I honestly don’t hate the fact that we’re getting so many stories about Princess Eugenie’s upcoming wedding. It’s a little more than two months away, and I’m quite excited about it. Not Meg-and-Harry-level excitement, but still. Eugenie and her mom and dad are going to pull out all the stops to ensure that she has a grand, attention-grabbing wedding at Windsor. It was always going to be the case that Prince Andrew would want that for his daughter – since he believes his daughters should be bigger public figures – but I’m slightly surprised by just how much Sarah Ferguson has gotten involved. Vanity Fair’s Katie Nicholl even did a lengthy piece about Fergie’s involvement in the wedding planning – go here to read. According to Nicholl’s sources, Fergie sees Eugenie’s wedding her big opportunity to come out of the cold, after decades of being ostracized from the Windsor establishment. Some highlights:
At Prince Harry’s wedding: Fergie came by herself, and Jack Brooksbank met her at the door and took her to her seat – she was relegated to a seat further back in the church, presumably so that she was not in sight of Prince Philip.
The Philip conundrum: There is no love lost between the Duke of Edinburgh and his former daughter-in-law; sources close to the duke say he can’t bear to be in the same room as Fergie, which poses a tricky family dilemma. If the 97-year-old duke is fit enough to attend Princess Eugenie’s wedding—and he is close to his granddaughter—he will be forced to put on his best poker face.
Fergie’s plans for Eugenie’s wedding: For make no mistake, this mother of the bride plans to have a central role on her daughter’s big day. According to friends, she has already had meetings with several dress designers as she searches for the perfect outfit for the wedding and evening party, which she and Prince Andrew plan to host. While the Queen will host a reception after the wedding at Windsor Castle, just as she did for Meghan and Harry, the wedding party will be held on the grounds of Royal Lodge, the Yorks’ family home in Windsor. “Sarah and Andrew are helping to organize the evening party. The plan is for a marquee to be set up in the grounds and dancing late into the night,” said a source helping with the event. “Eugenie and Jack are planning the whole thing but Sarah and Andrew are very involved. Sarah is bringing a very eclectic and exciting guest list to Windsor.”
Eugenie is happy to have her mom so involved: “There’s a lot of excitement about the day. Sarah and Andrew are just thrilled Euge is getting married and they are all very much in the planning stages at the moment. Sarah is being very hands-on, but in a great way, and Eugenie wants her mum to be a big part of it all and will make sure Sarah is included in every aspect. Her feeling is the other royals will have to get on with it.”
The Queen is actually a fan of Fergie: The Queen has always shown kindness to her former daughter-in-law, inviting her to Balmoral in recent years (not while the duke is in residence) and into the royal box at Royal Ascot. The Queen is said to respect the fact that Sarah and Andrew have remained friends since their divorce in 1996. They are so close that many in their circle have openly wondered if they might remarry, “but that will never happen while the duke is alive,” according to a friend. Having raised their daughters together, they still vacation together (they co-own a chalet in Verbier) and when she’s in the U.K. Sarah stays at Andrew’s home Royal Lodge in Windsor, where she has her own designated bedroom.
I thought Nicholl’s piece was very interesting for several reasons. Fergie and Andrew clearly want to drum up more interest in Eugenie’s wedding, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Fergie and Andrew were plotting together to “remake” Fergie into a more comfortable and harmless mother-of-the-bride figure after years of scandal. But the VF piece also reminded everyone of the simple fact that Philip absolutely loathes Fergie. How deep is his hatred for his former daughter-in-law? It’s still so deep that he might actually skip his granddaughter’s wedding.
Will Prince Philip attend the wedding of his granddaughter Princess Eugenie in October? Philip, 97, who is retired from public life and underwent a hip replacement operation in April, has been on frosty terms with Eugenie’s mother Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, since she separated from Prince Andrew in 1992.
He did, however, make it for that other royal wedding of 2018 — that of Eugenie’s cousin Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. “He does what he wants,” says a well-placed insider in this week’s issue of PEOPLE. “He made a supreme effort for Harry. I would be very surprised if he did go, because he is so estranged from Fergie. I think he will decide at the 99th hour.”
I was actually somewhat surprised that Philip came out for Harry’s wedding, especially considering that he had just come out of the hospital at that point. I’m not aware of Philip having any problems with the York princesses, so if he didn’t attend, it would be just because of Fergie’s presence. And Fergie’s not going anywhere. So I don’t know. Would Philip really skip out? As the royal courtiers say, HE DO WHAT HE WANT.
Photos courtesy of WENN, Backgrid and Pacific Coast News.