When her younger daughter Princess Eugenie became engaged to wine merchant Jack Brooksbank, the Duchess of York raised a toast to her own good fortune.
“Jack also works as the European manager for Casamigos Tequila, so I am perfect,” the Duchess told the BBC.
“He’ll just hand me the tequila and say, ‘Come on, mother-in-law, down it’.”
Fergie may be keen on carousing with Brooksbank, but a taxpayer-funded wedding is proving hard to swallow for more than 31,000 British citizens who’ve signed a petition demanding that no public funds be spent on the October 12 event.
Anti-monarchy organisation Republic claims Princess Eugenie, who works as associate director of London’s Hauser & Wirth art gallery, “carries out no royal duties and there is little public interest in another royal wedding … yet the royals are forcing another costly wedding upon us.”
The fuss over who should pay for the looming wedding is almost the most high-profile aspect of it, so much so that you could be forgiven for not realising there’s a royal wedding less than a week away.
Given the public and media frenzy that attended every enthusiastically-detailed tweet from Kensington Palace—The lemon cake! The peonies! The carriage!—ahead of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s May nuptials, interest in this week’s union between Princess Eugenie and Mr Brooksbank seems decidedly more subdued.
Ninth-in-line to the British throne, Eugenie, 28, is the younger of the Duke and Duchess of York’s two daughters. So why is the imminent wedding of the Queen’s granddaughter threatening to be a wet squib?
Prince Andrew is reported to have personally asked the BBC to televise the nuptials live from St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle (also the venue for Harry’s ceremony, which drew an estimated global audience of two billion) but was politely refused.
It will still screen live on the ITV network.
On September 28, the couple’s commemorative china was released and that too fell flat. Royal watchers noted how Brooksbanks’ ‘J’ initial, and the couple’s entwined E and J, features no crown atop the letters.
The china released when Harry and Meghan wed, and Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011, had crowns.
Only Eugenie’s E monogram is crowned, leading to speculation that Brooksbanks, the second commoner to marry into the royal family this year, will not receive a royal title, unlike Meghan, who became the Duchess of Sussex.
“I loved the design of Eugenie’s china, but how can anyone justify selling china commemorating a royal member who describes herself as private citizen? Will I buy it? No,” said one aggrieved royalist on social media.
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank would like to invite members of the public to join their wedding on 12 October, 2018, to attend inside the Precincts of Windsor Castle.
More here: https://t.co/iLoX0bnQu4 pic.twitter.com/OUw4VTJR3Z
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) July 18, 2018
Perhaps some blame for the bland build-up belongs to the groom’s side for setting the tone from the outset.
When the couple announced their engagement in January, his grandmother didn’t hold back. “He’s a charming boy and all that but not the most intelligent,” said Joanna Newton, 91.
“I would never have thought this would happen.”
His future in-laws were more upbeat. Former nightclub manager Brooksbank, 32, who reportedly met Eugenie around seven years ago in the Swiss ski-resort town of Verbier, is “an absolutely outstanding young man,” weighed in the Duke of York.
Hopefully then, it will be worth the outlay to add him to the royal family.
Republic estimated Harry and Meghan’s extravaganza cost taxpayers $63 million and that Eugenie’s day is shaping up to be on a similar scale. Bigger, perhaps, given that celebrations will extend to the following day, when a festival-style event is scheduled.
“It is Eugenie and Jack’s party and they are very much involved in all the details and decisions,” a source told People magazine.
Expect celebrities, too. Victoria and David Beckham, Elton John, James Blunt Ellie Goulding and Amal and George Clooney, former owner of Casamigos Tequila, are reportedly among the 850 invitees.
There’s also speculation Eugenie’s wedding party will rival Meghan’s, with Prince George, 3, and Princess Charlotte, 4, reportedly enlisted to up the cute factor alongside Robbie Williams’ daughter, Theodora, 5.
“A royal wedding is a private, personal event, dressed up as a national occasion,” Republic maintains on their petition website. “If the royals want to turn Eugenie and Jack’s big day into a public event, they need to pick up the bill—all of it.”