- Princess Eugenie of York married Jack Brooksbank on Friday.
- Eugenie’s sister and maid of honor, Princess Beatrice, read a passage from “The Great Gatsby” during the ceremony.
- People on the internet were quick to wonder why Eugenie would ask her sister to read an excerpt that compared her now-husband to Jay Gatsby.
At Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s wedding, Princess Beatrice stood before wedding guests at St. George’s Chapel and honored the couple with a reading from “The Great Gatsby,” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel.
The passage Beatrice read was a description of Jay Gatsby’s smile and included phrases like, “It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life.”
Given that “The Great Gatsby” tells the story of a man who coaxes a woman into loving him through artifice and deception, many wondered why Beatrice read from that particular novel.
Royal expert Rebecca English, however, was quick to clarify why Beatrice had chosen to pull that excerpt. According to English’s tweet, Princess Eugenie asked her sister to read that particular excerpt, in which Nick Carraway’s character describes Jay Gatbsy’s smile, because it reminded Eugenie of Jack’s smile.
— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) October 12, 2018
“It was soon after she and Jack had first met that Princess Eugenie read ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald,” the wedding program explained. “One particular passage in which Jay Gatsby is described reminded her immediately of Jack. She decided that she wanted to eventually let Jack know how much those words had brought him to mind. That is why they have a special place (as the second reading) in today’s wedding service.”
The internet had a lot to say about Princess Eugenie’s choice of literature
Despite the explanation, many said it was odd that Princess Eugenie would want her now-husband compared to Jay Gatsby, a con man who changed his name, made millions bootlegging, and then used that wealth to throw lavish parties with the exclusive hope that Daisy Buchanan, the object of his affection, would attend one of these parties and fall for him.
“I get the impression that the Princesses may not actually have read the Great Gatsby, seeing as they just read a passage about the smile of a conman about to massively defraud you,” wrote one Twitter user.
I get the impression that the Princesses may not actually have read the Great Gatsby, seeing as they just read a passage about the smile of a conman about to massively defraud you pic.twitter.com/wjcZhV6hkT
— Ned Donovan (@Ned_Donovan) October 12, 2018
The general consensus on the internet was a resounding, “huh?”
Um… This quite strongly suggests they don't understand what the Great Gatsby is about. https://t.co/j0xiM6yH7x
— Sam Freedman (@Samfr) October 11, 2018
Reading from The Great Gatsby at your wedding is asking for a divorce or to be widowed in 3 years time
— Congolesa Rice (@judeinlondon2) October 11, 2018
I see there’s been a reading of The Great Gatsby at #RoyalWedding2 … I used to teach the book – it’s about spoilt, rich, empty, cruel fools who destroy everything and everyone around them. Glad to see the Windsors are doing all they can to keep the spirit of Fitzgerald alive
— NeilMackay (@NeilMackay) October 12, 2018
Some pointed out that if you Google “literary quotes about smiles,” this passage from “The Great Gatsby” shows up.
Of course pic.twitter.com/NZx500ADsm
— Ned Donovan (@Ned_Donovan) October 12, 2018
However people on the internet reacted, the new royal couple looked very happy.
Here is the full text of the excerpt Princess Beatrice read:
“He smiled understandingly – much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced – or seemed to face – the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.
“Precisely at that point, it vanished – and I was looking at an elegant young rough-neck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd. Some time before he introduced himself I’d got a strong impression that he was picking his words with care.”
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