Chapel provides backdrop in another royal wedding showstopper
Eugenie and Jack’s big day followed on months from Harry and Meghan’s nuptials.
The scene at St George’s Chapel was set once more for a showstopping royal wedding but replacing the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the altar were Princess Eugenie and her groom.
It was the turn of the Queen’s granddaughter and drinks executive Jack Brooksbank to take centre stage at Windsor Castle, 146 days after the blockbuster nuptials of Harry and Meghan on a scorching hot May day.
Apart from the cooler weather, October 12 looked like a re-enactment of May 19, with perhaps a few more jackets, as guests milled around the Gothic chapel and greeted one another with kisses on both cheeks as they arrived.
Women dressed to the nines and men in morning suits wandered the aisle and a din of chatter filled the chapel, making it feel more like a society soiree or VIP enclosure at a race meeting than a wedding service in a house of God.
With a star-studded guest list of 800 in the congregation, around 200 more than the number at Harry and Meghan’s wedding, the seating was laid out differently, perhaps to accommodate the bigger crowd.
Chairs were lined out facing into the aisle, with Kate Moss taking her seat on the front row, a familiar place for Moss who is in demand on “frows” at fashion week every season.
The supermodel was joined by her partner Count Nikolai von Bismarck and daughter Lila Grace.
Dressed in a delicate monochrome polka dot number, the fashion queen was seated around an hour before the ceremony began and chatted with her daughter and partner who were sitting behind her.
At one point, Lila Grace could be seen leaning forward and speaking into her mother’s ear.
Anyone with trouble finding their seat were helped along with name tags placed on each chair, a formality that was missing from Harry and Meghan’s wedding.
Not all guests were allocated a specific seat however, so ushers had to juggle between assigned and unassigned.
Taking his seat in the second row was comedian Jimmy Carr, who on arrival surveyed the congregation from the side and fiddled with his cufflinks.
Just a couple of seats down from Carr was Livin’ la Vida Loca singer Ricky Martin, sitting next to his partner Jwan Yosef.
On the other side of the aisle, pop star Ellie Goulding and her fiance Caspar Jopling sat next to one another.
The Burn singer could be seen glancing around the growing congregation and chatting to Jopling before the service started.
A guest rushed up to Goulding at one point and kissed her on both cheeks before moving off to take her own seat.
Front row guests in the nave included broadcaster Stephen Fry, singer James Blunt, Richard Banson’s son Sam, and artist Tracey Emin who chatted to a friend in the aisle ahead of the bride’s arrival.
Other guests included actresses Liv Tyler and Demi Moore, Kiss Kiss singer Holly Valance, former footballer Jamie Redknapp, Delevingne sisters Cara and Poppy, broadcaster Richard Bacon and reality TV star Ollie Proudlock.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s sister Pippa was in the front row of the nave with her husband James Matthews and brother James Middleton.
Harry’s former girlfriend Chelsy Davy was chatting and mingling with friends to the side of the chapel before most guests took their seats.
Guests seated in the nave were able to watch the 17-member orchestra and also see the readings as they were delivered from the organ screen.
This meant guests in the nave at Eugenie’s wedding could see more and in turn may have felt more involved than they did at Harry’s nuptials.
Family and friends of the couple, many of whom were attending their second royal wedding of 2018, were greeted with autumnal flowers on arrival at the 15th-century Gothic chapel.
The displays created by Rob Van Helden had shades of oranges, reds and purples.
Foliage and flowering branches, sourced locally from Windsor Great Park, with roses, hydrangeas, dahlias and berries, were draped around the church.
One of the doors was dressed in a floral arch which was embellished with what looked like the Chinese lantern plant, giving the display a Halloween vibe.
A hush fell over the chapel at about 10.30am and guests took their seats against the backdrop of music from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
The bride’s arrival was heralded by trumpeters lined out at the back of chapel.
While Meghan walked through the nave without her father on her arm, Eugenie had the Duke of York by her side.
Andrew and Eugenie smiled at guests in the front row, while those in rows nearer the back bobbed from side to side trying to get a clear view of the bride in her Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos gown.
Sunlight streamed in through the windows lighting up the aisle for Meghan, but on this October day all guests could see through the glass were trees being blown around by strong gusts.
The bridal party’s gaggle of youngsters included future king Prince George, Princess Charlotte and pop star Robbie Williams’ daughter Theodora.
The Angels singer’s six-year-old daughter Theodora, who is known as Teddy, had a starring role as a bridesmaid, alongside five-year-old George and three-year-old Charlotte.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Spanish nanny, Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo, was on hand to keep the VIP children in check.
The group had a few minutes to wait before the bride arrived.
George held his hand over his ear as trumpeters lined out at the back of the chapel moments before Eugenie’s arrival.
He was standing next to sister Princess Charlotte and Peter and Autumn Phillips’ daughter Savannah.
As the trumpeters got into position, the nanny held George and Charlotte’s hands.
Before that, George could be seen looking around the chapel and craning his neck to look up into the high ceiling.
The prince could be seen shuffling his feet on the carpet beneath him, while Charlotte went up on her tiptoes at one point.
The group of children were startled and jumped when the trumpeters performed an initial flurry, and Savannah appeared to put a finger in her ear as she anticipated what was to come.
At one stage, George seemed to shake his legs and briefly bobbed up and down in time to the music.
In the few minutes the children had to stand, one little girl appeared to sit down on the stone ledge behind them before the nanny nudged her up.
Meanwhile, a wedding with 800 guests meant that hundreds of women were showcasing the height of fashion, resulting in a dizzying array of hats an fascinators to admire, or otherwise.
As ladies were choosing head wear for the big day, some may have recalled the infamous hat dubbed a turkey twizzler that Princess Beatrice wore to William and Kate’s wedding.
Standout fascinators included Poppy Delevingne’s blue feathered piece which could be seen rising above the congregation from the back of the chapel, and a yellow netted piece adorned with small balls of coloured fluff.
One woman matched her red headpiece with red-framed sunglasses which she kept on as she made her way through the church, and another man in the congregation also sported sunglasses before the service began.
Popular culture was not just reflected in the selected guests, but was woven into the ceremony itself through music, literature and art.
There was Andrea Bocelli’s spine-tingling rendition of Ave Maria, a reading of an extract taken from The Great Gatsby, and an image of abstract art called Here by Mark Bradford printed on the Order of Service.
The atmosphere created by one of Bocelli’s performances during the ceremony was interrupted at one point by the ringing of a mobile phone.
The inclusion of the artwork was likely a nod to Eugenie’s love of art and her job as a director at the contemporary art gallery Hauser & Wirth in London.
The evening festivities at the York family home may well draw inspiration from the groom’s job as brand ambassador at Casamigos tequila.
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