© Reuters. Royal Wedding in Windsor
By Michael Holden
WINDSOR, England (Reuters) – Celebrities joined British royalty at Windsor Castle on Friday for the second big royal wedding of the year, with Princess Eugenie, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, following her cousin Prince Harry down the aisle.
Eugenie, 28, the younger daughter of the queen's third child, Prince Andrew, and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson the Duchess of York, will tie the knot with Jack Brooksbank, 32, at the monarch's home to the west of London.
Among the guests – many of them holding onto their hats in a strong wind – were actress Liv Tyler, model Naomi Campbell, and singers James Blunt and Ellie Goulding.
The daughter of singer Robbie Williams is a bridesmaid, along with Princess Charlotte, 3, daughter of Harry's elder brother Prince William and his wife Kate. Charlotte's brother Prince George, 5, will be a page boy.
Singing and cheering well-wishers gathered near the castle where Prince Harry married American actress Meghan Markle in May. Eugenie, ninth-in-line to the throne, has copied much of her cousin's blueprint for her big day.
"I'm a true royalist. I was here for the queen's 90th birthday. I was here for Harry and Meghan's wedding, I wouldn't miss it, I love the atmosphere," David Weeks, 77, bedecked in a Union Jack suit and bowler hat, told Reuters.
The ceremony will take place at the castle's 15th Century St George's Chapel. Charity guests and 1,200 members of the public were admitted to the grounds for the occasion.
"This is meant to be a family wedding," Eugenie's father, Prince Andrew, told ITV's "This Morning".
"There will be a few more people than most people have, there are a few more than Harry had, but that's just the nature of Eugenie and Jack – they've got so many friends that they need a church of that size to fit them all in."
One noticeable absentee was Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, the wife of heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, as she was carrying out an engagement in Scotland.
While Harry's wedding featured a fiery sermon from a U.S. Episcopalian bishop and a gospel choir, Eugenie's will be more traditional, with a performance by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and the address given by Dean of Windsor David Conner.
Eugenie's elder sister, Princess Beatrice, the maid of honor, will deliver a reading, an extract from the novel "The Great Gatsby".
After the service, the couple will embark on an open-top carriage tour of Windsor. The queen will then host a reception at the castle.
Eugenie, a director at London's Hauser & Wirth art gallery, and Brooksbank, European brand manager for Casamigos Tequila, which was co-founded by actor George Clooney, met in the Swiss ski resort of Verbier in 2010.
Security around Windsor was tight, with the public having to pass through airport-style security checks to get near the castle and large numbers of police on patrol.
As Eugenie does not carry out official royal duties, republicans have said it is wrong that the estimated 2 million pound ($2.6 million) security bill will be paid by taxpayers.
Writing in the Times newspaper, commentator Matthew Bell said the grandeur of the wedding showed Prince Andrew's desire to cement his family's royal status.
"When it is all over, Eugenie will continue to live with an identity experienced by a tiny minority: as a fully fledged princess, gawped at, envied and scrutinized by all," Bell wrote.
"Yet as the years roll by, and her royal status diminishes, as a peripheral figure of almost no consequence at all." ($1 = 0.7568 pounds)