He was working as a waiter in a cocktail bar when he met her. But it was no rags to riches story for Jack Brooksbank, who is set to marry Princess Eugenie this Friday October 12.
Educated at Stowe School in Buckingham, where boarding fees are currently almost £12,000 per term, Brooksbank, 31, is a descendant of the Brooksbank baronets and reportedly a distant cousin of Eugenie’s. (Her mother, the Duchess of York, is the great-great-granddaughter of Lady Julia Coke, who is the daughter of Jack's great-great-grandfather, Thomas Coke.)
Son of George Brooksbank, 68, a chartered accountant and company director, and his wife Nicola, 64, Jack has a younger brother called Thomas, 29 - a possible candidate for best man. Since 2001, the family address has been an apartment in a gated period conversion in Wandsworth, not far from Battersea Park.
Brooksbank was introduced to Eugenie, the younger daughter of Prince Andrew, during a ski holiday in Verbier, Switzerland and the couple have been together for more than six years.
Back then, Eugenie was studying English literature, history of art and politics at Newcastle University and Brooksbank is said to have been waiting tables and serving drinks at Devonshire Terrace, a bar and restaurant near Liverpool Street in London.
Having left school in the mid-noughties, he had given university a miss, choosing instead to launch himself straight into a career in hospitality.
He went on to work at Chelsea’s Admiral Codrington pub, from where he was poached by businessman and nightclub owner Piers Adam and employed by the Markham Inn nearby.
“At the Markham Inn, I had to deal with lots of strange people, and everyone was demanding,” he once said of his experience there. “I also got to know the locals, which I loved.”
These included Prince Harry and his close friend Guy Pelly who, according to Tatler, “pulled him into the Mahiki set”.
He went on to manage the Mayfair nightclub, a favourite among royalty and celebrities, and also owned by Adam.
Then, in August 2016, he set up his own company, Jack Brooksbank Limited, a wine wholesaler.
He is described by those who know him as “kind and selfless” and a perfect match for Eugenie.
Jacobi Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe, a friend of the couple, tells the Telegraph: “Never have I known a couple with so much lust for life, who light up every room they enter with joy, laughter and unprecedented warmth. I’m sure you’ll hear this a lot but Jack possesses one of the most infectious laughs you’ll hear, and you will hear it!!
“It has been a pleasure watching their relationship grow over the years, two people who enjoy each other’s company so much. They are two of the kindest, [most] selfless and sensitive people I know. In that they have met their match.”
But Brooksbank hasn’t entirely avoided scandal.
In 2013, a tabloid newspaper reported that explicit photographs of him touching the naked breasts of a stripper while blindfolded and covered in candle wax during his 21st birthday celebrations had been leaked online. The pictures were quickly removed from the internet after they had been discovered.
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