Special celebrations have been surrounding the Royal Family all year. First, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry tied the knot in May. And next month, it’ll be Princess Eugenie‘s turn to wed. There was also the birth of Prince Louis and his subsequent christening, not to mention Duchess Meghan’s first birthday as a Royal. The most important person in all of this? The event planner. That title carries some hefty weight around the Royal Palace.
Tatler checked in with Johnny Roxburgh, who’s spent the last 30 years working for royalty, organizing everything from weddings to milestone birthdays. And you might be surprised by what his favorite event to plan was.
Roxburgh told Tatler that it was “the fancy-dress 21st birthday party of Prince William” that he loved most.
The Prince was charming beyond belief – handsome, fun and wonderful to work with. We created an African jungle at Windsor Castle with full-size elephants made from palm husk, table centers that would shame a Lion King headdress, a giant ice vodka luge in the shape of an elephant’s head (which The Queen loved). I realized then that our future king is a very cool young man.
He said the biggest issue of any big event is security. “Sniffer dogs, endless checking of names and in this age of camera phones there is often the need for a telephone concierge,” said Roxburgh, who revealed that a special “in case of emergency” phone number is sent to guests before they arrive, since their phones will be confiscated.
Ahead of the day, guests are sent a telephone number they can give to babysitters, family etc to call in an emergency – this is manned by our team of staff and in return they relinquish their phones and thus the families protect the images that are put online to safeguard their privacy. Not every bride wants her photos to be all over the net and sometimes they will have done a deal with a magazine which means the pictures need to be protected.
He says protocol plays a huge part in everything, including Princess Eugenie’s upcoming nuptials.
“I often wonder how it feels when HM The Queen is your Grandmother? We will never know, but judging by the smiling faces at previous weddings, I suspect it’s rather marvelous,” said Roxburgh. “She is such an inspiration and it’s her presence that defines all the protocol. Despite the need for protocol, the modern royal wedding is essentially a family event with the added gloss of a huge choir, an orchestra and The National Anthem.”