How Princess Eugenie's Wedding Broke Royal Protocol

Go Cara, go Cara!

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Friday marked Princess Eugenie's wedding day, and she could do whatever she wanted, because it's her dayRoyal weddings are typically a rigid, formal affair, with a ton of rules and formalities to follow. Traditions are cool and can make for a unique experience, but in the case of the royal weddings, it's almost more interesting to see what rules wound up being broken than what rules were followed.

As reported, Eugenie and Jack had an entirely plastic-free wedding today at her wedding to fiancé Jack Brooksbank, at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, as they are very passionate about the entire issue of excess plastic. Princess Eugenie is an ambassador for Project 0, an organization that works to protect and restore the ocean. Considering that her house, Ivy Cottage at Kensington Palace, is plastic-free, it's unsurprising that her wedding would follow suit.

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The sharpest outfit of the day goes to Cara Delevingne, who looked fresh and excellent in a three-piece suit and a top hat. And a toothpick. She KILLED it with her androgynous look, but also broke royal rules: according to Express, she wore the wrong color of hat. I know, sacre bleu! British etiquette experts Debrett's states on their website: "A grey or black top hat is worn with morning dress for racing but at most other events it is carried rather than worn and may be dispensed with." So many rules, so little time.

Princess Eugenie Of York Marries Mr. Jack Brooksbank

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Another rule that was broken has to do with entrances, and features our favorite newlyweds, Prince Harry and Meghan! These two are forever walking to the beat of their own drum, including today, when they entered the chapel–BEFORE William and Kate, the future king and queen of England, had even arrived. Protocol says that William and Kate are to enter first, and then Harry, the younger brother. But not these two! Never these two.

Princess Beatrice of York also broke with royal protocol, but this was for the sweetest reason: in an act of support for her mother, Sarah, Duchess of York, who has been on ice with the Royal Family for years. Wearing a mid-length deep blue Ralph and Russo outfit and a headpiece by Sarah Cant, Beatrice typically would precede Eugenie down the aisle, but chose to forgo that for this event.


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Even the reception broke the rules: Prince Andrew openly admitted to breaking the rules of York House, where the lunchtime reception took place. And then ANDREW GAVE JACK A HUG IN FRONT OF EVERYONE. OH MY GOD.

Jack Brookbank’s old headmaster, Anthony Wallersteiner, told Express: “It was the high point for everyone.

“The Duke said, ‘I’m going to break York House rules now’, and he went over and gave Jack a big hug.

“It was in front of everyone, even the Queen. It was a huge moment, a human moment.”

Eugenie's cake broke even more rules, with Buckingham Palace putting out a statement prior to the nuptials: "Princess Eugenie of York and Mr. Brooksbank have asked London based cake designer Sophie Cabot to make their wedding cake. The red velvet and chocolate cake will be a traditional cake, with a modern feel. It will incorporate the rich colours of autumn in its design and will be covered with detailed sugar work including ivy."

When Prince William and Kate Middleton were married in 2011, they were the first to buck the traditional royal wedding cake by not serving a pillared style fruit cake, but rather an eight-tiered stacked cake by Fiona Cairns. Earlier this year, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle further moved away from the tradition when they were the first couple not to serve fruit cake at their wedding reception, and instead served a lemon and elderflower sponge created by Claire Ptak.

The rules were meant to be broken, and I'm so happy Princess Eugenie followed her heart and bucked tradition on her big day.

Amanda Mitchell

Amanda Mitchell is a writer and podcaster with bylines at Marie Claire, OprahMag, Allure, Byrdie, Stylecaster, Bon Appetit, and more. Her work exists at the apex of beauty, pop culture, and absurdity. A human Funfetti cake, she watches too much television, and her favorite season is awards season. You can read more of her work at or follow her on Instagram and Twitter @lochnessmanda.