The Royal Wedding: All You Need to Know
It’s the fairytale wedding the whole world is waiting for. On Friday April 29 His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales will marry Miss Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London.
The Wedding of the Century
When Prince William’s mother, Princess Diana, married Prince Charles in 1981, around 750 million people witnessed the ceremony worldwide, and at least two million onlookers lined the streets of London for the procession. For this wedding, some experts expect a worldwide audience of between one and two billion. As well as watching on TV, people can now watch online, on mobile phones, on iPads, and more. Gordon Brown was probably right when he called this event the “wedding of the century.”
At 11:00 a.m. (BST) the actual ceremony will begin at Westminster Abbey. Situated next to the Houses of Parliament in the centre of London, the Abbey is a colossal Gothic church that still holds daily services. It will be a poignant day for Prince William, as it was also the setting for his mother’s funeral in 1997. As well as being one of London’s major tourist attractions, Westminster Abbey is the traditional burial place for many monarchs, and has been the chosen venue for coronations since William the Conqueror in 1066. The most recent coronation was Prince William’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth the second, witnessed on television by the general public for the first time in 1953.
The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr. John Hall, has been invited to conduct the service. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, will marry Miss Middleton and Prince William, and the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres will give the address.
It’s one of the most talked about aspects of the royal wedding. What is the bride’s wedding dress going to be like? Modern or classical, ivory or white? Nobody knows for sure, but the biggest rumour going around is that the late designer Alexander McQueen’s creative director Sarah Burton has been given the honour of designing the royal gown.
Around 1,900 guests have already been invited to the service, and more than half of these are family and friends. There will be many UK and foreign dignitaries, politicians, members of the armed forces (including soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan), and representatives from different charities and faith organizations. One hundred lucky members of the British public will be invited to the service by means of a lottery draw. The guest list will also include a number of celebrities. David and Victoria Beckham are rumoured to be invited. Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney, and a sprinkling of Hollywood stars will probably be in attendance, but we will have to wait and see.
If you want to witness the occasion at first hand, Miss Middleton will travel by car to the wedding service from Buckingham Palace, passing The Mall, Horse Guard’s Parade, the Cenotaph, and the Houses of Parliament. (Less able people can apply online for specially designated spots along the route.) After the ceremony, she and Prince William will travel back to Buckingham Palace along the same route in a horse-drawn carriage.
Pleasant temperatures are predicted for the end of April, with no rain expected to fall. If this turns out to be true, everyone should be able to get a good view of the newly-wed couple when they appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace at around 1:30 p.m. As well as witnessing the famous couple kiss, onlookers will be treated to a flyover by the Royal Air Force.
Her Majesty The Queen will host the wedding reception at Buckingham Palace. The newlyweds will probably then appreciate some time to themselves before the private dinner and dance in the evening. This event will be reserved for the closest family and friends and will be hosted by the groom’s father, Prince Charles.
After spending the night at Buckingham Palace, the royal couple will finally be able to spend some precious time alone at their secret honeymoon destination. Nobody knows where this will be, but it probably won’t be a lavish affair as they want to appear more frugal in these tough economic times.
The almighty gaze of the world’s media will probably have taken its toll on the royal couple by the time of their honeymoon. They need to make the most of this tranquil time alone. When they return to public duty, the whole world will once again be watching their every move.
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