Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank hold final wedding rehearsal
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank held their final rehearsal ahead of their wedding – expected to be a traditional event with modern touches.
The Queen’s granddaughter and her fiance were spotted arriving at Windsor Castle just a few hours after the Dean of Windsor described them as the “perfect couple”.
With Mr Brooksbank at the wheel of the car, they travelled in convoy with a vehicle driven by the Duke of York with his ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York beside him and Princess Beatrice on a back seat.
In Windsor, there was a noticeable police presence as security was stepped up ahead of the couple’s big day – which is expected to attract thousands to the Berkshire town.
David Conner, the Dean of Windsor, said it had been a pleasure to work with the Queen’s granddaughter and her fiance in the run-up to their wedding service, which he said would be a mix of the “traditional and modern”.
The dean, who will officiate when the couple make their marriage vows and give the address, has also been giving the pair the traditional pre-marital guidance counselling.
He said: “As a couple they come across as just the perfect couple.
“They are very natural with each other, they obviously love one another but they also have a lot of fun together and it’s been a real pleasure to work with them.”
The Queen, who has been spending her traditional summer break in Scotland at her private Balmoral retreat, arrived at Windsor Castle on Thursday afternoon as preparations gathered pace.
Punters have been making last-minute bets on which designer has created Eugenie’s wedding dress.
Erdem remains the favourite with some bookmakers at 2/1, but Ladbrokes said there has been a flurry of bets for British design brand Suzannah, with odds cut from 9/2 to 3/1.
While Paddy Power suspended betting on Stella McCartney after a large number of punts on Sir Paul McCartney’s daughter.
Some 850 guests will gather in the historic surroundings of St George’s Chapel where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wed five months ago.
Harry and Meghan and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expected to be among the guests on Friday, along with the Queen and a host of royals.
Celebrity guests will include former Take That singer Robbie Williams and his wife and fellow X Factor judge Ayda Field.
Williams’ six-year-old daughter Theodora is taking a starring role as a bridesmaid, alongside five-year-old Prince George and three-year-old Princess Charlotte.
Royal fans will be hoping for some fun-filled antics from the young helpers in the bridal party, which include Zara and Mike Tindall’s spirited four-year-old Mia and Peter and Autumn Phillips’ daughters Savannah and Isla.
Future king George will be joined by fellow page boy Louis de Givenchy – the six-year-old son of JP Morgan banking executive Olivier de Givenchy and his wife Zoe.
Eugenie and Jack’s big day follows the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s May nuptials – the first time in living memory two royal weddings have been staged in the same year at Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel.
Choristers Alexios Sheppard, 11, and Leo Mills, 12, both performed at Meghan and Harry’s wedding and now will sing with others for the Queen’s granddaughter and her fiance.
Leo said: “I think it’s really cool we get to sing at two royal weddings in one year. No one ever really gets to do that much – it’s a very rare occasion so we’re very lucky.”
Alexios joked: “They call it a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but not for us.”
Stars predicted to attend the second royal wedding of the year include singer Ellie Goulding and fiance Caspar Jopling, supermodel Cindy Crawford, David and Victoria Beckham, Harry’s exes Cressida Bonas and Chelsy Davy, model Cara Delevingne, singer James Blunt and wife Sofia Wellesley, and George and Amal Clooney.
Italian singer-songwriter Andrea Bocelli will perform two pieces during the ceremony, which begins at 11am, with members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra also featuring.
The Queen is hosting an afternoon reception afterwards in the castle’s St George’s Hall, but the festivities are expected to continue into the early hours with an evening party at the York family home, the Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park.
Royals fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the bride can wait for the newlyweds’ carriage procession through Windsor town centre – but the couple will not be travelling up the Long Walk to the Castle like Harry and Meghan did.
Proud parents the Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York will be gearing up for the celebrations.
Andrew has remained on very friendly terms with his ex-wife the duchess amid speculation they might even remarry.
However, her relationship with her former father-in-law the Duke of Edinburgh is said to be non-existent.
Philip is said to have never forgiven “Fergie” for the scandal she caused when she was caught in the infamous “toe-sucking” incident, having her feet kissed by financial adviser John Bryan in 1992.
The groom Jack has asked his brother Thomas to be his best man, while Eugenie’s older sister Princess Beatrice will be her maid of honour.