Princess Eugenie’s commoner groom: Who is Jack Brooksbank?
Jack Brooksbank may not be a royal but he’s got at least one near-royal celebrity connection: George Clooney.
So don’t be surprised if Clooney and his wife Amal, the human-rights lawyer with the movie-star looks, show up for the royal wedding at Windsor Castle on Friday, when Brooksbank, a former bartender, marries Princess Eugenie of York, daughter of Prince Andrew the Duke of York, and one of Queen Elizabeth II’s beloved grandchildren.
The Clooneys lately are special favorites of British royals: The glam couple also attended the May 19wedding of Prince Harry and the former Meghan Markle, now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, because Amal is a friend of Meghan, 37, the American ex-actress-turned-royal humanitarian.
Now the Clooneys are expected at the York wedding because Brooksbank works for Clooney as the European manager for Casamigos Tequila, the brand that Clooney co-founded.
Count on tequila making an appearance at the wedding reception.
“I’m in charge of drinks and we’ll be serving Casamigos,” Brooksbank told The Daily Mail last week.
So who is Jack Brooksbank? Eugenie, 28, is not super well-known in America the way, say, her cousin Prince Harry is, but Brooksbank, 32, may be even more a mystery to Americans
That’s about to change. Here’s what we know about the groom:
Who is Brooksbanks’ family?
He’s the son of an accountant, George Brooksbank and his wife, Nicola, and has a younger brother, Thomas, who will be his best man.
The Brookbanks are commoners but they are descended from a family of baronets, the lowest rung on the ladder of British hereditary titles. These distinctions are important to Brits, especially to royals, aristocrats and the tabloids that cover them.
Three days before the wedding, Eugenie’s father, Prince Andrew, tweeted out childhood photos of the two Brooksbank brothers.
Where does he live?
Since 2001, his parents have lived in Wandsworth near Battersea Park, a neighborhood surrounding a huge park south of the River Thames and also not far from the school that Prince George of Cambridge attends.
Jack lives with Eugenie in Ivy Cottage at Kensington Palace. Before they moved in this year, she lived a few miles away at St James’s Palace with her sister.
Where did he go to school?
Brooksbank attended a posh school, Stowe School in Buckinghamshire, which is on a list of top co-ed boarding schools in the United Kingdom. He grew up among the upper-class, aristocratic socialites who hang out with the young royals like Eugenie, her sister Beatrice, 30, and their cousins.
But unlike Eugenie, who graduated from Newcastle University in 2009 with a degree in art and English literature, Brooksbank left Bristol University and went into the restaurant and bar industry, working first as a bartender.
He’s most famous for once managing the London nightclub Mahiki, a tropical-themed Mayfair nightspot popular with the rich and young royals such as Prince Harry.
How did he meet Eugenie?
They met seven years ago while skiing in Verbier, the Swiss resort town where Eugenie’s parents co-own a chalet. When Eugenie moved to New York City briefly for her career (she now helps run a London art gallery), they continued their relationship long distance.
“We have the same passions and drive for life,” Eugenie said in an interview with the BBC. “It’s so nice that we get to share this moment with everyone, and you get to meet Jack.”
“We were skiing which was amazing. Love at first sight,” he said.
He proposed while they were on vacation near a lake in Nicaragua; she said it was a complete surprise and brought her to happy tears.
It was a “perfect moment,” she told reporters. “I was over the moon, crying.”
How do her parents feel about him?
They’re wild about Jack, expressing joy on social media when the engagement was announced in January.
“Jack is an absolutely outstanding young man and Eugenie and he have got to know each other over a number of years, and I’m really thrilled for them,” Andrew told the BBC. “I’m just completely overjoyed for them and wish them every happiness.”
His ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, gushed about Brooksbank in a series of tweets: “They float with laughter and love,” she wrote in one post.
“Total joy!” exulted another.
The tabloids have already investigated Brooksbanks’ “people” (because that’s their job) and claimed to have discovered that Eugenie and Jack are very distantly related through her mother.
But it’s no big deal: The queen and her husband Prince Philip are both descended from Queen Victoria. And Prince Charles’ second wife, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, is descended from one of the many mistresses of his great-great grandfather, King Edward VII.
How do her grandparents feel?
She said the queen, 92, knew early on about the engagement before it was announced.
“She was one of the very few people at the beginning, we left her this weekend (in January) and had a lovely time and she was very happy, as was my grandfather (Prince Philip),” Eugenie told the BBC.
What’s he really like?
One jokey assessment comes from his maternal grandmother, Joanna Newton, 91, who told the tabloids The Sun and the Daily Mail that her grandson is “a charming boy” but “not the most intelligent.” On the other hand, he “has always had lovely manners and has always been a good egg.”
But his granny is thrilled about the wedding and is definitely going to be there.
“I would call him ordinary. I wouldn’t say there is anything special about him; he’s a good-looking, nice chap and I think it says a lot about Eugenie that it’s him she wants, and it’s lovely.”
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