WINDSOR: Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughter Princess Eugenie married a wine merchant on Friday in a Windsor wedding clouded by complaints over costs and struggling to recapture the magic of past royal nuptials.
The big day for the ninth in line to the throne and Jack Brooksbank — a “commoner” with blue-blood friends — comes on the heels of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s fairytale service in May.
That event was watched by adoring masses and followed by months of fawning UK headlines about the US actress who charmed her way into the royal court.
But what may be a mixture of royal wedding overload and scepticism about Eugenie’s role in Britain’s public life stripped Friday’s ceremony of some of its charm.
Newspapers have spent weeks complaining about taxpayers having to foot the £2 million ($2.6 million, 2.3 million euro) security bill.
They noted the expense could have been spared had Eugenie not insisted on having a horse-drawn carriage parade around Windsor — just like Meghan and her prince.
The BBC also reportedly caused Buckingham Palace upset by deciding not to televise the event live because of its likely low ratings.
The smaller ITV commercial channel picked up the broadcast for its morning programme aired directly from a studio overlooking Windsor’s lawn.
ITV spent much of the morning discussing the fierce gusts of wind that forced arriving guests to grasp for their complicated hats and to rearrange their morning coats.
“Unfortunately, this is not a good wedding hair day,” one of ITV morning show hosts observed.
The BBC said only “a few hundred” had set up lawn chairs and covered themselves in the Union Jack in preparation for Eugenie’s procession through the heart of Windsor.
The couple did their best to win over the crowds by doing taped interviews for ITV in which they heaped each other with praise.
Jack called his 28-year-old bride his “shining light”.
Eugenie called the 32-year-old wine merchant and tequila ambassador “humble and generous”.
But the more traditionally conservative Telegraph daily was the only one of the non-tabloid papers to put the wedding at the top of its internet news page.
– Cocktail bar groom –
The ceremony itself featured 850 guests and much of the morning saw royalty and celebrities strolling up to Windsor and arranging themselves in its magnificent 14th century chapel.
The better known invitees include the pop star Robbie Williams and David and Victoria Beckham — the unofficial royal couple of the British celebrity world.
George Clooney, who has been tied in the press to Jack’s work as the European ambassador of the US actor’s line of tequila, is also expected.
Jack himself mixes in London’s glitzy social circles but is unknown to most outside the celebrity gossip world.
He managed a posh cocktail bar in London favoured by royals called Mahiki and has since launched his own wine wholesale business.
Press reports said he has lately harboured dreams of launching his own chain of pubs. —AFP