A fairytale wedding fit for a Formula One princess
29 AUGUST 2011
Proud father Bernie Ecclestone splashed out a slice of his considerable fortune to ensure his 22-year-old daughter had the wedding of her dreams.
Petra, the apple of the Formula One boss' eye, wed businessman James Stunt, 26, in Odescalchi castle , the spectacular 15th-century Italian fort where Katie Holmes became Mrs Tom Cruise.
But, despite the estimated £5 million bill, as with any ordinary family what really made the nuptials so special were the many personal touches provided by friends.
Eric Clapton's gift to the young lovers was to serenade them during their first dance as man and wife.
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Earlier in the day as the bride, exquisite in a £80,000 creation by Vera Wang, rolled up to the venue in a vintage Rolls Royce her driver was none other than other than F1 star Jean Alesi.
She'd set out from her suite in Rome 30 miles away in a white Rolls-Royce Phantom, before switching cars.
Her attendants included her 27-year-old sister Tamara and two bridesmaids, close friends Skye Mellar and Ines Raddock.
Tamara later tweeted: "My sisters wedding was the most beautiful night she looked incredible I am so proud of her."
The medieval town of Bracciano came to a standstill as 250 high profile guests swept in, among them, the Duchess of York, her daughters Eugenie and Beatrice, all resplendent in evening gowns.
Beatrice, as befits her new fashion credentials looked lovely, having picked a long dress in deep pink – the same colour as her mother, while Eugenie was in a sassy strapless that showed off her curves.
Also witnessing the Ecclestones' big day was socialite Tamara Beckwith, Flavio Briatore and his gorgeous Italian wife Elisabetta.
From America came Paris and Nicky Hilton, accompanied by their mother Kathy.
Petra's own parents' divorce – Bernie and Croatian model Slavica split in 2009 after 25 years of marriage – didn't stop her planning an uber-romantic ceremony.
Guests watched the couple – who have been together for four years – pledge their love in a religious celebration conducted at 6pm by Rev Nick Papadopolous from St Peter’s church, Eaton Square, in London’s exclusive Belgravia district near the £56 million home they share.
Members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra had been flown in specially for the service.
Once pronounced man and wife, the newlyweds were serenaded by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, who performed his hit Time To Say Goodbye, then Somos Novios, ending with Can’t Help Falling In Love.
At the champagne reception to celebrate their nearest and dearest toasted the bride and groom with vintage Louis Roederer Cristal champagne while watching fireworks performing amid an acrobatic show.
Eric Clapton's performance was followed by the Black Eyed Peas who performed for a reported £1.5 million fee.
The evening finished in truly breathtaking style with another fireworks display at midnight.