Strange Things About Princess Eugenie's Marriage

2018 was a busy year for the royal family. While Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding on May 19 was an international affair, Princess Eugenie's October nuptials were just as regal. Eugenie married her longtime love, Jack Brooksbank, in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle — the very same location where Harry and Meghan tied the knot. But while much is known about Harry's wife, as Meghan was formerly a famous Hollywood actress, Eugenie's new husband is a little more aloof.

In an interview shared by the royal family's official YouTube channel after their engagement announcement in January 2018, Princess Eugenie revealed, "We met when I was 20 and Jack was 24 and fell in love. We have the same passions and the same drive for life." Much like Harry and Meghan, Eugenie and Jack invited members of the general public to attend their wedding, with some 1200 people invited "to watch the arrival of the congregation" and to "listen to a live broadcast of the Marriage Service" from outside Windsor Castle, per the royal family's Instagram invitation. While their wedding featured all of the trappings of a royal event, here we take a look at some of the stranger things about Princess Eugenie's marriage that you might not know about.

The Duchess of York is a big fan of Jack...

Following Princess Eugenie's engagement announcement, the bride's mother, Sarah Ferguson, shared her excitement on social media. On January 22, 2018, Sarah, also known as the Duchess of York, tweeted a photo of the couple with the caption, "We love Jack and I am so excited to have a son, a brother and a best friend. Eugenie is one of the finest people I know and so together it will be pure harmony." While most soon-to-be mother-in-laws would express their joy at welcoming a son or daughter into the family, Sarah went a step further by calling Jack Brooksbank "a best friend" and "a brother," as well as "a son." Which seems a little... weird?

Sarah's enthusiastic tweet wasn't the first time she'd said a little too much about her daughter's partner. In a November 2018 interview, she told the Daily Mail, "She and Jack are just meant to be. He adores her, and now I've got a son. Jack is like Zebedee. Boing, boing!" According to the publication, Ferguson then proceeded to mimic the "Magic Roundabout character on his coiled spring." For those not in the know, The Magic Roundabout was a British children's program shown on the BBC between 1965 and 1977 (which was remade as 2005 movie Sprung! The Magic Roundabout and a short-lived 2007 TV reboot). And — you probably guessed it — Zebedee was an overzealous jack-in-the-box (shown above), which apparently acted a lot like Jack.

... but his own grandma seems kind of on the fence

If anyone was surprised to see Jack Brooksbank marry a member of the royal family, it was his very own grandmother. Speaking to the MailOnline in January 2018 about her grandson's forthcoming wedding, Joanna Newton, Jack's maternal grandmother, said, "I never thought he would get married to a royal. He's a charming boy and all that but not the most intelligent and I would never have thought this would happen." There really is nothing like a family member giving you a cold, hard dose of reality, is there?

Newton even gave some behind-the-scenes gossip away in her interview, explaining to the MailOnline, "I do know that they're now not going to get married in September. He said 'we can't get married in September now so we will have to get married in October.'" Jack's grandmother was very complimentary about the bride, and seemed to suggest that the princess might be settling saying, "I think it says a lot about Eugenie that it's him she wants and it's lovely." However, she did describe the groom as a "good egg," and Jack is probably relieved about that. Especially as she'd just said that her grandson was "charming," but not the "most intelligent." Family, right?

Do you like booze? Jack's your guy.

Princess Eugenie's husband had an unusual journey to becoming a royal. Prior to meeting a princess, Jack Brooksbank worked in hospitality, and was apparently "nicknamed 'barman Jack' in his Chelsea social circle," per the Daily Mail. Rather than attending college, Jack launched his career straight out of school, and started out as a waiter. The same outlet reported that Jack was quickly recruited for a job in a bar frequented by Prince Harry and his friend Guy Pelly, and eventually landed at Mahiki nightclub in Mayfair, London, which is renowned for attracting celebrity clientele. From there, Eugenie's now-husband began to network within royal circles, which led him to meet his wife. According to the Duke of York's official website, Jack met Eugenie "in 2010 in Verbier," Switzerland on a ski trip.

Before joining the royal family, Jack was apparently keen to transform his image to be taken more seriously, and he soon secured a role as the European Brand Ambassador of George Clooney's former tequila brand, Casamigos. Appearing on BBC's The One Show in August 2018, Eugenie's mother Sarah Ferguson revealed that she was a fan of Jack's role with Casamigos saying (via the Daily Mail), "He'll just hand me the tequila and say 'come on mother-in-law, down it!'"

Nothing screams royal wedding like an inflatable slide

While Harry and Meghan's wedding was a traditional, one-day affair, Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank carried on their celebrations into a second day. Having gotten married on Friday October 12, Jack and Eugenie apparently invited guests to a carnival-themed party in Windsor Great Park, featuring fairground rides, candy, and live performances in the style of a music festival. Eugenie even changed into a casual, yet bridal look consisting of a white mini dress and silk pink biker jacket emblazoned with "Mrs Brooksbank" on the back in sequins, designed by Sam Dougal, per Harper's BAZAAR UK.

Guest Baroness Cleopatra von Adelsheim von Ernest shared photos from inside the second day party, showing a huge inflatable slide, as well as a game stall at which cuddly toys could be won. Meanwhile, guest Irene Forte shared a photo of an old-fashioned carousel available for the guests to ride on. According to Sky News, British pop star Robbie Williams performed at the reception, while fellow singers Ellie Goulding and James Blunt were apparently also in attendance, per the Daily Mail. A source told the outlet, "There will be dodgems and funfair rides, coconut shies, lots of food stalls, loads of cocktails, bloody Marys for the hangovers and a festival vibe." And judging by reports, it did not disappoint. 

What's in a name, anyway? Oh right, a dukedom.

Despite marrying a member of the royal family, Jack Brooksbank is yet to be bestowed with a royal title. While Meghan Markle was given the title Duchess of Sussex on her wedding day, Eugenie's husband's name remains the same as prior to getting married. The reason for this, in part, is because of where Eugenie and Harry are respectively in line to the throne. As of this writing, Harry is sixth in line to the British throne, per the royal family's official website, whereas Eugenie is ninth, and will be bumped to tenth when Meghan and Harry's baby arrives.

As a male heir to the throne, Prince Harry automatically inherited a dukedom on his wedding day, with his wife receiving the title of Duchess. However, as royal historian Marlene Koenig tells Town & Country, "There is no precedent for giving a peerage to the commoner husband of a princess on the wedding day."  The outlet also reported, "If he is not granted a title on his wedding day by the Queen ... he will remain Mr. Jack Brooksbank." As such, Eugenie's husband has retained his pre-marital name, as has the princess herself. Although as the BBC points out, Eugenie "will have the option to take his surname," but for now at least, she appears to have kept her own title and name.

Not so fast, you two

Princess Eugenie's engagement to Jack Brooksbank was announced on January 22, 2018, per the royal family's official Twitter account. However, an anonymous source revealed to Vanity Fair in September 2018 that Eugenie had wanted to get married sooner, but wasn't allowed to. Per the source, "It's my understanding that Eugenie and Jack decided some time ago that they wanted to get married, and there was some talk about a wedding in 2017, but they had to wait for Harry to go first."

As royal fans will know, Harry announced his engagement to Meghan in November 2017, and their wedding took place in May 2018. Again, the reason for Eugenie having to delay her wedding comes down to rank, and placement in the succession to the throne. Vanity Fair's source revealed that there were "no bad feelings at all," especially as "Eugenie is very close to Harry, and she knows how the system works." Still, Eugenie's family were allegedly intent on giving her the big day of her dream. The source explained, "The feeling among the Yorks is that she deserves her moment in the spotlight and a big royal wedding with all the frills."

Presumably, there may be other moments throughout their marriage when they will have to put their plans on hold, so as to respect the plans of members of the royal family who outrank them.

All play and no work

Despite getting married in October 2018, Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank didn't step out for their first official royal engagement together until March 2019. While they were seen attending Prince Charles' 70th birthday party at Buckingham Palace in November 2018, per Harper's BAZAAR, the event wasn't public, and they were merely seen "arriving in a chauffeur-driven car." And their attendance at a gala at Kensington Palace in November 2018, rather than being a work commitment, was in support of Eugenie's mother and the charity Street Child. Otherwise, the newlyweds have been keeping a very low profile since their very public nuptials.

Cosmopolitan UK reported that the couple's first official work engagement together was at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, where Eugenie underwent scoliosis surgery when she was twelve-years-old. While the princess was announced as the royal patron of the hospital, Jack accompanied his wife on a tour of the building. Conversely, Prince Harry and Meghan's first official royal engagement took place days after their royal wedding. Having gotten married on May 19, 2018, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were next seen on May 22 at a garden party thrown in honor of Prince Charles' 70th birthday, per Town & Country. So much for the honeymoon!

Is this the royal version of a dad joke?

During the live broadcast on Princess Eugenie's wedding day, her father, Prince Andrew, made a very big claim. Seemingly not wanting to be outdone by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's spectacular royal wedding, Andrew told ITV's This Morning (via Daily Mail), "It will not be the same as the previous one that was held in May. It's not a public wedding, this is meant to be a family wedding. 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 and they need a church of that size to fit them all in."

The Daily Mail's Rebecca English tweeted about the incident writing, "Interview with Prince Andrew on @itv @thismorning #royalwedding special — insists this wedding is NOT like Harry and Meghan's but says there are more people because Eugenie and Jack have so many friends." While publications such as The Mirror and The Scottish Sun speculated that Prince Andrew was "throwing shade" at 2018's other royal wedding, it's entirely possible he was simply excited about his youngest daughter's big day. And the fact that she has so many friends, naturally.

I now pronounce you husband and and wife ... and cousins?

Prepare yourselves for a shock. Princess Eugenie is distantly related to her husband. According to The Sun, the newlyweds "share an ancestor in the 19th century aristocrat Thomas William Coke, who was the 2nd Earl of Leicester," making them "third cousins once removed." Business Insider discovered the connection via The Peerage, and it made a handy chart showing how Eugenie's mom and Jack's dad have an ancestor in common. As Business Insider notes, "Coke is Eugenie's great-great-great-great grandfather," and "also Brooksbank's great-great grandfather," which seems pretty close, to be honest.

Business Insider also notes that it's fairly common within royal circles to be romantically linked to a distant relative. The publication explains, "Historically, royal families were very closely linked because it was strongly discouraged to marry outside of the aristocracy." And Eugenie isn't the only member of the royal family to be related to her beau. The Queen herself has a common ancestor with husband Prince Philip, with both descended from Queen Victoria. Basically, you'll never look at your distant cousins in quite the same way again.

Stick to the hits next time, Beatrice

Some readings are synonymous with weddings, such as poems by E. E. Cummings or sonnets by Shakespeare. However, Princess Eugenie's older sister, Princess Beatrice, gave a somewhat unexpected reading for a royal wedding when she read an extract from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In the excerpt read by Beatrice, the narrator is entranced by consummate conman Jay Gatsby, and his enigmatic smile and behavior. Perhaps, in hindsight, Gatsby wasn't the most romantic character to refer to during a royal wedding.

As The Guardian notes when discussing the strange choice of wedding reading, "Gatsby is a contrivance, a performance, a seductive chimera, a fraud." The publication goes on to explain that The Great Gatsby is "a book about time and loss and hopelessness and the impossible longing to reinvent yourself and capture a moment in and out of time. But, friends, it does end badly." Hopefully though, the reading is no indication of the marriage itself, which so far has been nothing short of romantic.