PRINCESS EUGENIE and Princess Beatrice both had royal weddings but unlike their more senior cousins, there was one rule they didn’t have to obey.
Princess Eugenie, 30, and Princess Beatrice, 32, are granddaughters of Queen Elizabeth II, 94, and as such are entitled to royal weddings. While Bea’s secret wedding in July was less lavish than her sister’s in October 2018 – one key difference set their weddings apart from Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s.
Princess Beatrice and Eugenie are currently 9th and 10th in line to the throne.
The sisters have been pushed down the line of succession in recent years due to the arrival of new royal babies, and neither of them were senior enough to warrant certain protocols surrounding their wedding.
Prince William and Prince Harry’s positions in the line of succession meant they had to abide by royal customs when it came to announcing their engagements and planning their weddings.
The hefty traditions Meghan and Harry had to stick do are detailed in a new book about the couple, Finding Freedom.
Princess Eugenie v Beatrice: Both York sisters are now married (Image: GETTY)
Princess Eugenie v Beatrice: Eugenie married Jack Brooksbank in October 2018 (Image: GETTY)
Authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand describe how Harry prepared Meghan for what becoming a royal bride would entail.
They write: “Once Harry asked Meghan for her hand in marriage he talked to her about how the entire process of marrying a royal would work.
“He guided her through the necessary protocol that would follow their engagement – including Her Majesty’s public declaration of her approval of the union.”
According to Mr Scobie and Ms Durand, the Queen gave Harry and Meghan’s wedding the go-ahead months before it was finalised.
Princess Eugenie v Beatrice: Princess Beatrice and Edo married in a secret ceremony in July (Image: GETTY)
They write: ”Although the Queen had already privately given their engagement her blessing, the Queen’s approval wasn’t formalised until the following year, when she signed the Instrument of Consent, which read, ‘Now Know Ye That We have consented and do by these Presents signify Our Consent to the contracting of Matrimony Our Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales, KCVO and Rachel Meghan Markle.’”
According to the authors, the process of having a royal engagement approved by the Queen only applies to those sixth in line to the throne and above.
They write: “The rule that the monarch must approve the marriage for the first six in line to the throne has existed since the Royal Marriages Act of 1772, which was ordered by King George III, whose younger brother, the Duke of Cumberland, secretly married Lady Anne Horton, considered to be the disreputable widow of a commoner.”
The Royal Marriages Act 1772 was an act of the Parliament of Great Britain which prescribed the conditions under which members of the British royal family could contract a valid marriage.
The rule was put in place in order to guard against marriages that could diminish the status of the royal house.
While the rule was repealed as a result of the 2011 Perth Agreement, which came into force on 26 March 2015.
Under the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, the first six people in the line of succession need permission to marry if they and their descendants are to remain in the line of succession.
Following the First World War, another law changed royal marriages forever because for the first time in history British princesses were no longer expected to marry into foreign dynasties.
Princess Eugenie v Beatrice: Princess Beatrice only had 20 guests at her wedding (Image: GETTY)
This meant princesses were freer to marry who they wished.
Constitutional expert Iain MacMarthanne explained: “With the Great War, and George V letting it be known in 1917 that his children were free to marry British citizens, the predominately two-way marriage market with Germany came to an end, and with it British princesses assuming foreign royal titles upon marriage.
“Prior to these changes, and given the historic nature of these past arrangements, there was never a custom of creating royal princesses peeresses in their own right.
“Additionally, given the patriarchal nature of the peerage, where creations were made they have invariably only been given to men. Only a small handful of exceptions to this rule exist and most are of ancient lineage.
“Since George V’s ruling, no British princess has married a foreign prince.
“George’s daughter Mary married the future Earl of Harewood, becoming the Countess.
“The Queen’s sister Margaret, became the Countess of Snowdon when her husband was created the Earl.
“Both Princess Alexandra of Kent and Princess Anne refused titles for their husbands and in consequence were also know as Mrs Ogilvy and Mrs Phillips respectively.”
Asked why neither Beatrice nor Eugenie were gifted royal titles on their wedding as were Prince William and Harry, Mr MacMarthanne said: “Following the historic custom and the trends that have developed since 1917, it is no surprise that when Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie married they only assumed their husbands’ surnames and were not made peeresses in their own right.”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK