Philip, 97, who is retired from public life and underwent a hip replacement operation in April, has been on frosty terms with Eugenie’s mother Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, since she separated from Prince Andrew in 1992.
He did, however, make it for that other royal wedding of 2018 — that of Eugenie’s cousin Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. “He does what he wants,” says a well-placed insider in this week’s issue of PEOPLE. “He made a supreme effort for Harry. I would be very surprised if he did go, because he is so estranged from Fergie. I think he will decide at the 99th hour.”
For more on the latest preparations for Princess Eugenie’s wedding, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands on Friday.
While he has largely been keeping out of sight, Philip has joined the Queen, 92, at some polo matches this summer — and earlier this month, he surprised royal watchers by taking a helicopter (paid for by himself) to make the 190-mile journey to Romsey, in Hampshire. He headed there for a ceremony in which he became godfather to the child of a relative on the Mountbatten side of his family.
Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank are to wed on October 12 at Windsor Castle’s St. George’s Chapel — the same venue where Harry and Meghan exchanged vows.
And, like Harry, 33, and Meghan, 36, the couple is inviting 1,200 guests from members of the public to fill the castle grounds. Students from two of Eugenie’s schools — St. George’s and Coworth Park — will also have places among the crowds. “Eugenie is local to the area and spent a lot of her life in Windsor,” adds a royal source.