William & Catherine’s Wedding – Arrival of Guests
The much-talked about wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton began bright and early for Londoners – many camped out on the streets along the procession route for several nights to ensure they got prime positioning.
The first public order of business was the announcement of the groom’s new title, a ‘gift’ from his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. The announcement that Prince William of Wales had been granted a royal dukedom came at 08:00 local time (while the bride and groom were no doubt preparing to dress for their big day). “The Queen has today been pleased to confer a Dukedom on Prince William of Wales. His titles will be Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus,” read the official press release, indicating that Miss Middleton would become the Duchess of Cambridge following the wedding ceremony. The Cambridge Dukedom was highly tipped to be conferred upon the Prince on the occasion of his marriage, the previous Duke of Cambridge was Prince George, the son of The Prince Adolphus, in 1904. The Duke was a first cousin of Queen Victoria, as one of King George III’s grandchildren. He was also coincidentally the uncle of Queen Mary, the current Queen’s grandmother.
Shortly after this announcement, the doors to Westminster Abbey were opened so guests of the general congregation could begin to enter. From 08:15, some 1,800 guests including Prince Harry’s on-again off-again girlfriend Chelsy Davy, David and Victoria Beckham, Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish, the family of the late Princess of Wales (Charles Spencer, his fiancée, four children, and the Ladies Sarah and Jane), Joss Stone and Mario Testino were seated in the Abbey. The Abbey was soon filled up with a melay of hats, feathers and a sea of colours.
At precisely 10:10, Princes William and Harry left Clarence House in one of the royal family’s Bently state limousines. The crowds who gathered out the front of the residence were able to tell when the groom was about to make his first appearance, as the protection officers situated around the gates began to check their watches seconds prior to the Bentley’s bonnet came into view. The Prince and his brother, who acted as his best man, were cheered rapturously as they made their way down The Mall, past Horse Guards Parade, through Whitehall and to the Abbey. Both Princes saluted at various points of the route, namely when they were passing under Horse Guards Arch and the Cenotaph. Prince William wore the red uniform of the Colonel of the Irish Guards, while Harry wore the Blues and Royals officer uniform. Upon their arrival to the Abbey, they were greeted by the men who would be officiating the ceremony – the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Dean of Westminster and the Bishop of London. Then, it was up the aisle to the altar – but not before stopping to say hello to the Spencer relations and various friends seated close to the altar.
While the groom was making his way to the Abbey, so were the foreign royals and dignitaries. As the groom is a much more important person on the day of his wedding, there was not much television coverage of these arrivals, but photographers were on hand to snap happy shots of the “high-end” guests. Over forty members of foreign royal houses attended the wedding, including the Danish and Spanish Queens, the heirs of Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden, and the Sovereign Prince of Monaco (who will wed his own sweetheart in July). Members of the extended British Royal Family travelled to the Abbey in minivans, before the arrival of the Prince’s close family and the bride’s mother and brother, Carole (who looked lovely in a sky-blue dress and coat by Catherine Walker) and James Middleton, and then finally the Queen, wearing an canary yellow Angela Kelly design, and Duke of Edinburgh signalled that the moment two billion people worldwide were waiting for – the bride’s arrival.Filed under The United Kingdom
Tagged British Royal Wedding 2011, The Duchess of Cambridge, The Duke of Cambridge, Westminster Abbey.