Princess Eugenie may want to reread “The Great Gatsby.”
The British royal family member — or as we Americans know her, one of Queen Elizabeth’s other grandkids — had a strange request at her Windsor Castle wedding Friday.
Eugenie, cousin to Prince William and Prince Harry, had her big sister Princess Beatrice read an excerpt from the classic 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald novel.
Specifically, the bride chose the reading because the description of the book’s key character, the filthy rich and mysterious Jay Gatsby, reminded her of her husband-to-be Jack Brooksbank.
Now, clearly the royals’ lavish lifestyle is in line with the one Gatsby projected. But the tragic character’s other traits are much darker.
A program at the wedding ceremony explained why she chose the excerpt, stating she started reading the novel shortly after meeting Brooksbank, and that “The words that particularly reminded her of Jack concern Gatsby’s smile.”
The excerpt included the lines: “He smiled understandingly — much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced — or seemed to face — the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor.”
But what’s behind Gatsby’s smile is what makes Eugenie’s choice puzzling.
He spent much of his life lusting after another man’s wife, Daisy. Sure, her husband Tom cheats on her with Myrtle, but it doesn’t make Gatsby and Daisy’s eventual affair any more honorable.
Gatsby, who held over-the-top parties at his Long Island mansion to try to lure Daisy to drop by, made his money through mob ties. Not exactly something you’d want to associate with your husband.
The doomed character also never enjoys his own bashes, since they were set up for the sole purpose of impressing Daisy. Let’s hope Brooksbank, who’s in the hospitality industry, enjoys his wedding reception.
The book ends with Tom finding out about his wife’s affair and revealing to Daisy that Gatsby’s fortune comes from criminal activities. Daisy ultimately chooses her husband. While later driving Gatsby’s car with the multi-millionaire as a passenger, she accidentally hits and kills Myrtle, Tom’s mistress.
Myrtle’s husband, thanks to Tom, finds out that the car belonged to Gatsby, and assuming that he’s the one his wife’s been having an affair with, shoots Gatsby to death.
Even more sad, Gatsby’s funeral was only attended by two guests, a far cry from the crowds his parties drew.