Princess Eugenie‘s father-in-law George Brooksbank – dad of her husband Jack – died days before their baby son’s Christening on Sunday, MailOnline can reveal today.
George Brooksbank, 72, passed away in the week of August’s Baptism at the All Saints Chapel in Windsor Great Park, which was attended by the Queen.
A royal insider told MailOnline: ‘George had been in hospital with covid and had not been the same after that. He had been unwell for some time. It’s been a difficult time for Jack losing his father before the Christening’. Another source said it had been a ‘miracle’ George survived Covid last year after five weeks on a ventilator and that it had been ‘wonderful’ that he had been alive to see August born.
Mr Brooksbank’s cause of death has not been confirmed. Buckingham Palace has been asked to comment.
The tragedy hit the Royal Family just before the double Christening of the Queen’s two great grandsons, August and his second cousin Lucas Tindall, the son of Zara and Mike Tindall. Despite the bad news, Jack and Eugenie decided the event should still go ahead.
August, born in February, is Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s first child and a first grandchild for Prince Andrew, the Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York, and Jack’s parents George and Nicola. He is also the ninth great-grandchild for the Queen. The baby is 13th in line to the throne.
The couple both put on a brave face yesterday despite suffering the secret heartbreak of Mr Brooksbank’s passing. He had been battling ill health having caught Covid last year and spent a period in ICU.
Mr Brooksbank, a retired chartered accountant and company director, split his time with his wife of 36 years Nicola at their homes in Wandsworth, south London, and Bordeaux, France. He had suffered from poor health having been in intensive care with coronavirus at the start of the pandemic last April.
The old Etonian, whose son Jack married the Queen’s granddaughter in 2018, was in a ‘serious but stable’ condition in hospital after getting the virus but battled through. His wife Nicola, 68, also caught Covid but was able to recuperate at home.
Eugenie and Jack were warned to ‘prepare for the worst’ when Jack’s father was put on a ventilator for five weeks. But he recovered from the life-threatening battle with the virus and left hospital last June.
Mr and Mrs Brooksbank watched proudly as Jack, 35, married Eugenie at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, at a ceremony attended by the Queen and most senior members of the Royal Family in 2018. The couple rode in a carriage procession around Windsor after the wedding, which was broadcast live by ITV.
Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank arrive at All Saints chapel for joint christening baby, August Phillip, and Zara Tindall’s son Lucas, amid the heartbreak of Jack’s father’s passing in the days before the family celebration
It was confirmed that George Brooksbank, pictured with wife Nicola at Jack and Eugenie’s wedding, died last week. He had battled covid on a ventilator last year
The Queen is pictured arriving at the Royal christening of her two great grandsons at All Saints chapel in Windsor yesterday
There were fears Her Majesty would not attend after being forced to miss the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph last week because of a sprained back (Pictured: The Queen arriving to joint christening ceremony)
Zara Tindall appeared to opt for a black ensemble and pearl dangling earrings as she drove herself to the venue
Zara’s smiling husband Mike (pictured) arrived in a separate vehicle dressed in a smart blazer and white shirt
Despite the family tragedy, the Christening went ahead, with the Queen, 95, being among the supportive guests at the All Saints Chapel in Windsor Great Park.
There were fears Her Majesty would not attend after being forced to miss the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph a week earlier because of a sprained back.
After cancelling her Poppy appearance last week, the 95-year-old warned that ‘none of us can slow the passage of time’ via a speech delivered by the Earl of Wessex after the monarch failed to address the Church of England’s national assembly for the first time in her 69-year reign.
But she had told courtiers she was set on being present this weekend as her granddaughters Princess Eugenie, 31, and Zara Tindall, 40, christen their first-born sons and was pictured at the ceremony in Windsor.
There was initial confusion as guests began to arrive at the chapel this afternoon, with reports suggesting the Queen may miss the event because she was still recovering from her injury.
The royal, who wore her auburn locks loose, wore a silk white dress featuring embroidered detail which she paired with a statement headband and blue pendant necklace, while her grieving husband Jack wore a navy suit, crisp white shirt and light blue, patterned tie.
Meanwhile, Zara Tindall, 40, opted for a black ensemble and pearl dangling earrings as she drove herself to the venue in a black Range Rover, while her husband Mike arrived in a separate vehicle dressed in a smart blazer.
In late October, Her Majesty drastically cancelled a trip to Northern Ireland and spent the night at London’s King Edward VII’s Hospital to undergo ‘preliminary’ tests, before being advised to rest after a particularly busy few weeks.
The monarch also did not make an in-person appearance at Cop26 in Glasgow but instead sent a video message, and later missed the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on November 13.
Commentator Penny Junor told the Sun attending the baptism of her great grandsons would have been very important.
She said: ‘I’ve never heard of two royal babies being christened together like this. The Queen is very spiritual, a christening is a very important occasion for the head of the Church of England and being there will be of great importance to her.
‘She’s very fond of Zara and Mike, and Eugenie too.’
Many guests arrived in convoy – including Prince Harry’s ex Cressida Bonas, who accessorised with gold hoop earrings and a glittery gold headband, and her husband, Harry Wentworth-Stanley.
For the double christening, Princess Eugenie opted for a natural makeup look, which included a touch of blusher to the cheeks and a nude-coloured lip.
Nothing hinted at the fact that she had lost a close loved one just hours earlier.
Prince Harry’s ex Cressida Bonas, who accessorised with gold hoop earrings and a glittery gold headband, and was spotted heading to the chapel alongside her husband, Harry Wentworth-Stanley. Pictured, together
Pictured: Prince Harry’s ex-girlfriend Cressida Bonas arrives at the double royal christening at All Saints chapel at Windsor
Princess Eugenie wore her auburn hair loose as she arrived in Windsor alongside husband Jack Brooksbank (pictured)
Princess Eugenie opted for a silk dress embroidered with floral pattern detail and accessorised with a blue pendant necklace
Peter Phillips looked dapper in a suit as he drove a black Range Rover to his nephew’s christening
Princess Eugenie, who was sitting at the back of her car while husband Jack Brooksbank was at the front, was all smiles as she arrived at the historic chapel
The 31-year-old welcomed her son – August Brooksbank – who is 13th in line to the throne, with husband Jack Brooksbank on February at London’s Portland Hospital.
She had planned to christen him in July at the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor Great Park.
However, celebrations were apparently scrapped after a fellow attendee is said to have either tested positive for corornavirus or been pinged by the NHS Covid-19 app minutes before meaning the gathering had to be cancelled.
Little August – the grandson of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson – was christened alongside his second cousin, Lucas Tindall – the son of Zara, 40, and Mike Tindall and grandson of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips.
Princess Anne’s daughter and the former England rugby star welcomed their third child – and first son – in March.
The royal babies were reportedly christened in Holy Water Prince Charles picked up on his recent trip to Jordan.
It has been revealed the Prince of Wales, 73, is to bring back ‘five or six dozen bottles’ of Holy Water from the River Jordan for future royal baptism after his whirlwind trip to the Middle East with the Duchess of Cornwall, 74 (pictured near the River Jordan on the first day of their trip to Jordan)
The Prince of Wales was pictured picking up ‘five or six dozen bottles’ of Holy water taken from the River Jordan back to the UK for royal baptisms – which could include that of Lilibet, the grand-daughter he has never met.
The water will eventually wind its way back to the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace, where Prince Louis was christened. It will also be used for non-royal worshippers at the chapel.
Other children set to be christened are Princess Beatrice’s new daughter, Sienna Elizabeth.
It’s believed the ceremony will be led by chaplain to Great Windsor Park Canon Martin Poll.
The church forms part of the Royal Lodge at Windsor Great House where Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson live and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie grew up.
There had been fears the Queen would miss the event but it is understood she made an ’11th-hour decision’ and took advice from her personal doctor, with a source saying she was ‘keen to be there’ as she ‘knows how important it is’ for her children and great-grandchildren.
It’s an unusual move for the two royal cousins to have a joint christening, with the royal commentator Penny Junor saying it would be a ‘fantastic message to the world that she is not ready to leave us yet’.
Who are the Queen and Prince Philip’s 12 great-grandchildren?
Ten-year-old Savannah Phillips, who was born in 2010, is the Queen and Philip’s eldest great-grandchild (left) while her younger sister, Isla, has just turned nine and was born in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year of 2012 (pictured with Autumn and Peter in 2019)
1. Savannah Phillips
Ten-year-old Savannah Phillips, who was born in 2010, is the Queen and Philip’s eldest great-grandchild.
She is the daughter of the Princess Royal’s son, Peter Phillips, and his ex-wife Autumn.
The couple announced they were divorcing in 2020, but share custody and co-parent their children.
At Eugenie’s wedding in 2018, bridesmaid Savannah had pageboy Prince George trying to stifle laughter when she entertained him by pretending to play the trumpet in St George’s Chapel.
She was also once seen pushing George – her second cousin – down a grassy bank at a polo match, and also putting her hand over his mouth as the National anthem was played while they were on the Buckingham Palace balcony for Trooping The Colour.
2. Isla Phillips
Savannah’s younger sister, Isla, has just turned nine and was born in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year of 2012.
Her middle name is Elizabeth in honour of the monarch. The Phillips sisters are not entitled to a royal title.
They are usually kept out of the limelight – but sometimes join other members of the family on the Buckingham Palace balcony for major events.
They are mostly spotted enjoying themselves as they play together at horse trials.
3. Prince George
Future king George, born in 2013, is the oldest of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children (pictured front left)
Future king George, born in 2013, is the oldest of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children.
The seven-year-old has spent much of lockdown at William and Kate’s countryside home, Anmer Hall in Norfolk.
The prince is known to be a fan of helicopters, and all things police-related.
Football-mad George is also a passionate Aston Villa fan, just like his father.
George is seen as shyer than his younger sister, Princess Charlotte, occasionally appearing a little reluctant in front of the cameras.
Third-in-line George and his siblings call the Queen ‘Gan Gan’.
4. Mia Tindall
Mia is the eldest child of former England rugby star Mike Tindall and Olympic medal-winning horsewoman Zara, daughter of the Princess Royal (pictured together in 2019)
Mia is the eldest child of former England rugby star Mike Tindall and Olympic medal-winning horsewoman Zara, daughter of the Princess Royal.
The fun-loving youngster, who was born in 2014, has a reputation for being mischievous.
She is often spotted running around with her father and cousins, Isla and Savannah Phillips, at horse eventing competitions.
During a portrait shoot for the Queen’s 90th birthday, Mia, then two, had the privilege of holding her great-grandmother’s classic black handbag.
Like Savannah and Isla, she is not an HRH, nor does she have a title.
5. Princess Charlotte
The Cambridges’ five-year-old middle child, Charlotte, is known for her confident, feisty character (pictured here with the Duchess of Cambridge in 2019)
The Cambridges’ five-year-old middle child, Charlotte, is known for her confident, feisty character.
The princess, who was born in 2015, likes spicy food and is nicknamed ‘Lottie’.
She shares a love of horses with the Queen, and bears a resemblance to her great-grandmother when she was a child.
At the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding in 2018, the playful fourth in line to the throne stuck out her tongue as she arrived by car.
She repeated the gesture while watching a presentation ceremony at the King’s Cup regatta on the Isle of Wight in 2019.
At the christening of younger brother Prince Louis, she was heard telling off photographers and declaring they were not allowed inside.
6. Prince Louis
William and Kate’s youngest child Louis was born in 2018 (pictured with children Prince George (left), Princess Charlotte (right) at Anmer Hall in Norfolk)
William and Kate’s youngest child was born in 2018. The toddler proudly joined his siblings, George and Charlotte, when they clapped for carers during lockdown.
In pictures released for his second birthday, he was shown with a paint-covered face and hands as he made a rainbow print for his window.
Louis, who has inherited the Middleton eyes, has been compared to his maternal grandfather, Michael Middleton.
7. Lena Tindall
The Tindalls welcomed a second daughter, Lena, in 2018, after suffering two miscarriages (pictured with Zara in 2019)
The Tindalls welcomed a second daughter, Lena, in 2018, after suffering two miscarriages.
The Queen and Philip’s other three great-grandchildren were not in the photograph taken by Kate, having not yet been born in 2018.
8. Archie Mountbatten-Windsor
Archie, who was born in 2019, lives thousands of miles away in California after his parents, Harry and Meghan, stepped down as senior royals last year and moved to the US
Archie, who was born in 2019, lives thousands of miles away in California after his parents, Harry and Meghan, stepped down as senior royals last year and moved to the US.
He appears to have inherited his father’s red hair, seen when he was pictured in a stylised image on the family’s Christmas card.
In the Oprah interview which rocked the monarchy, Meghan accused a member of the royal family – neither the Queen nor Philip – of raising concerns before Archie was born about how dark his skin tone might be.
The duchess also said Archie was not made a prince because of his race – although he is not actually entitled to be one or to have an HRH style yet because of rules set down by King George V more than 100 years ago.
9. August Brooksbank
August Philip Hawke Brooksbank – born to the Duke of York’s daughter Princess Eugenie and tequila brand ambassador Jack Brooksbank – arrived on February 9 this year
August Philip Hawke Brooksbank – born to the Duke of York’s daughter Princess Eugenie and tequila brand ambassador Jack Brooksbank – arrived on February 9 this year.
Eugenie described their hearts as being ‘full of love for this little human’.
His middle name was in honour of the duke.
10. Lucas Tindall
Zara delivered an 8lb 4oz son Lucas on March 21 – with the baby arriving on the bathroom floor in a surprise home birth.
Buckingham Palace said the Queen and the duke were ‘delighted’ at the news of their 10th great-grandchild.
Lucas has the middle name Philip in honour of both the duke and Mike Tindall’s father.
11. Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s second child is eighth in line to the throne despite being born a US citizen after the couple moved to LA to quit royal life.
Lilibet, who was born in June weighing 8oz and is a sibling for Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, two, has entered the line of royal succession behind her older brother and is set to nudge senior family members further from the throne.
12. Sienna Elizabeth Mapelli Mozzi
Princess Beatrice, 33, the oldest daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, gave birth to a baby girl weighing 6lbs 2oz at 11.42pm on Saturday 18 September at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, in London.
Her husband Edo Mapelli Mozzi has announced their baby daughter is called Sienna Elizabeth, in a touching tribute to the Queen.
Although her mother is a princess, Sienna, who is the Queen’s 12th great-grandchild, will not have a royal title. Only grandchildren of the monarch through the male line are automatically entitled to the styling of HRH. This means she will be plain Miss Mapelli Mozzi. The Queen could bestow a title on her great-grandchild if desired, but it is unlikely to be asked for.