Royal wedding fever
Last updated at 10:14, Friday, 29 April 2011
FURNESS was awash with union flags and bunting this morning as the nation prepared to watch the long-awaited royal wedding.
Communities and businesses across Barrow, the South Lakes and Copeland have a host of royal-themed festivities planned.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of well-wishers poured into London this morning, eager for a glimpse of the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Early morning trains, usually all-but deserted on a Bank Holiday, were packed with royal fans, some wearing mock tiaras, most clutching Union flags.
They were rewarded with the news that the happy couple will brave the elements and travel from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace in the open-topped 1902 State Landau.
Months of meticulous preparations will come to fruition when the couple say their vows in Westminster Abbey in front of 1,900 guests and a global television audience of two billion.
Miss Middleton, 29, will give her first full view of her dress when she steps out of the Rolls-Royce carrying her to the service.
She will walk up the aisle on her father’s arm as a commoner.
Just over an hour later she will leave, with her new husband by her side, as an HRH, a Princess and a future Queen.
Invited guests include David and Victoria Beckham, Sir Elton John and Guy Ritchie and the Prime Minister.
There too will be William’s proud grandparents the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, his father the Prince of Wales and stepmother the Duchess of Cornwall, joined by some 40 members of the British royal family, as well as close friends and confidantes of the couple.
William, 28, and his brother Prince Harry, 26, who is his best man, will arrive at the historic 1,000-year-old church at 10.15am.
By then the second-in-line to the throne may have been given a new title by the Queen, in a traditional gesture, to mark his wedding.
The groom, an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot, will be dressed in red, wearing the famous scarlet tunic of an Irish Guards officer, rather than an Air Force uniform.
William faces a nailbiting 45-minute wait until his bride’s arrival, part of which he will spend in private with Harry in the tiny side Chapel of St Edmund.
Kate spent her last night as a single woman with her parents, Michael and Carole, sister Pippa and brother James at the exclusive Goring hotel in Belgravia, a short distance from Buckingham Palace.
William spent the evening at Clarence House with his family and gave royal enthusiasts on The Mall a treat as he went on an unplanned walkabout, admitting his “nerves” to the crowds.
The world will hope to get the first glimpse of Kate’s dress, which has been kept a closely-guarded secret, when she leaves for the abbey exactly nine minutes before the service starts at 11am.
However, they may have to wait, as the hotel has erected screens to ensure no-one catches a glimpse before she arrives at the abbey.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to line the mile-and-a-half route to Westminster Abbey, which takes in some of London’s most famous landmarks as it passes through The Mall, Whitehall and Parliament Square.
Some 5,000 police officers are on duty as part of Britain’s biggest security operation this century, amid continuing fears about the threat of terrorism and disruptive demonstrations.
The wedding service is a traditional religious affair with a strong flavour of “Britishness”, and includes music by three of the nation’s favourite composers, Elgar, Britten and Vaughan Williams.
The abbey has been decorated with an “avenue of trees” along the nave made up of eight English field maples and two hornbeams.
William and Kate’s nuptials are the 15th to be celebrated at the holy site, which has witnessed 37 coronations over the centuries, beginning with William the Conqueror in 1066.
The wedding of this William comes more than a millennium after the first King William was crowned.
Kate is following in the footsteps of Diana, Princess of Wales, and will not promise to “obey” her new husband in her vows but instead to “love, comfort, honour and keep” him.
With William choosing not to wear a wedding ring, only he will say “With this ring I thee wed”, as he places the simple, slim band fashioned from a nugget of Welsh gold on his bride’s finger.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is marrying the couple, the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, will give the address, and the Dean of Westminster, the Very Rev Dr John Hall, is conducting the service.
The witnesses who sign the historic marriage registers during the ceremony will be the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Harry, Kate’s parents, her sister Pippa and her brother James.
The guest list has provoked controversy, with the Foreign Office announcing the last-minute withdrawal of the Syrian ambassador’s invitation yesterday in the wake of a bloody crackdown on protesters against president Bashar Assad.
Further questions have been raised about why former Labour prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were not invited while Tory counterparts Sir John Major and Baroness Thatcher were.
After the ceremony, William and Kate will ride back to Buckingham Palace in the open-top State Landau, the same horse-drawn carriage used by Charles and Diana on their wedding day 30 years earlier.
At 1.25pm, the bride and groom will step out onto the Palace’s famous balcony, joined by the Queen and their families to watch the thundering flypast of a Lancaster, a Spitfire and a Hurricane from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and Two Tornado and Two Typhoon jets.
Then, the moment the world will be waiting for – the long-awaited kiss, the first time William and Kate have ever done so in public.
There will be two receptions at the palace, one with canapes hosted by the Queen in the afternoon for 650 guests, followed by the Prince of Wales’s more intimate black-tie gathering of 300 close family and friends in the evening.
The 85-year-old monarch will skip the evening party, missing Harry’s best man speech, by heading out of the capital with the Duke of Edinburgh for a private weekend, allowing guests to party the night away in her official London home.
The royal wedding is the culmination of a romance that began more than eight years ago when William and Kate met as students at St Andrews University in Fife, Scotland.
Their story has captured the hearts of people across the planet and thousands of foreign journalists, photographers and TV crews have descended on London to cover the event.
Millions of British workers are enjoying an extra public holiday to celebrate and many will attend one of the 5,500 street parties being organised across the country, including one in Downing Street.
Nowhere is more excited about the wedding than Kate’s home village of Bucklebury, Berkshire, which is organising an extravaganza of parties to mark the local girl’s big day.
First published at 10:06, Friday, 29 April 2011
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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