Excitement Builds as Royal Wedding Nears
In less than 24 hours, Prince William will take Catherine Middleton to be his wife.
The royal wedding has been the talk of the town since the couple announced their engagement last year.
The prince popped the big question during a trip to Africa in October 2010. He sealed the deal by placing the diamond-and-sapphire ring belonging to his mother, the late Princess Diana, on Kate’s hand.
Now, ten years after they first met as undergraduates at St. Andrew’s University, the couple is preparing to exchange wedding vows in an extravagant ceremony that will be almost certainly be watched by millions of people around the world.
Kate will make her grand entrance at Westminster Abbey at exactly 11 a.m. (6 a.m. Eastern Standard Time). 1,900 guests, including British politicians and celebrities like Rowan Atkinson, David and Victoria Beckham, and Sir Elton John, will be present to welcome her into her new life of royalty.
Kate’s maid of honor, sister, Philippa “Pippa” Middleton, and William’s best man, younger brother Prince Harry, along with four bridesmaids and two pages, will all accompany her to the altar.
According to the 28-page royal wedding program, released this week, the future princess will walk down the aisle to the choral anthem “I Was Glad,” composed by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry for the coronation of William’s great-great-great grandfather, Edward VII, in 1902.
All musical selections, including include the hymn “Jerusalem” by William Blake and the Welsh rugby anthem, “Bread of Heaven,” will be presented by two choirs, one orchestra and two fanfare teams: The Choir of Westminster Abbey, the Chapel Royal Choir, The London Chamber Orchestra, the Fanfare Team from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force and the State Trumpeters of the Household Calvary.
The service, in its entirety, should last under an hour. After the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, officially marries William and Kate, the celebration will move the streets in the form of an extravagant parade.
The newlyweds will travel to Buckingham Palace in a 1902 State Landau horse-drawn carriage, accompanied by a Captain’s Escort of the Household Cavalry. They will be followed by the Queen’s own procession.
Once the wedding party and invited guests reach their destination, the couple and the Queen will then make an appearance on the palace balcony around 1:25 p.m. (8:25 a.m. EST).
Following the festivities, 600 guests will attend a lunch hosted by the Queen, and 300 will enjoy an exclusive reception held Friday night.
The details of the honeymoon have not yet been revealed.
As for their post-wedding life together, Prince William and Kate will live on Anglesey, Wales, where he works as a Royal Air Force search and rescue helicopter pilot.
Anyone wishing to send wedding gifts to the couple should instead make a charitable donation. Visit www.royalweddingcharityfund.org for more information.
Coverage of the royal wedding begins at 4 a.m. EST Friday morning and will continue throughout the day.
You can also watch the live stream online.