While the palace prepares for two royal weddings after last week's shock announcement of Princess Eugenie's engagement, it seems tensions are already rising between Prince Harry and his cousin after a string of battles over their rival ceremonies.
Royal insiders tell New Idea that a ‘wedding war’ has erupted between the royals, with Princess Eugenie going ‘all out’ in her attempt to outshine Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day.
It’s been claimed that Eugenie and new fiance Jack Brooksbank, 29, in fact got engaged before Harry and Meghan, but were forced by senior royals to ‘keep it quiet’ for months.
Since then a ‘ropable Eugenie’ has been stewing in the shadows, plotting her revenge against Harry and his bride-to-be – vowing to ‘blow them out of the water’ with a bigger, better and more memorable wedding.
‘Eugenie is furious at the palace for forcing her to stay quiet about her engagement, and it’s really left a bad taste in her mouth,’ says a source close to the 27-year-old. ‘Being proposed to is one of the most exciting moments in any young woman’s life – and to think she was ordered to keep it quiet for months because of Prince Harry's impending engagement news was a real slap in the face for her.
'Since then, she's been stewing over it and has vowed to make sure her wedding is more fabulous and more memorable than Harry’s. No-one expected two royal weddings in 2018, but Eugenie is promising that hers will be the one that everyone remembers.’
As part of her plan to steal Harry’s limelight, Princess Eugenie has already announced that she’ll marry in the same chapel as her royal cousin – St George’s at Windsor Castle. She was also reportedly pushing for a June wedding – just weeks after Harry and Meghan’s hugely-anticipated nuptials – but has been forced to push it back on royal orders.
‘Eugenie has always loved St George’s and seeing as she was forced to stay quiet about her engagement for so long, she thought marrying at the same church as Harry would be the ultimate revenge,’ says the insider.
‘Senior palace officials tried to talk her out of it, but she was insistent. They did block her plans to marry a few weeks after Harry, however, but she’s decided that having a wedding later in the year suits her payback plans to a T. Now she can see what Meghan and Harry do and up the game in time for her big day. Better dress, better guests... better everything.
‘She’s already calling on all her celebrity pals to ensure they’ll be in attendance.’
Sources say the ‘battle of the brides’ is already well under way with the princess ensuring her engagement ring was more impressive than Meghan’s. It’s believed Jack and Eugenie chose her ring together, with experts estimating the $175,000 rare pink sapphire and diamond ring – which is similar to the one her father Prince Andrew gave mum Sarah Ferguson – is worth more than double Meghan’s ring.
It’s also believed that Princess Eugenie is courting couture’s top designers and may even snare Karl Lagerfeld himself to design her wedding gown.
‘Karl refused to do Meghan’s dress because he thought it was a little too much exposure, but he has a soft spot for Eugenie and just may agree to creating a bridal gown for her,’ says a fashion insider. ‘Landing Karl would be a hell of a coup for Eugenie.’
The princess has also involved big sister Beatrice in her plan to upstage Harry and Meghan, with a very bold move to steal headlines. She’s also asked Princess Charlotte and Prince George – as well as Duchess Kate’s new baby – to be in the bridal party, the new royal bub’s first official outing.
‘The plan is for George to carry his new baby brother or sister up the aisle for the ceremony,’ says an insider. ‘It may not be possible, but it would surely make the day a lot more memorable.'
‘Harry and Eugenie have always had an up and down relationship – he’s always felt she and Beatrice have been bitter towards he and William since Charles refused the girls official roles within the family,’ says a source. ‘But he doesn’t care about her silly wedding games. He’s annoyed by her attempts to undermine Meghan, but he has decided to rise above it all. He’s marrying the love of his life and that’s all he cares about.’
For the full story see this weeks issue of New Idea - out now!