Friday the 29th of April will witness the long-awaited nuptials of His Royal Highness, Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey. Over 1,900 wedding guests will observe the couple exchange vows and rings at the Abbey’s altar and many millions throughout the world will watch the ceremony on screens. With this doubtless splendid occasion in mind, let’s take a look at the itinerary for the day and at the same time focus on the many words and phrases associated with a royal wedding.
A rigid protocol governs the order in which the guests arrive at the Abbey. The majority of the congregation will enter the church between 8.00 and 10.00 am. Members of the royal family and foreign dignitaries, however, won’t appear till after 10.00 am. As is customary, the royal family will be the last guests to arrive, just moments before the bride herself.
At 11.00am, the bride will make her entrance and the service will start. Four bridesmaids and two pageboys will accompany Kate down the aisle, as will her maid of honour, her sister Philippa Middleton. (Prince William has chosen his brother, Prince Harry, to be his best man.) Conducting the service will be the Dean of Westminster. The Archbishop of Canterbury, meanwhile, will marry Prince William and Catherine Middleton, and the Bishop of London will give the address. Music for the service will, apparently, include a number of well-known hymns.
At 12.15 pm the service will end and a procession start to make its way through London, the bride and bridegroom seated in the 1902 State Landau (a carriage built for King Edward VII and intended for use at his coronation). The procession will proceed to Buckingham Palace where, at 1.25pm, the newly married couple will make that all-important appearance on the balcony. This will be Prince William’s first opportunity to kiss the bride. At the Palace, the occasion will be marked with a lunchtime reception hosted by the Queen. Later that evening, the Prince of Wales will give a dinner for around 300 guests. Doubtless, glasses will be raised to the happy couple and speeches given.
And finally, since no description of a wedding is complete without mention of the wedding dress, let’s speculate as to what Kate Middleton will be wearing on the big day. (Of course, this is a matter of the utmost secrecy. It’s rumoured that no fewer than three dresses have been commissioned in case details of one of the gowns leak out to the press.) We assume she will wear a veil of some description and that she will be holding a bouquet. Whether her gown will be traditional in style, off-the-shoulder or feature a train remains to be seen. What we can confidently predict, however, is that Kate Middleton, future Queen of England, will be a radiant bride.