.
After the procession, the families assembled in the White Drawing Room at the castle to take the official pictures. Guests then attended a lunch hosted by the queen at the castle, to be followed by an evening reception hosted by Eugenie's parents at Royal Lodge on the castle estate.
After the lunch, Eugenie and Jack emerged from one of the castle doors and climbed into a $3 million Aston Martin DB10 made for the James Bond film "Spectre," to drive a few miles to Royal Lodge.
She was still dressed in her wedding gown, which her sister and new husband had to help her stuff into the cramped passenger seat of the sports car.
The same scene played out in May with Harry and Meghan, but Meghan had changed into a different white dress for their dinner reception at Frogmore House on the estate hosted by Prince Charles.
The Sussex wedding featured two receptions, one hosted by the queen and one hosted by Prince Charles that evening. Eugenie and Jack will have a two-day reception, with an all-day festival-style event scheduled for Saturday at the Royal Lodge.
After the wedding, Eugenie, who works for a London art gallery, is expected to keep her royal title, HRH Princess Eugenie, but will likely add Mrs. Jack Brooksbank.