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What I Learned – Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter marries in Gatsbyesque splendor
WINDSOR, England (Reuters) – Hollywood stars joined Queen Elizabeth and her family for Britain’s second major royal wedding this year, as the monarch’s granddaughter Princess Eugenie married wine merchant Jack Brooksbank.
Eugenie, 28, daughter of the queen’s third child, Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, tied the knot with Brooksbank, 32, in a traditional ceremony at Windsor Castle’s 15th Century St George’s Chapel.
It was the same setting as the lavish wedding in May of Prince Harry and his American actress wife Meghan. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as the couple are now known, were among Friday’s congregation.
Eugenie’s nuptials had much of the same pomp and pageantry as Harry’s, but the grandeur for a “minor royal” attracted some criticism.
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 singers Ellie Goulding and Robbie Williams.
Female guests had to cling on to their hats as a blustery wind threatened their wedding outfits.
Eugenie’s dress, by Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos of London-based label Peter Pilotto, had a low back to reveal scars from surgery the princess underwent to correct scoliosis when she was 12.
“It’s a lovely way to honor 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 showed clear signs on nerves but beamed happily during the hour-long service.
“This is meant to be a family wedding,” Eugenie’s father 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 the shadow of the castle, far fewer than the tens of thousands that crammed into Windsor for Harry’s wedding.
THE GREAT GATSBY
Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performed during the service led by the Dean of Windsor David Conner.
Eugenie’s elder sister Princess Beatrice, the maid of honor, read a passage from the “The Great Gatsby” describing the smile of the title character, a rich man famed for throwing parties for the 1920s New York glitterati.
The bride had read the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel shortly after meeting Brooksbank in the Swiss ski resort of Verbier in 2010 and it had reminded her of her future husband.
“She decided she wanted eventually to let Jack know how much those words had brought him to mind,” Conner said.
Princess Charlotte, 3, daughter of Harry’s elder brother Prince William and his wife Kate, was a bridesmaid, and her brother, Prince George, 5, a page boy.
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.
After the service, the couple took a horse-drawn carriage tour of Windsor before a reception at the castle hosted by the queen.
Eugenie is a director at London’s Hauser & Wirth art gallery, and Brooksbank owns a wine wholesale business and is European brand manager for Casamigos Tequila, which was co-founded by U.S. actor George Clooney.
Security around Windsor was tight, with airport-style checks and a heavy police presence. Eugenie does not carry out official royal duties and republicans said it is wrong that the estimated 2 million pound ($2.6 million) security bill will be paid by taxpayers.
“Clearly, a line has been crossed today,” opposition Labour lawmaker Emma Dent Coad wrote in the Mirror newspaper, saying even usually pro-monarchist papers had criticized the public funding of the wedding “of a minor member of the royal family”.
“Whatever our thoughts about the long-term existence of the monarchy, we should know what it costs us,” she wrote. “I’m asking for a debate, not a revolution. And it’s well overdue.”
Additional reporting by Helena Williams; editing by Guy Faulconbrige and Robin Pomeroy