Princess Eugenie follows in footsteps of Harry and Meghan with golden tickets and carriage ride for her Windsor wedding
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank are to invite members of the public into Windsor Castle for their October wedding, as they follow in the footsteps of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The couple, who will marry on Friday, October 12, are to use a blueprint of the last Royal wedding to shape their day, adopting the same key elements as the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Inviting 1,200 members of the public into the grounds of the castle to watch guests arriving, Princess Eugenie and Mr Brooksbank will also ask representatives from their favourite charities to catch a glimpse of the happy couple. Each ticketholder will be able to see the senior members of the Royal family walking into the church, as well as any celebrity guests. The newlyweds will also undertake a carriage ride through the town, slightly shorter than the route taken by Prince Harry and Ms Markle to take into account the different scale of the wedding.
Announcing details of the wedding, a spokesman for Buckingham Palace said the couple would be inviting members of the public to share their day. “The couple are delighted to announce an opportunity for 1,200 people from across the United Kingdom to be invited into the grounds of Windsor Castle to share the experience of their special day,” a spokesman said. “The attendees will view the arrival of the congregation and members of the Royal Family, listen to a live broadcast of the marriage service and watch as the bride and groom depart St George’s Chapel at the end of the ceremony.” Like the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the couple will invite members of the Windsor community, residents of castle and some Royal Household staff to stand in the grounds, along with children from the local schools which Princess Eugenie attended. The newlyweds will undertake a carriage ride through Windsor High Street, but will not travel down the Long Walk, tactfully avoiding any visual comparison between the number of admirers who turn out to celebrate their day with the crowds on May 19.
The plans echo the successful elements of the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and also follow a pattern set by the wedding of the Earl and Countess of Wessex at St George’s Chapel in 1999. It was announced in January that Eugenie, the Queen’s granddaughter, and Mr Brooksbank had become engaged in Nicaragua during a private holiday. The 28-year-old princess began dating the 31-year-old brand ambassador of Casamigos Tequila about seven years ago after they met while skiing near the Swiss resort of Verbier. Eugenie, eighth in line to the throne, said she cried when Mr Brooksbank went down on one knee to ask for her hand in marriage, and she revealed the proposal was a “complete surprise” but the “perfect moment”.
Who is Jack Brooksbank, the wine merchant fiancé of Princess Eugenie?
He was working as a waiter in a cocktail bar when he met her. But it was no rags to riches story for Jack Brooksbank, whose engagement to Princess Eugenie was announced earlier this year. Educated at Stowe School in Buckingham, where boarding fees are currently almost £12,000 per term, Brooksbank, 31, is a descendant of the Brooksbank baronets and reportedly a distant cousin of Eugenie’s. (Her mother, the Duchess of York, is the great-great-granddaughter of Lady Julia Coke, who is the daughter of Jack’s great-great-grandfather, Thomas Coke.) Son of George Brooksbank, 68, a chartered accountant and company director, and his wife Nicola, 64, Jack has a younger brother called Thomas, 29 – a possible candidate for best man. Since 2001, the family address has been an apartment in a gated period conversion in Wandsworth, not far from Battersea Park. Brooksbank was introduced to Eugenie, the younger daughter of Prince Andrew, during a ski holiday in Verbier, Switzerland and the couple have been together for more than six years. Back then, Eugenie was studying English literature, history of art and politics at Newcastle University and Brooksbank is said to have been waiting tables and serving drinks at Devonshire Terrace, a bar and restaurant near Liverpool Street in London. Having left school in the mid-noughties, he had given university a miss, choosing instead to launch himself straight into a career in hospitality. He went on to work at Chelsea’s Admiral Codrington pub, from where he was poached by businessman and nightclub owner Piers Adam and employed by the Markham Inn nearby. “At the Markham Inn, I had to deal with lots of strange people, and everyone was demanding,” he once said of his experience there. “I also got to know the locals, which I loved.” These included Prince Harry and his close friend Guy Pelly who, according to Tatler, “pulled him into the Mahiki set”. He went on to manage the Mayfair nightclub, a favourite among royalty and celebrities, and also owned by Adam. Then, in August 2016, he set up his own company, Jack Brooksbank Limited, a wine wholesaler. He is described by those who know him as “kind and selfless” and a perfect match for Eugenie. Jacobi Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe, a friend of the couple, tells the Telegraph: “Never have I known a couple with so much lust for life, who light up every room they enter with joy, laughter and unprecedented warmth. I’m sure you’ll hear this a lot but Jack possesses one of the most infectious laughs you’ll hear, and you will hear it!! “It has been a pleasure watching their relationship grow over the years, two people who enjoy each other’s company so much. They are two of the kindest, [most] selfless and sensitive people I know. In that they have met their match.” But Brooksbank hasn’t entirely avoided scandal. In 2013, a tabloid newspaper reported that explicit photographs of him touching the naked breasts of a stripper while blindfolded and covered in candle wax during his 21st birthday celebrations had been leaked online. The pictures were quickly removed from the internet after they had been discovered.