We were wild about Harry's wedding, but, in a way, we loved ...

World

We were wild about Harry's wedding, but, in a way, we loved Eugenie's more

The wind played havoc with hats and frocks and pageboys, but the overall effect was really rather wonderful

Judith Woods


When it comes to weddings, there are certain irrefutable truths. Every bride is radiant, every gown exquisite, and if just the one pageboy goes flying in the gale, that’s the sort of collateral damage any congregation can live with.
Fortunately, little Louis de Givenchy was pulled upright before a house landed on him or he was hit by a bicycling Princess Anne in the tornado that had every last fascinator whipping about Windsor like Kansas in a twister. The bride, a tastefully dazzling Princess Eugenie, had stipulated that female guests wear a hat – a memo that model Cara Delevingne creatively interpreted as “Artful Dodger in heels” – which was the very definition of sartorial jeopardy on a blustery autumnal day.
But then again this was an occasion freighted with potential peril. Would Prince Philip prefer a lie-in? Would Fergie cry or (gasp!) quietly reach for Prince Andrew’s hand? Would Kate prank Meghan into dyeing and rewearing her wedding dress on Eugenie’s big day?
We need not have worried.
The Duke of Edinburgh turned up. Fergie was a bit wavy and excitable – frankly, she has so few friends in the Firm that any smiling face will elicit a hand clutch. And far from upstaging her, the duchesses of Sussex and Cambridge were unceremoniously bundled into St George’s Chapel via the Galilee Porch entrance like a couple of dodgy prisoners on remand.
It was perfect.
Far from being a pale imitation of Harry and Meghan’s summer nuptials, the marriage of Eugenie, whom commentators have suddenly and rather creepily started referring to as “a blood princess”, and Jack Brooksbank, her beau of seven years, was a unique and rather lovely event. Did thousands of well-wishers and throngs of international news teams line the streets? No, but there were enough to cheer the bride and groom as they rode past in a carriage.
Was their match a significant moment in royal history? No, but there were loads more celebs to rubberneck than last time: Demi Moore, Tracey Emin, Jack Whitehall, Ellie Goulding and James Blunt.
The queen wore palest duck-egg blue. Pippa Middleton was heavily pregnant. Stephen Fry’s tousle-haired husband looked like an urchin about to pick a pocket or two, and there were more viscounts than the biscuit aisle in Waitrose.
The overall effect was like a really outstanding cheese dream. There was pomp, there was circumstance, and a selection of ravishing fanfares and hymns, but the major difference between this royal wedding and the last was that we simply don’t know enough about Princess Eugenie to care about her the way we have invested in Prince Harry.
Truthfully, before her engagement, I would have been hard pushed to tell her apart from Princess Beatrice, her elder sister and maid of honour. Incidentally, Beatrice’s reading, a short excerpt from The Great Gatsby, was nicely delivered, but a very peculiar choice, in that it was essentially a glowing tribute to the groom’s bighearted generosity of spirit. But that’s selfless love for you.
For a blood princess, Eugenie’s clearly not such a princess after all.
The groom looked fabulously overwhelmed, which was tremendously satisfying for some reason I can’t quite identify. He looked tearful during the ceremony, wasn’t quite sure what to do with his hands, and the sheer spectacle clearly left him overawed.
This was a wedding where the focus was on family and friends, rather than diplomacy and duty. No matter that the wind claimed a couple of casualties and the flower girls’ dresses had something of The Sound of Music about them, the bride was radiant and her gown exquisite. It may not have been this year’s first royal wedding, but it was never going to be second class.
– © Telegraph Media Group Limited (2018)

This article is reserved for Times Select subscribers.
A subscription gives you full digital access to all Times Select content.

Times Select

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems?
Email helpdesk@timeslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.