Despite having been ravaged by a fire in August, the luxurious Necker Island was in fine shape to host the wedding of Richard Branson’s daughter last week – and some young royals were on the guest list.
It’s not often that an invitation by the Queen of England is declined, but spending time with friends Sir Richard Branson’s gorgeous Necker Island is a very tempting proposition! Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice made news on December 21st when it was revealed that the two royals, both in their early 20’s, passed on the traditional Royal Family lunch to attend the wedding of Holly Branson on Necker Island.
One of only two occasions in the year when the entire collection of royals are gathered at Buckingham Palace, the sisters were given the Queen’s permission to excuse themselves from what is ordinarily a non-negotiable occasion.
As very close friends of Sir Richard’s daughter Holly, a 29-year old doctor, the young Princesses did not want to miss her special day, as she married her long-time boyfriend Freddie Andrews. It was reportedly a beautiful ceremony with around 100 guests, according to a report in the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper.
Only 22 of the guests, however, could actually stay on Necker; in August of this year, the island’s sprawling Great House was struck by lightning during a dramatic tropical storm, and was completely destroyed. At the time, Sir Richard said that he would work to rebuild the main house, but that it had been a long labour of love to build, and would take much time and work to eventually replace.
He did vow, however, that the fire would not interfere with his daughter’s wedding plans, and the event reportedly went off without a hitch, despite the decreased capacity of the island. The island held a special place in Holly’s heart, especially given that at aged 8, she watched her parents wedding take place there, on the same day in December of 1989. In a touching tribute to her mother and father, Holly married her husband-to-be at the same spot, although this time, it was amid the ruins of the destroyed Great House.
It seemed that the entire family was in high spirits, despite the sad reminders of the destruction of their beloved island home. Just prior to the ceremony, an ebullient Sir Richard posted on his blog that it was a very happy day. Showing an image of his wedding to wife Joan, he wrote, tongue in cheek; “Holly and Fred will get married at exactly the same spot, but unlike us, chose to wait for their children until married.”