Why Prince Philip decided to attend Princess Eugenie’s wedding after all

It appears The Duke couldn't say no to his beloved granddaughter.

As far as royal weddings go, the lead-up to this one was far from smooth sailing, so you couldn’t blame Princess Eugenie if she was suffering from some last-minute meltdowns.

It didn’t help that a petition was circulating demanding that taxpayers shouldn’t have to fork out millions of dollars to pay for security for the event, and that the BBC didn’t want to televise the wedding because it thought very few would watch.

But the bride at least had the consolation of knowing that one issue which could have cast a shadow over her big day was resolved.

Her grandfather, Prince Philip, did choose to attend the ceremony and pose for family photos, despite earlier reports that he would stay away because he can’t stand Eugenie’s mother, Sarah, Duchess of York. But thankfully, it seems he loves his granddaughter more and was there for her special day.

The last time Prince Philip and Fergie were officially photographed together was at her wedding to Prince Andrew.

Philip (97) has refused to talk to his former daughter-in-law since photos emerged of Fergie sunbathing topless and having her toes sucked by her financial manager John Bryan in 1992.

When Eugenie’s engagement to long-term boyfriend Jack Brooksbank (32) was announced this year, palace insiders said there was no way Philip would want to be in the same room as Fergie, and would likely be a no-show at the wedding.

Of course they were both at the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle in May, but Fergie (58) wisely stayed in the background and out of the Duke of Edinburgh’s way.

However this time, as mother of the bride, she would be part of the official wedding party and have to cross paths with Philip, even if it was just for the traditional photos.

Sources say Philip, who had a hip replacement earlier this year, was not happy about having to deal with Fergie, but had a change of heart in regards to attending the wedding because he didn’t want to ruin the occasion for his granddaughter, whom he “absolutely adores”.

“He can’t stand up for very long, which makes church services hard work, and he can’t stand Fergie, but he wants to see Eugenie married, and if he is fit enough to be there, he will be,” a royal insider divulged before the big day, adding that the famously quick-tempered senior royal was prepared to let bygones be bygones – at least for several hours – for Eugenie’s sake.

“He has agreed to pose in the wedding snaps alongside Fergie – which will be the first time they have been pictured together in 26 years. The duke loves his granddaughter and wants her big day to be just as special as those of her cousins. Her Majesty and the duke will be in the official photographs, just as they were in those of their other grandchildren, Peter and Zara Phillips, Prince William and Prince Harry.”

Meanwhile, Fergie was said to be “very nervous” about being in the company of her formidable former father-in-law, according to another palace insider.

People gave her advice on how to deal with Philip, says the source.

Fergie and Philip have managed to successfully avoid socialising with each other even though Fergie has, on several occasions, been a guest of the Queen at the royals’ Scottish residence, Balmoral, during the summer holidays.

“Her Majesty often has the duchess to stay for a few days early in her holidays, often before Philip gets there. He does not like being in the same building as her.”

The Queen has been far more forgiving than her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, and has slowly started inviting Fergie back into the royal fold.

Philip wasn’t at the Ascot races in June when Fergie was briefly allowed in the royal box, with her elder daughter Princess Beatrice, to say hello to the Queen. It was the first time she had set foot in the box in the presence of the monarch and Fergie couldn’t hide her glee.

The Queen (92) looked genuinely pleased to see the duchess, with the pair spotted sharing a laugh with Beatrice. “It was a huge moment for Sarah,” says a royal observer.

Seeing her mother absorbed – even slightly – back into the royal fold must be a relief for Eugenie. Her stress levels had been building thanks to criticism over the cost of the wedding.

It’s expected that the bill for the ceremony at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, followed by three parties over two days, will come to more than $5 million, which will be paid for by the royal family.

But the bill for security – in particular for crowd control when the newlyweds take a carriage ride around Windsor, just like Prince Harry and Meghan did after their nuptials – has caused controversy.

Security was expected to cost taxpayers a whopping $4 million and that’s angered 25,000 Brits who have signed the petition demanding that no public funds be spent on the wedding.

An anti-monarchy group launched the petition, arguing that the wedding is a “private, personal event” which is being “dressed up as a national occasion”. The petition states Eugenie (28), who is ninth in line to the throne and doesn’t carry out any royal duties, should get her family to pick up the bill for all costs, including security.

Prince Andrew is determined that his daughter Princess Eugenie’s big day be celebrated as widely as his nephew Prince Harry’s wedding.

Meanwhile, the bride has also had to deal with the humiliation of the BBC turning down the chance to broadcast her wedding live because it was concerned the event would be a ratings flop.

A source says the BBC felt even hardened royal watchers were unlikely to be interested in Eugenie’s big day, but Buckingham Palace felt the BBC had dropped the ball, especially as all senior members of the royal family were attending.

Eugenie’s dad, Prince Andrew (58), was furious, especially as the BBC covered the weddings of both William and Harry, so he stepped in and persuaded rival broadcaster ITV to screen her wedding.

A palace source says Andrew wanted the wedding to be at least as big as his nephew Harry’s was and insisted on the live broadcast.

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Plenty of celebrity guests attended, including Sir Elton John, and David and Victoria Beckham. Robbie Williams, whose daughter Teddy (six) was one of the bridesmaids, and Ellie Goulding were also there, as were Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell.

But the one guest who likely meant the most to Eugenie was her grandfather.

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