BBC executives have turned down the chance to broadcast Princess Eugenie’s wedding next month – because they think it will be a ratings flop.
I can reveal that Prince Andrew was attempting to strike a deal with the network to televise his youngest daughter’s big day.
However, after secret meetings with the Beeb, courtiers were told it was a no-go.
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank are due to marry on October 12
Prince Andrew is keen that his daughter’s wedding receives the same attention as Prince Harry’s to Meghan Markle
Sky is also running no more than snippets throughout the day as part of its rolling news coverage. However, I understand that ITV may be coming to the rescue with a full programme of coverage.
A source tells me: ‘From the outset the instruction from the very top was that Eugenie’s wedding must be televised.
‘The BBC was approached because they have a special relationship with Buckingham Palace and a formula that works.
‘But they turned it down because they don’t think enough people will tune in and that there isn’t enough support for the Yorks.
‘The feeling at the Palace is that the BBC has dropped the ball. At the end of the day this is going to be a huge Royal Wedding, with all the senior members of the Royal Family in attendance. But nobody wants to take the risk and spend the money it would cost to put it on air.’
Eugenie, 28, and her fiance Jack Brooksbank, 32, announced their engagement in January. They later appeared on BBC1’s The One Show to talk about the moment Jack – an ambassador for George Clooney’s tequila brand – popped the question during a romantic holiday in Nicaragua.
It is understood that Prince Andrew feels his daughter should enjoy the same big day spotlight as Harry and Meghan, and the lack of interest by TV companies will come as a huge disappointment.
The couple, who started dating in 2010, are due to marry on October 12, and the Princess hoped that it would be an identikit wedding to her cousin Harry’s.
She is not only holding the ceremony at the same venue – St George’s Chapel at Windsor – but she has also invited a string of celebrities such as the Beckhams, George and Amal Clooney, and pop star Robbie Williams, as well as members of the public. In total there will be about 850 guests.
The security bill for the event is set to top £2 million because the couple want to make it such a spectacle. Eugenie’s sister Beatrice will be her chief bridesmaid, while Jacobi Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe – the half-brother of her close friend Cressida Bonas – will act as DJ.
The Queen famously has two birthdays each year but I hear Prince Charles is hoping to go one better. The Prince will be celebrating his landmark 70th birthday this year with three lavish parties.
The celebrations will kick off with a champagne reception, dinner and private gala evening, featuring Dame Maggie Smith, Sir Kenneth Branagh and Dame Judi Dench, at Buckingham Palace on October 25, which is being planned by Charles’s former senior valet Michael Fawcett.
Then, on his actual birthday – November 14 – the Queen is set to host an event in the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, where I understand she will give a speech to other senior Royals.
And finally the heir to the Throne will be honoured with a London Palladium gala starring some of the UK’s best-known magicians, which will be broadcast on ITV in a show called We Are Most Amused And Amazed.