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Princess Eugenie wedding: royal marries at star-studded ceremony

Kate Moss and Robbie Williams among guests in Windsor for second royal wedding of 2018

Roads were closed, balloted tickets offered to members of the public and the streets of Windsor scattered with royal devotees, but this was, insisted the father of the bride before the service, not a public wedding. This is meant to be a family wedding.

And so it turned out when Princess Eugenie, the younger daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York, married Jack Brooksbank, a tequila ambassador, at St Georges chapel on Friday, in a service that was both a highly formal royal event and a somewhat idiosyncratic ceremony reflecting the distinct character of the younger generation of royals.

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Sarah Ferguson, the mother of the bride, arrives for the wedding. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

As befits a ceremony where guests ranged from the Queen to Ricky Martin, the service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, with music by Andrea Bocelli, while the bridal party included Prince George, and Robbie Williamss daughter Teddy.

The readings included a lesson from St Pauls letter to the Colossians and an extract from The Great Gatsby, read by the brides older sister, Beatrice, which raised eyebrows for its description of the lead character as an elegant young roughneck, a year or two over 30, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd.

The passage, the dean later explained in his address, had reminded [Eugenie] immediately of Jack, though it was particularly the description of Gatsbys smile as having a quality of eternal reassurance that she had meant, he said pointedly.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Photograph: Danny Lawson/AFP/Getty Images

Eugenie, who is ninth in line to the throne, met Brooksbank in 2010 while he was working behind a bar in Verbier, a ski resort favoured by the royals. Describing their love at first sight encounter in an interview on the eve of the wedding, he said: We just stared at each other. Eugenie said it was his huge, windscreen wiper wave that first convinced her he liked her.

The groom described Eugenie, 28, as a bright, shining light, while she said: Jack is the kind of guy who, you know, when you are lost at a party he will walk in and he makes everyone feel so special. He will scoop you up and talk to you and make you feel a million dollars.

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Kate Moss with her daughter, Lila Grace Moss. Photograph: Matt Crossick/AFP/Getty Images

Brooksbank, 32, who went on to manage the London nightclub Mahiki, works as a representative for a tequila brand launched by George Clooney. Eugenie, who is employed as a director at the London art gallery Hauser & Wirth, does not receive any money from the sovereign grant, which replaced the civil list, but is supported from her fathers private income.

The BBC had demurred when offered the opportunity to broadcast the ceremony live, as it had done with the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May, so the honour fell to ITV, anchored by the This Morning presenters Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford.

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Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s first kiss at royal wedding video

Although senior royals may be accustomed to a more stately tone, the broadcasters more informal approach Langford asked if the pair wanted any advice from an old married couple perfectly suited the event. The guestlist of 850 250 more than the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was due to the couple having so many friends that they need a church of that size to fit them all in, the Duke of York said.

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Robbie Williams with his wife, Ayda Field. Their daughter, Teddy, also attended. Photograph: Matt Crossick/Reuters

The dean broached the subject of the pressure of royal weddings and marriages in his address, noting that of course we know that marriages, even between the kindest and most careful people, can founder because of pressures unforeseen.

The miracle, he said, was that so many of us keep on hoping, adding that the newlyweds have acknowledged their need of your support and your encouragement. They want you to believe in them.

As the ceremony ended, the couple paused on the steps for the now customary kiss, followed by a short carriage drive through the streets of Windsor, necessitating the closure of the centre of the town and a policing bill to taxpayers estimated at 2m. The TV coverage then paused for a break in which there was a cannily placed advert for Bocellis new album.

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Princess Beatrice, Eugenies older sister, was maid of honour. Photograph: WPA Pool/Getty Images

Though the weather stayed dry, guests arriving at the chapel faced a cold wind that removed the hat of Williamss mother-in-law and flashed one guests underwear to the TV cameras. Wrapped warmly against the gusts, Enid and Charlotte Kendrick from South Yorkshire said they were so excited to have won some of the 1,200 tickets offered to members of the public to watch the bridal party from inside the grounds of Windsor Castle, and to have spotted Jimmy Carr and Richard Bacon among the guests.

Were here just for the love of royalty, said Charlotte Kendrick, who works as a nurse in Leeds and remembers the royal familys special tea party in 1981 when Eugenies uncle Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer with her father taking photographs of the event from the television. I just love the history. Im a big Tudor fan, she said.

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Members of the public gather in Windsor, where the town centre had to be closed off. Photograph: Kirsty O’Connor/PA

Abby Osgood and Louise Blundell, from Windsor, had brought their children, who were chomping through commemorative chocolate coins and playing computer games on their phones while wrapping their coats around their ears. Why were they such royal fans? They keep the town nice, said Osgood. Without the castle, the town probably wouldnt be as nice as it is.

Blundell said: For me, after Harry and Meghans wedding, they are changing with the times and they are trying to keep it real.

They had no doubt the couple would be happy together. Osgood said: Now they are allowed to marry for happiness rather than a certain type or a certain breed. The royal family have learned their lesson. You need to marry someone who makes you happy in the long run.

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