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British RoyalsRoyal WeddingsThe Yorks

Princess Beatrice doesn’t let dyslexia get in her way as she delivers standout wedding address

Princess Beatrice, the maid of honour, gave a reading at her sister’s wedding this morning, from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, The Great Gatsby.

Despite living with dyslexia, Princess Beatrice read a passage from the novel describing Jay Gatsby’s smile:

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 it seemed to face – the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favour. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey. Precisely at that point it vanished — and I was looking at an elegant young rough-neck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd. Some time before he introduced himself I’d got a strong impression that he was picking his words with care.

Princess Beatrice was diagnosed with dyslexia at age seven and worked with the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre, of which she is now patron, to help work through the diagnosis.

At the time she became the patron of the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre, Princess Beatrice said that “Dyslexia is not a pigeonhole to say you can’t do anything. It is an opportunity and a possibility to learn differently. Dyslexics have magical brains; they just process differently. Don’t feel like you should be held back by it.”

As explained in today’s Order of Service, Princess Eugenie had been reading The Great Gatsby when she met Jack, and the passage about Gatsby’s smile had reminded her of Jack’s.

“She decided that she wanted to eventually let Jack know how much those words had brought him to mind. That is why they have a special place (as the second reading) in today’s wedding service.”


About author

Jess is the Senior Royal Reporter and Editorial Assistant at Royal Central. Her interest in royalty started in her teenage years, coinciding with The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and grew from there. She specializes in the British Royal Family (with emphasis on the Cambridges) and the Danish Royal Family, and has provided royal commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia.