Princess Beatrice likened brother-in-law to character ‘unfit for royal wedding’

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Royal weddings are huge affairs, with millions of pounds spent and thousands of guests involved. The past decade saw some of the biggest royal weddings in recent memory. In 2011, Prince William and Kate Middleton married, with two billion people around the world tuned in.

Royal fans were then privy to two weddings in 2018 – Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May, and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank in October.

Harry and Meghan’s wedding eclipsed Eugenie’s, the Duke of Sussex’s cousin.

Yet, little details about the Princess’ big day have since been scrutinised, revealing peculiar quirks about the ceremony.

One came from the wedding speeches given by close friends and family.

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In her speech Princess Beatrice used an extract from F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the book which chronicles the fidelities and drama-filled lives of a group of rich and carefree Americans in the Roaring Twenties, to describe Jack.

Nicki Swift explained: “In the bit read by Beatrice, the narrator is entranced by consummate conman, Jay Gatsby, and his enigmatic smile and behaviour.”

At the wedding, Beatrice, in comparing Jack to Gatsby, said: “An elegant, young roughneck.

“A year or two over 30.

“Whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd.”

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Some readings are synonymous with weddings such as poems by E.E. Cummings or sonnets by William Shakespeare, and as Ms Swift noted in a 2019 YouTube video: “In hindsight, Gatsby wasn’t the most romantic character to refer to during a royal wedding.”

Author Sam Leith, in an opinion piece for The Guardian at the time, questioned what Beatrice actually meant by her comparison, and whether the royal had understood the book.

He said: “I mean, for a wedding ceremony where the father of the bride is reported to have been furious that the BBC declined to broadcast it live and in full on national television, where the streets of Windsor are to be closed to traffic so that Princess Eugenie (ninth in line to the throne) and her groom Jack Brooksbank (brand manager for a tequila firm) could parade through the streets in a carriage waving to the common people… it could all look a little bit on the nose, couldn’t it?

“Among other things, the tragic hero of Fitzgerald’s story is himself ghastly new money striving for reinvention, and the book’s tragedy is the way he is broken like a butterfly on the wheel of old money, social convention and inherited privilege.


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“It’s not a book that roots for any American equivalent of the Royal Family.”

He continued: “That said, it contains some nice frocks, and makes mint juleps sound bloody delicious, so it’s not all bad.

“And the passage they did choose, describing Gatsby’s magnetic smile, reads well in isolation: ‘It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself.’

“But the rest of the novel, of course, goes on to make clear how, to quote another great work, you could take a good look at that face and see that the smile is out of place.

“Gatsby is a contrivance, a performance, a seductive chimera, a fraud.”

Jack’s comparison to Gatsby, then, might allued to someone who is unfit to be part of a Royal Family wedding, especially given his work as a bar manager and brand ambassador, a role similar to that held by Gatsby.

Eugenie and Jack have since stayed strong as a couple, and recently announced they were expecting their first child in 2021.

The Princess announced her pregnancy in September 2020 in an Instagram post.

Alongside a photo of her husband holding up a pair of baby slippers, she wrote: “Jack and I are so excited for early 2021.”

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