Why Princess Eugenie is my favourite royal (even if she has copied Meghan's wedding)
It’s easy to scoff.
The Duke and Duchess of York, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie – their lives have been blighted by either scandal or fashion faux pas, and bouncing back from the noise has often proved tricky.
So when the details of Princess Eugenie’s wedding plans were announced this week, there were a number of raised eyebrows at how much of an extravaganza she was planning, as well as remarks noting how closely her nuptials seemed to echo those of Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle in May.
Like her cousin, the 28-year-old has chosen St George’s Chapel in which to marry Jack Brooksbank, 31, on Friday, October 12, and they too will invite 1,200 members of the public into the grounds of Windsor castle, where these lucky ‘golden ticket’ holders will be treated to the spectacle of the congregation and members of the Royal family, listen to a live broadcast of the service and watch the bride and groom leave the chapel.
Then, after the service, they will have a procession through Windsor – although it will be a slightly different route to the one Harry and Meghan took.
It is unlikely to stoke the same level of hysteria that the last royal wedding did: for starters, Eugenie’s dad will definitely turn up, and Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams most definitely won’t. It’s also an autumn do, so recreating the glorious sundrenched scenes of May’s affair will be something of an ask, as will reaching the Disney princess bride-esque levels of the Duchess of Sussex in her bespoke Givenchy dress.
But naysayers have been posing one crucial question: does anyone really care about the wedding of the ninth in line to the throne? Particularly one whose mother’s affairs were regularly splashed across newspaper front pages – the 1992 toe-sucking scandal now being the stuff of tabloid legend. And who can forget that letter from Princess Margaret in which she told Fergie: “You have done more to bring shame on the family than could ever have been imagined”?
Harsh words, undoubtedly, but ones that only further cement my allegiance to this colourful branch of the royal family. I will be firmly perched in front of Eugenie’s nuptials because, while this clutch of Windsors may not be the most fashionable, they have definitely been the most fun – and the most relatable. Beyond the scandals and spectacles, you can tell there is a real warmth.
A portrayal of Fergie as a debt-ridden socialite desperate to get back with her ex-husband in Channel 4’s The Windsors was as touching as it was hilarious, and endeared her once more to the public. No doubt many were on her side at Harry and Meghan’s wedding when she was left off the guest list for the evening reception hosted by Prince Charles, despite attending the ceremony and afternoon reception that was hosted by the Queen.
And while it has been easy to mock the Princesses for their holiday habits and questionable milinery choices, they have struggled, too. In March, Eugenie spoke at a youth empowerment day about living with scoliosis (curvature of the spine) – something I lived with between the ages of 13-18. I wore a back brace that reached from the base of my spine to the tops of my shoulders; I had to develop a whole new way of sleeping, and dressing to disguise the damn thing was a nightmare.
I remember lying on my bed one evening, sulking about my condition, when my mum burst into my room and told me that HRH Eugenie had scoliosis. “Even princesses get curved spines,” she told me.
Since that first link between us was forged, my affinity to the young royal has swelled: she knows how to hold her own, has a 2.1 degree from Newcastle University, ran the London marathon and has a good job at an art gallery. Not to mention the fact she’s marrying someone who works for a tequila brand, so their ability to throw a good party must be unparalleled.
So consider me an excited spectator come October 12. For the people who wanted to fly apache helicopters, there was Harry. For the naughty one in the family who always dated the wrong men, there was Margaret. And for the people who had crooked spines when no one else their age seemed to, there was Eugenie. There really is a royal for everyone.