While many people dream of being a real-life prince or princess, there's no doubt about the fact that being part of the British Royal Family has its downsides. From the high expectations to the lack of privacy, there's so much pressure on the royal family to be perfect. But this pressure becomes tenfold on their wedding day, and nobody knows that better than Princess Eugenie. However, as Prince Andrew's daughter walked down the aisle in 2018, it wasn't her dress or the smile on her face that led the whole congregation to gasp in unison. Instead, it was an intimate moment with the Queen that left everyone reeling.
The Big Day
Royal weddings aren't a small affair. And when the world learned that the Queen's granddaughter would be getting married, everyone had the same questions on their lips: when would the big day take place, and would it be televised? Well, that day finally came on October 12, 2018. As Princess Eugenie walked down the aisle with Prince Andrew beside her, she looked around St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle and the guests in attendance.
However, it was one particular guest that caught her eye the most, and that was her grandmother. But to truly understand what she did next, we need to learn a little more about her upbringing and her relationship with the Queen.
The Line of Succession
Princess Eugenie was born on born March 23, 1990. As the second daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, her birth became the talk of the town. After all, at the time of her birth, she was 6th in the line of succession. And while her chances of becoming queen were slim, that didn't mean that taking over the throne was impossible. So, she had to be on her best behavior.
Like every other member of the royal family, Princess Eugenie was taught from a young age how to behave like a royal. She was another face to the family name, and she needed to uphold their high standards.
Away From the Crown
But while Princess Eugenie was born towards the top of the ladder of succession, she knew that she wouldn't stay there very long. After all, her father was further up the pecking order than her, and she knew how much her cousins, Princes William and Harry, wanted (and were expected) to have children. This meant that the older she got, the further away she got from the crown - which meant that she couldn't be classed as a "working royal."
While working royals are gifted an allowance from the Privy Purse, Princess Eugenie and her sister Princess Beatrice weren't awarded such a generous gift. So, they knew that they'd have to work for their life in the spotlight.
Although this lack of access to the Privy Purse allowed Princess Eugenie to grow up in a relatively normal household, there's no doubt about the fact that her life wasn't normal. After all, she grew up as the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II - and that meant that everyone wanted to know everything about her. All eyes were on Princess Eugenie and her family, which came to bite them on the behind when their family dramas came to light.
For the most part, Princess Eugenie looks back on her early years with fond and happy memories. But the drama that occurred when she was just six years old certainly rocked her.
Severing the Ties
From the outside, Princess Eugenie's parents seemed to have a solid marriage. But as the son of the Queen and a working royal himself, Prince Andrew worked away a lot. This, coupled with rumors of alleged affairs, proved too difficult for Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson to navigate. And when Eugenie was just six years old, the world learned that her parents would be getting divorced. For the most part, however, their divorce was fairly amicable.
Although Eugenie was young, she had her older sister to support her - and their grandmother, the Queen, also decided to gift them £1.4 million to put into a trust fund for them both.
The Best Divorced Couple
Although Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson were not a match as a married couple, they both made it their mission to work hard as a divorced couple. They wanted to make their transition from married to divorced as easy and as simple as possible for their daughters, so they continued to make memories as a family. In fact, they even continued to go on vacation together as a united family.
Because of this, Eugenie had support from all sides as she was growing up, and later she claimed in an interview that her parents were "the best divorced couple I know."
Going Under the Knife
However, life wasn't all good for Princess Eugenie. A few years after her parent's divorce, it became clear that the young princess wasn't struggling with an incorrect curvature of her back. And while doctors wanted to avoid surgery to fix her scoliosis, by the time October 2002 came around, they realized that they would have no choice but to operate. So, Eugenie went under the knife when she was 12 years old.
To straighten out her scoliosis, surgeons inserted two 12-inch titanium rods into her back, and thankfully, the surgery was a success. She even showed off her scar on her wedding day.
A Royal Education
While Princess Eugenie's early and teenage years were full of struggles, they didn't prevent her from being a top student. Like most of the royal family, Eugenie was sent to boarding school when she was younger. Then, when the time came for her to choose her further education, she decided to follow her passion for art history and literature and study at Newcastle University. Of course, she wasn't a normal college student, but she tried her best to blend in.
And while her college years were impactful, her most memorable moment occurred when she was on a winter break from her university. In fact, this moment took place on the ski slopes.
Meeting Her Match
In 2011, while on a break from her studies, Princess Eugenie headed to the slopes of Switzerland to unwind with some friends. They spent their days sliding down the mountains on their skis and enjoying the delights of après-ski before heading back to university. But as a member of the royal family, Princess Eugenie struggles to slip under the radar - and she caught the attention of one particular wine merchant.
The young Jack Brooksbank was also enjoying the delights of the Swiss mountains when he came across Princess Eugenie, and it's safe to say that he was smitten. Eugenie, however, took a little more convincing.
What's in a Name?
Although the princess was certainly entranced by the young wine merchant's handsome appearance, humor, and personality, his name came with a few issues. After all, her dog was called Jack! At first, Eugenie just didn't know how she could go on a date with someone who had the same name as her dog. But after a while, she realized that she couldn't let an unfortunate coincidence get in the way of a potential soulmate.
So, Princess Eugenie decided to give Jack Brooksbank a chance - and she's so glad that she did. Before too long she was smitten too, and they became an official couple.
Pursuing Her Passions
As she wasn't a working royal and didn't have any royal money coming her way, Princess Eugenie knew that when she finished university, she would need to find a job. And when she graduated in 2013, she decided to pursue her passion for art and travel at the same time. For one whole year, she lived and worked in New York City as a benefit auction manager at an auction house. Then, when that year was up, she opted to move back to London.
Before too long, she bagged herself a job as the associate director at the Hauser & Wirth art gallery. As she proved herself to be an asset to the team, she was then promoted to director of the gallery in 2017.
But while Eugenie knew that she had to make her own way in life, she was also very aware of the fact that she grew up in a very privileged family. Because of this, she wanted to use her place in society to help others. So, she used her platform to help numerous charities that were close to her heart, including Anti-Slavery International and Children in Crisis. However, she kept these efforts relatively private, and didn't shout about them from the rooftops.
That's because working with these charities made her think about her own life and her future. She wanted to take these moments to really reassess her own life and what she wanted to do next.
The Engaged Couple
It seems as though Princess Eugenie wasn't the only one thinking about her future, though. In news that shocked the world, it was announced in 2018 that Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank were engaged. Her fans were over the moon to learn that she had found someone she wanted to marry, and they couldn't wait to see what their future would hold as a married couple within the royal family.
This news came with a lot of added pressure, though, and Eugenie knew that planning their wedding wouldn't be an easy job. In fact, it would soon become of the hardest things she's ever done.
Planning the Wedding
As a relatively private person, Princess Eugenie struggled with the public's newfound interest in her life and her wedding. She felt as though she was planning an event for other people rather than planning a romantic wedding for her and her fiance. Because of this, she often turned to her grandmother, the Queen, to help her wade through the madness. And the queen was more than happy to offer advice.
The Queen recommended ways in which the couple could honor their royal duties while still making their wedding personal, and so that's exactly the direction Princess Eugenie and Jack went in.
Picking the Tiara
As with any royal wedding, Princess Eugenie was expected to wear a tiara for her wedding - but this came with added difficulties. Over the years, tiara choice has been a serious bone for contention for royalists and journalists alike, and she knew that choosing the right tiara was a big deal. On the one hand, she wanted to honor the royal family and her legacy. But on the other hand she wanted to stand out.
Because of this, she decided not to wear a tiara that had been worn by the likes of her mother or Princess Diana in the past. Instead, she went much further back in history.
Introducing Margaret Greville
As Princess Eugenie did her research and scoured the number of tiaras on offer, she came across a woman by the name of Margaret Greville, who lived from 1863 until 1942. As the wife of a Member of Parliament, Margaret was not a member of the royal family - but she was a prominent member of high society. In fact, she was a famous hostess and socialite who had millions to her name.
When she passed away, Margaret decided to bequeath all of her jewels to Queen Elizabeth. Since then, they have been passed down from monarch to monarch - which meant that Eugenie had free reign of the collection. And that would soon pay off.
The Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara
As Princess Eugenie searched through the collection of royal jewels on offer to her, she stumbled across a particular tiara that once belonged to the socialite. It was called the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik tiara, and featured 93.7 carat cabochon cut emerald in the middle of the tiara. Not only that, but it was also surrounded by smaller emeralds and rose diamonds. It was truly beautiful, and Eugenie knew that she had to wear it.
Thankfully, the queen agreed to let her granddaughter wear the never-before-seen tiara for her royal wedding. And it's safe to say that it went down a treat with fans when they saw it for the first time. But the wedding proved to be much more dramatic than just the tiara.
Although Princess Eugenie was able to think outside of the box when it came to her tiara choice, her grandmother stood firm when it came to the schedule of the day. So, when the big day arrived, her father accompanied Eugenie down the aisle before she kneeled in front of the Dean of Windsor with her husband-to-be. Then, the Archbishop of York took over proceedings to offer his own personal prayer.
The whole ceremony was televised for those at home to watch, and it's believed that 48 million people in the UK and the U.S. alone tuned in to watch Princess Eugenie get married.
Distracted by the Jewels
But while much of the audience focused on the beautiful prayers and the vows the couple shared between them, there were others who couldn't stop staring at the stunning tiara sitting atop Princess Eugenie's head. It was unlike any tiara they had ever seen before, and they were curious to know more about it. How old was it? Who did it belong to? Was it from the queen's personal collection?
Eugenie's tiara choice really was one of the shining moments of the whole day, but many people were able to snap out of their reverie when the new couple was announced to the world.
Husband and Wife
After they had exchanged vows, slipped rings on each other's fingers, and shared a kiss in front of millions, it was finally announced that Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank were husband and wife. The whole church erupted into applause, and people at home cheered at their television screens. And while many people assumed that the couple would then walk out of the church and onto their reception, that didn't happen.
Usually, the couple walk out of the chapel while the national anthem plays behind them. But on this occasion, Eugenie and Jack decided to do something completely out of the ordinary.
An Unexpected Decision
Although Eugenie and Jack walked out of the chapel as expected, they didn't immediately walk to the door and exit the building. Instead, they decided to make an unexpected decision and pit-stop along the way. They walked halfway back down the aisle and stopped before turning to look at someone. For a few seconds, those at home were confused. What were they doing? Who were they turning to? Why weren't they walking out?
But after a little while, everyone realized what was happening. Sitting in front of where Eugenie and Jack were standing was none other than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Honoring the Queen
Although Eugenie and Jack weren't required to stop and acknowledge the queen, that's exactly what they decided to do. They took time out of their ceremony and their big day to have an intimate moment with Eugenie's grandmother, and that went down extremely well at home. In fact, many fans gasped when they saw Brooksbank bow down to both Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. It was an extremely touching moment.
Eugenie also decided to honor her grandparents on her big day. When her husband had finished bowing, she dipped her knees and gave them a wholesome curtsy that melted hearts around the world.
Sharing a Kiss
As onlookers smiled and appreciated the intimate moment the newlywed couple shared with the queen, they were over the moon to see the couple looking so happy together. And as they turned away from the monarch and made their way towards the exit, they were greeted by even more onlookers who hadn't managed to bag a seat inside the chapel. Of course, a giant round of applause erupted as soon as they made their way inside.
To the delight of the fans, many of whom had traveled from different countries to see the happy couple in the flesh, the new Mr and Mrs. Brooksbank then shared a kiss in front of everyone.
Match Made in Heaven
Of course, for those who know Eugenie and Jack personally, their nuptials didn't come as a surprise. Although the couple were only young when they met, they're a match made in heaven - something that the princess has since confirmed in interviews. In fact, Eugenie told the BBC, 'We met when I was 20 and Jack was 24 and fell in love. We have the same passions and drive for life.'
However, it seems as though that's not the only thing that Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank have in common. Like many other royal family members, they're actually related to each other.
A Common Ancestor
To be more precise, Eugenie and Jack are actually third cousins once removed and share a common ancestor in the form of the 2nd Earl of Leicester, Thomas William Coke. On her mother's side, Coke is Eugenie's great-great-great grandfather. And through Coke's second marriage, he is also Jack's great-great-grandfather. And while it's unusual for non-royals to marry distant relatives, this is actually a very common practice within the royal family.
In fact, the late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were also third cousins. While love is a factor in these marriages, keeping the bloodline pure is also an added bonus.
Their First Outing
While it's not known whether Princess Eugenie and Jack knew that they were third cousins when they first met, it seems as though that didn't stop them from falling in love and showing their relationship off to the world. And while the likes of Prince Harry and Prince William weren't allowed to show off their girlfriends at royal events before they got engaged, that didn't stop Eugenie from showing Jack off while they were dating.
Their first public outing as a couple occurred at the Royal Ascot horse race, and it's fair to say that the whole world wanted to know who the handsome man was by her side.
Making the Heart Grow Fonder
Their first official outing took place before Princess Eugenie left university and moved to New York, and we bet you're wondering whether Jack moved with her. Well, he stayed in England to continue his career as a wine merchant while Eugenie explored the Big Apple herself. And while many relationships would struggle under such circumstances, it seemed as though the absence (and a huge distance) simply made their hearts grow fonder.
Eugenie and Jack continued their relationship from overseas, and they encouraged each other to pursue their passions and their careers. But how exactly did they make their long distance relationship work?
Despite the fact that they were living in different time zones and dealing with busy workloads, Eugenie and Jack made each other a priority during this time. They knew that staying connected would be essential, which is why they always made time to communicate in some way or another - whether that be phone calls or video chats. During this time, Brooksbank told the Daily Mail that, 'We spend a lot of time on Skype.'
Of course, their distance did concern some people, with many questioning whether their very different lives forced them to break up. But Jack confirmed, 'It's great. We are still very much together.'
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank proved to the whole world that long-distance relationships can work, and when Eugenie returned back to the UK they merged their lives together once again. However, it's fair to say that people wanted more from the couple. By this point, they had been together for over five years without the hint of wedding bells on the horizon. And in royal terms, that was an eternity.
Everyone knew that Eugenie's family approved of Jack and loved him as one of their own, so what were they waiting for? Was Jack waiting for the perfect moment to pop the question?
Rumors Were Swirling
By the time 2016 came around, the rumors were swirling. The whole world wanted the couple to get married, so hush-hush stories of an impending engagement came to a head. In fact, the rumors grew even louder when it was confirmed that Eugenie and Jack had spent a weekend with the queen at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Everyone knew that the queen didn't invite just anyone to her beloved Scottish castle.
To royalists, this was confirmation that Jack had well and truly been welcomed into the royal family and was one of their own. But they had to wait even longer to see a ring on Eugenie's finger.
Popping the Question
Despite the fact that the whole world was waiting for news of their engagement, it seemed as though Eugenie was not expecting a ring on her finger at that point. She knew that she and Jack loved each other, and she knew that they were going to spend their lives together. That's why she was so surprised when Jack decided to pop the question while the couple were vacationing in Nicaragua in 2018.
By that point, the couple had been together for just over seven years and had solidified their life as a couple. Still, Eugenie couldn't quite believe it when Jack dropped down to one knee and asked her the big question.
Confirming the News
Of course, Princess Eugenie accepted her groom-to-be's proposal, and the couple relished in their good news privately before later announcing the news to the public. As you can imagine, her fans were over the moon to see the princess so happy, and they believed that they were the perfect match for each other. Eugenie obviously thought the same, as she told the BBC, 'I was over the moon. [It was a] complete surprise.'
Jack also spoke to the BBC soon after their engagement, stating, 'It was amazing. I love Eugenie so much, and we are just so happy and over the moon for what is to come.'
A Stunning Ring
But while fans of the couple wanted to celebrate in their joy, there's no doubt that many people also wanted to get a sneak peek at the ring. As soon as they spotted the custom engagement ring with a padparadscha sapphire, they knew that Jack had made the perfect choice. It was big and bold without being too over-the-top, and it perfectly suited the woman that Princess Eugenie had proved herself to be.
Plus, it made a huge impact when coupled with her iconic tiara at her wedding. And we bet her grandmother was incredibly proud to see Eugenie walk down the aisle with the love of her life.