Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank married in a stunning and sweet ceremony at St George's Chapel on Friday (Oct. 12), and as promised in the Order of Service for their ceremony, the bride's sister gave an unexpected reading. Amid classical music by Bach, traditional hymns and renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli singing "Ave Maria" was an excerpt from American author F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, which maid of honour Princess Beatrice read with great animation.
As a director at the contemporary art gallery Hauser & Wirth in London, the 28-year-old bride has long been involved in and had a passion for the arts, so lending some added culture to their service comes as no surprise. What may not have been expected is the passage that her 30-year-old sister read. The iconic book is quite dark and explores the decline of the American dream. However, the couple has chosen an excerpt that talks about main character Jay Gatsby's smile - one that perhaps reminded Eugenie of her future husband.
— The Duke of York (@TheDukeOfYork) October 12, 2018
"He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly," it reads. "It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.
"Precisely at that point it vanished — and I was looking at an elegant young rough-neck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd. Some time before he introduced himself I’d got a strong impression that he was picking his words with care."
In a pre-wedding interview with ITV, the Queen's granddaughter explained just how much Jack mirrors the qualities in the passage. “Jack’s the kind of guy, you know when you’re lost at a party and you can’t find anyone to talk to, and you start panicking and you need help? He’ll walk in and make everyone feel so special,” she said. "He’ll scoop you up and talk to you and make you feel a million dollars and [speaking to Jack] that’s you, and you’re so humble and generous."
During the ceremony, Eugenie also followed in the footsteps of Princess Diana and the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex. During her vows, the princess did not promise to "obey" her husband, something that her aunt Diana refused to do at her 1981 wedding at a time when it was a highly controversial move. Today, it's far more commonplace to exclude it.
Over all, the service was filled with special moments. “Princess Eugenie and Mr Brooksbank have taken great care and interest in bringing together the content of their service, working closely with the Dean of Windsor and all others involved," Buckingham Palace said. “The couple are looking forward to sharing their marriage ceremony with their family, friends and all those who have come to celebrate with them.”