With her father’s car crash Newsnight interview casting a dark cloud over their engagement, announced six weeks earlier last September, Beatrice had never intended her wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi to be a high-profile affair. The global pandemic put paid to their original plan to marry on May 29 at St James’s Palace with a reception afterwards at Buckingham Palace hosted by the Queen.
But it wasn’t just the coronavirus crisis that prompted the couple to hold the first Royal wedding behind closed doors in 235 years.
Although Andrew was able to put his troubles aside to walk his beloved daughter down the aisle at All Saints Church in Windsor on Friday, that he and his ex-wife do not appear in the images released by Buckingham Palace speaks volumes.
It seemingly wasn’t enough for the ceremony to be held in secret – effectively sparing the Queen’s beleaguered son from appearing in public.
The royal powers-that-be had clearly decided it was probably not a good idea for him to feature in the historic pictorial record of the event either. It is undoubtedly a spectacular fall from grace for the 60-year-old royal who had gained a reputation for leaving no one in any doubt of his status as the sovereign’s second-born son.
Instead the public has been treated to two – admittedly beautiful – images of the bride and groom emerging through the floral archway of the intimate 19th century church in Windsor Great Park, and posing alongside the Queen and Prince Philip, 99.
Marking the first time the Duke of Edinburgh has been photographed in public for months – the touching snap also serves as a reminder that although he may have retired from public life, he remains the House of Windsor’s patriarch.
One of the reasons the 94-year-old monarch has remained close to her former daughter-in-law, the Duchess of York, despite her being responsible for some of the most uncomfortable royal headlines in recent memory, is out of respect for the way she has brought up her daughters.
Although at times criticised by the press for their perceived sense of entitlement, anyone who has ever met “Bea” and “Eug” will vouch that they are impeccably well-mannered and grounded young women acutely aware of their privileged upbringing.
Both have been profoundly affected by the scandal that has engulfed their father – and by association, their mother, who still lives with her ex-husband at Royal Lodge, his Windsor mansion.
Andrew has long been described as the sovereign’s “favourite” child, but what Beatrice’s venue, dress and tiara choices illustrate is the profound level of affection between the Queen and her beloved grandchildren.
It is no coincidence that after what has been a miserable few months for Beatrice, said to have been the more tearful of the two sisters over their father’s predicament, the Queen offered her fulsome support in loaning not only a vintage dress by Norman Hartnell but also the remodelling services of her closest aide, Angela Kelly and dressmaker Stewart Parvin.
This was clearly a wedding dress commission with HM’s full stamp of approval – as was the loan of Queen’s Mary’s Garrard and Co tiara. The piece of jewellery – made from a diamond necklace given to Queen Victoria for her wedding had added significance because Beatrice was named after Victoria’s youngest daughter. A nod too, to Fergie – a self-confessed Victoriana nut.
How fitting that one of the readings was sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare. Although famous for the opening line: “Let me not to the marriage of true minds/Admit impediments,” in the Yorks’ case, the playwright’s observation about love, “That looks on tempests and is never shaken”, bearing it out “even to the edge of doom” has arguably never been more apt.
The Telegraph, London