Wedding of Prince William of Wales and Catherine Middleton is scheduled to take place at Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011. William, who is second in the line of succession to Queen Elizabeth II, first met Middleton in 2001, while he and Middleton were studying at the University of St Andrews. Their engagement, on 20 October 2010, was announced on 16 November 2010. After the wedding, the couple intend to continue residing on the Isle of Anglesey in North Wales, where Prince William is based as an RAF Search and Rescue pilot.
Clarence House announced on 16 November 2010 that Prince William, elder son of the Prince of Wales, was to marry Catherine Middleton, William's long-time girlfriend, "in the Spring or Summer of 2011, in London". They were engaged in October 2010 while on a private holiday in Kenya; William gave Middleton the same engagement ring that his father had given to William's mother, Diana, Princess of Wales—an 18-carat white gold ring with a 12-carat oval sapphire and 14 round diamonds. It was announced at approximately the same time that, after their marriage, the couple will live on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales, where Prince William is based with the Royal Air Force.
The Prince of Wales said he was "thrilled ... they have been practising long enough", and Queen Elizabeth II said she was "absolutely delighted" for the couple,giving her formal consent to the marriage, as required by the Royal Marriages Act 1772, in her British privy council on the morning of the engagement. Congratulations also came in from the Queen's prime ministers, including Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard, who has moderate republican leanings. Further, Pete Broadbent, suffragan Bishop of Willesden, who has known republican views, published his reaction to the wedding announcement on Facebook. He later acknowledged that his words were "offensive" and subsequently apologised, but his superior, Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, instructed him to withdraw from public ministry "until further notice"
Prince William is the elder son of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, and grandson of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. As such, he is second, behind his father, in the line of succession to the throne in 16 independent states known as the Commonwealth realms. William was educated at Ludgrove School, Eton College, and the University of St Andrews, after which he was commissioned from Sandhurst in the Blues and Royals regiment of the Household Cavalry. He later transferred to the Air Force and went on to become a full time pilot with the Search and Rescue Force.
Catherine "Kate" Middleton is the first of three children born to Carole and Michael Middleton. She was educated at St Andrew's School in Pangbourne, Marlborough College, and the University of St Andrews. After graduating, she worked in retail and then as an accessories buyer/catalogue photographer at her parents' business. She is primarily of English descent, but with a few distant Scottish and French Huguenot ancestors. Her paternal family came from Leeds, West Yorkshire, while her mother's maternal family, the Harrisons, were working-class labourers and miners from County Durham.
From 8.15 am, the main congregation, Governors-General, Prime Ministers of realm countries and the Diplomatic Corps will all arrive at the Abbey. Prince William and Harry are then due to arrive by 10.15 am. Further arrivals in turn will then consist of foreign royals, followed by the Middleton family, and lastly the Prince's family (The Princess Royal, The Duke of York, Princess Beatrice of York, Princess Eugenie of York, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall). As is tradition, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be the last members of the royal family to leave Buckingham Palace, arriving at the Abbey for 10.45 am. The bridal party will then leave the Goring Hotel in time for the service to begin at 11 am. The service is to finish at 12.15 pm, after which the newly married couple will travel to Buckingham Palace in a procession consisting of other royal family members, the parents of both the groom and bride, the best man, and the bridesmaids. At 1.25 pm, the couple will appear at the Buckingham Palace Balcony to watch the fly past consisting of Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight followed by two Typhoons and two Tornado GR4s.
On 23 November 2010, Clarence House announced the date for the wedding as 29 April 2011 and the venue as Westminster Abbey, a Royal Peculiar founded in AD 960. Although the abbey has been the traditional location for coronations since 1066, it has only recently been the church of choice for royal weddings; prior to 1918, most royal weddings took place in the royal chapels such as the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace and St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. The abbey, which has a usual seating capacity of 2000, has been the venue for recent royal weddings, including those of Elizabeth II (then Princess Elizabeth) to Prince Philip (1947), Princess Margaret to Anthony Armstrong-Jones (1960), Princess Anne to Mark Phillips (1973), and Prince Andrew to Sarah Ferguson (1986).
It was also announced that the costs of the wedding itself will be met by the Royal Family and the Middletons themselves, while the costs of security and transport will be covered by the British treasury. The couple have also asked that donations be made to charities in place of traditional wedding gifts; to that end, they established The Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton Charitable Gift Fund, which focuses on assisting charities such as the New Zealand Christchurch Earthquake Appeal, the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and the Zoological Society of London.
The route of the couple
The route of the bride and groom goes between Buckingham Palace and the Westminster Abbey, by The Mall, passing Clarence House, by Horse Guards Road, Horse Guards Parade, through Horse Guards Arch, Whitehall, the south side of Parliament Square, and Broad Sanctuary.
St James's Palace announced on 5 January that the ceremony is to start at 11:00 and that Middleton will arrive at the abbey by car rather than by carriage (the latter is the traditional transport for royal brides.) The planned route is along The Mall, through the Horse Guards Parade, and down Whitehall to the abbey. After the ceremony, the bridal couple will return along the same route by carriage to a reception hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The Prince of Wales is to host a private dinner that evening.
In a break with royal tradition, the groom is to have a best man—his brother, Prince Harry—rather than a supporter, while the bride has chosen her sister, Pippa, as maid of honour. The couple will have four bridesmaids—Lady Louise Windsor, the seven-year old daughter of the Earl and Countess of Wessex; Margarita Armstrong-Jones, the eight-year old daughter of Viscount and Viscountess Linley; Grace van Cutsem, the three-year old daughter of the couple's friend Hugh van Cutsem; and Eliza Lopes, the three-year old granddaughter of the Duchess of Cornwall. Two page boys are also to participate: William Lowther-Pinkerton, the ten-year old son of William's private secretary, and Tom Pettifer, the eight-year old son of William and Harry's former nanny, "Tiggy" Pettifer.
The Dean of Westminster will officiate for most of the service, with Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, conducting the marriage ceremony itself and Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, giving the sermon. It has long been traditional for the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Church of England's most senior bishop, to officiate at the weddings of England's monarchs and future monarchs, but as Chartres is a close friend of the Prince of Wales, he was invited to take part in the ceremony.
ReceptionOn 16 and 17 February, three sets of guest lists were sent out in the name of the Queen. As William is not the heir apparent, protocol has dictated that many guests (or their successors in office) who were invited to the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 need not be invited to William's wedding. More than half of the guests will be family and friends of the couple, though there will be a significant number of Commonwealth leaders (including the governors-general who represent the Queen in Commonwealth realms other than the UK, prime ministers of the Commonwealth realms, and heads of government of other Commonwealth countries), members of religious organisations, the diplomatic corps, several military officials, members of the British Royal Household, members of foreign royal families, and representatives of William's charities and others with whom William has worked on official business. Although St James's Palace declined to publish the names of those invited, a breakdown of guests was published by category−the list made no mention of foreign heads of state, though it was announced that about 40 members of foreign royal families had been invited.
The first list, consisting of about 1,900 people, is of attendees to the ceremony in the abbey. The second list of approximately 600 people is of those invited to the luncheon reception at Buckingham Palace, hosted by the Queen. The final list, containing about 300 names, is for the evening dinner hosted by the Prince of Wales.
On 19th April Sean Cardinal Brady, Primate of All Ireland said he will attend. The invitation to the event and its acceptance, have been described as “unprecedented” by a spokesman for Ireland’s Catholic bishops. The spokesman attributed the invitation to Cardinal Brady’s contribution to the peace process.
The Queen will host a lunchtime reception at Buckingham Palace. The reception will start after the arrival carriage with the married couple. It will be a private gathering for guests drawn from the congregation who will represent the couple’s official and private lives. During the Reception, the couple will give an appearance on the Buckingham Palace Balcony. The East front of the palace contains this well-known balcony on which the Royal Family traditionally congregate to greet crowds outside. Guests will be served with canapés at the Reception. The Official Harpist to the Prince of Wales, the well-known Claire Jones, will perform at the reception. The Reception is expected to finish in the mid-afternoon.
The wedding cake
The wedding cake will have a strong British floral theme, using elements of the Joseph Lambeth technique. It will be a multi-tiered traditional fruit cake decorated with cream and white icing. The Lambeth technique is based on a style of decorating that was popular in England where chefs and decorators would use a lot of intricate piping to create 3-D scrollwork, leaves, flowers, and other decoration. The method is still popular today and is frequently used by wedding cake designers and decorators to create ornate wedding cakes. The cake designer Fiona Cairns was chosen in February 2011 to create the wedding cake. Furthermore, McVitie's will create a special cake from chocolate biscuit for the reception at Buckingham Palace. The chocolate biscuit cake will be made from a Royal Family recipe and was specially requested by Prince William.
The wedding will be widely broadcast on television, internet and radio. It has been estimated that the coverage will be watched by two billion people worldwide. All four major news programs in the US will expand double and triple their length to allow for full live coverage.
Middleton will have a wedding ring, which will be made from Welsh gold. Since 1923, it has been a tradition in the royal family to use Welsh gold for the wedding ring of the bride. This ring will be made from a small amount of gold that has been kept in the royal vaults since it was presented to Queen Elizabeth II. It was mined from the Clogau Gold Mine in the Welsh mountains, not far from Anglesey, where the couple live. The Clogau Gold Mine has been closed since the previous century. The Queen has "given a piece of the gold that has been in the family for many years to Prince William as a gift," a palace source stated. Unlike Middleton, Prince William will not wear a wedding ring.
Title upon marriage
There is only one case of the oldest surviving son of the Prince of Wales marrying before his father succeeded to the throne: the future George V who married Mary of Teck in 1893. He had already been created Duke of York a year earlier, shortly after the death of his older brother brought him directly in line of succession to the throne.
In recent years, several royal princes who did not already have a title were given one upon marriage, including Prince Andrew, who was created Duke of York when he married in 1986. In a break with precedent Prince Edward was created Earl of Wessex; at the same time it was announced that he will be given the title Duke of Edinburgh when that title, currently held by his father, reverts to the Crown.According to The Daily Telegraph, it is expected that William will be offered a dukedom on his marriage, allowing his wife to be styled as a duchess. In an interview with This is Sussex, Charles Kidd, editor of Debrett's, said that the title most likely to be bestowed on Prince William on the eve of his wedding was Duke of Sussex, although he added that other available dukedoms are Windsor, Clarence, Cambridge, Kendal, Avondale, and Strathearn.
Official merchandise and currency
Prince William and Kate Middleton have personally approved an official range of china (including handmade plates, cups and pill boxes) to be made for the Royal Collection and sold as souvenirs from December 2010. The items are decorated with the intertwined initials of the couple, under the prince's coronet, and include the wording "To celebrate the marriage of Prince William of Wales and Catherine Middleton 29 April 2011." The Lord Chamberlain's office approved a longer list of memorabilia, including official mugs, plates, biscuit tins and porcelain pill pots. The document also clarified the use of William's coat of arms and pictures of the couple on such memorabilia. Initially, the Palace refused to sanction official tea-towels, which, along with aprons, T-shirts and cushions, were deemed, 'in poor taste'. However, the restriction on tea towels, though not the other items, was later reversed. Sales of merchandising are expected to reach £44 million.
An April 2011 poll of 2,000 British adults found that 35% of the public intended to watch the wedding on television while an equal proportion planned to ignore the event altogether. According to their reported plans, women were more than twice as likely (47%) to watch the event than men (23%)
The royal wedding has been subject to threats of violence and disruption. In February, security agencies, including MI5, identified anti-ceasefire Irish republican groups as possible threats. The London police announced in March that they were considering tough measures to prevent disorder amid fear that anarchists will target the event following the protests against government budget cuts earlier in the year. In April, Anjem Choudary, formerly leader of the banned group Islam4UK, warned that a terror attack at the wedding was "highly likely". The group Muslims Against Crusades announced plans for a "forceful demonstration" at the wedding, calling the Royal Family "enemies to Allah and his messenger.
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