By John Brindley
Friday's second Royal Wedding of the year brings good news – and bad news.
The good news is that extensive media coverage and general ridiculously hyped attention effectively fills the soap opera vacuum as we approach a weekend without Premier League football.
The bad is that we are paying for it as usual – although Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksband’s little shindig is clearly a knockdown affair compared with the hefty bill for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Security costs, which is the very least we can do for the happy couple, are expected to be a mere £2m, compared with more than £30m for the real show back in May.
And let’s face it, it’s a mere drop in the ocean compared with the current £369m ten-year refurbishment of Buckingham Palace which is adding further to our annual tab.
Everything you need to know – and a whole lot more – will be thrown your way by the sycophantic mainstream media in coming days, so treat this as an alternative wedding guide.
It’s purely for entertainment purposes, of course, but if you’d like to do your own research, decide for yourselves if it’s nearer to the truth than the official version.
This will, of course, be a very special day for Eugenie’s parents, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, and perhaps could be a modest payback for the mess the Royals have made of their lives.
You see, not a lot of people know this, but in the early 1960s there was much speculation about how Andrew arrived into the world.
The inconvenient little problem was that Prince Phillip had been ‘sent away’ in 1959 after not adjusting particularly well to married life.
Apparently a gentleman’s club down in Old Soho was more the dashing young man’s cup of tea – fellow attractions including the lovely Kray brothers and a number of very attractive young ladies.
Official sources contended Phillip spent his long afternoons sipping PG Tips and discussing subjects of common interest. Unfortunately these included women such as Zsa Zsa Gabor and Katie Boyle who were moved to state they were just good friends.
Whatever happened or didn’t happen – and as we must depend on the Royal press office and the Royal press office mark II (sometimes known as the mainstream media) - we will never officially know.
But reportedly The Queen herself was the subject of flattering attention from a certain Henry George Reginald Molyneux Herbert, Earl of Carnarvon, or Lord Porchester, to you and me.
They apparently spent much time together socialising at Broadlands where Lord Mountbatten, no less, was their host.
They would talk animatedly about horse racing which was always on the cards as Porchy was a rather famous horse owner.
Andrew’s arrival in 1960 was certainly a little too close to the fence for comfort.
There was much speculation about this matter of paternity back in the day – although this was not for us to know.
Cabinet papers released in 1990, referring to 1959 – the year Andrew was conceived – report that the Royals were discussed on three occasions but the information concerned was more than averagely sensitive.
Usually such matters are kept secret for 30 years – but, on this occasion, one was embargoed for a further 20 and the other tucked away until 2059 – a cool 100 years.
But don’t feel too sorry for Phillip.
According to a book called My Husband and I: The Inside Story of 70 years of Royal Marriage by royal watcher Ingrid Seward, he had a nice time with Sarah Ferguson’s mum Susan Barrantes.
Only in Royal circles could a match then be made between Andrew and Sarah – thinking about it, which side of the aisle did Phillip sit?
Anyway things haven’t subsequently been so lovey dovey.
Andrew and Fergie subsequently divorced – although nobody knows why considering they’re clearly the best of chums – and Fergie’s mum had a little accident in a car not long after Princess Diana departed. Lost her head and all that – frightful mess.
Phillip reportedly doesn’t ever want to be in the same room as Fergie again. Answers on a postcard, please…..
So, really, that’s just a scene setter for Friday’s big day at Windsor Castle.
Open top carriage procession, 850 guests, Royal Philamonic Orchestra, Scottish pipers, trumpet fanfare – nothing too flash, you understand.
Oh so modern Eugenie, whose main contribution to public life has been a fashion faux pas at a previous do, has demanded there will be ‘no plastic’ at the wedding. But that doesn’t account for the guests.
Anyway, do enjoy the bash and don’t worry about the bill – as Theresa May says, austerity is a thing of the past now.
And if it’s not your scene, don’t fret, the footy will be back before you know it. And that’s not a dig at the bride’s mother!
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