Sarah Ferguson on Why Eugenie’s Wedding Was “Difficult”

Sarah Ferguson played the important role of mother of the bride when her daughters, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, each got married. Her involvement in each celebration wasn’t just in title—Ferguson says she had a part in planning each special day. While discussing her new novel, A Most Intriguing Lady, at The 92nd Street Y in New York on March 6, 2023, the Duchess of York opened up about what planning each royal wedding was really like. At the event, Glamour Editor-in-Chief Samantha Barry, who moderated the event, asked Ferguson, “Both of your daughters had gorgeous weddings. Were you involved in any of the planning?” 

Ferguson answered honestly, noting a key difference between the two nuptials. “The first one was a little difficult because it was Eugenie’s wedding, and that was all sort of taken out of my hands,” she admits. “But I did the dress with Eugenie, all the personal bits, which was lovely. The second one (Beatrice) was definitely me because it was 30 people, and it was in the pandemic, and it was in the garden, so I opened it up. Had a really fun time.”

Eugenie married Jack Brooksbank on October 12, 2018, at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in front of 800 guests. For the occasion, the bride donned a Peter Pilotto custom long-sleeve ball gown with subtle lace and a V-shaped back that showed off her scoliosis scar. “As soon as we announced the wedding, I knew the designer and the look straight away,” she told British Vogue. “I never thought I’d be the one who knew exactly what I like, but I’ve been pretty on top of it.” She also incorporated personal touches throughout the gown, such as a thistle for Scotland to honor the couple’s love of Balmoral, a shamrock for Ireland to reflect the bride’s material family, and the York rose and ivy to capture the couple’s home. Ferguson also chose an outfit that represented her Irish heritage: an emerald green midi-length dress with a V-neck and cropped sleeves by Emma Louise Design. 

Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi initial intended on trading vows in May of 2020, but the pandemic altered their plans. Two months later, the couple held a private and intimate ceremony at the Royal Chapel of All Saints at the Royal Lodge, where the bride grew up. Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth also attended the ceremony, which followed government guidelines. Beatrice donned a vintage gown from her grandmother’s closet, an embellished Norman Hartnell design that she revamped by adding organza puff sleeves and altering the hemline. 

After reflecting on her daughters’ wedding days, Ferguson explained that her latest novel—which will be published on March 7, 2023—was written in the hopes that it could give certain women in history a voice. “I think my real love is to take an invisible woman from the grave and say, ‘Right, this is your story. How would you like it to be told?’ And just tell it,” she says. The book is a historical romance novel about a duke’s daughter who has a secret life as a sleuth for high society members. To celebrate the release of her latest work, she tells People, “I’ll probably have a glass of champagne!”