Britain gears up for global royal wedding

Britain is making final preparations for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton next week as the biggest royal occasion in 30 years brings closure to the tragic legacy of Princess Diana.

A worldwide television audience of two billion people is set to watch live on April 29 while crowds of hundreds of thousands are expected to line the route from Westminster Abbey to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds.

Royal officials are working around the clock to put the finishing touches on the global event, the climax of a royal romance that began eight years ago when William and Kate were students together at university in Scotland.

Around 1,900 guests including foreign royals and celebrities are heading to London for the service, while British police have launched a massive security operation to guard against the threat of terror attacks and protests.

William, the 28-year-old second-in-line to the throne who works as a Royal Air Force helicopter pilot, proposed last year to Kate, 29, the commoner daughter of self-made millionaires, using his late mother Diana's engagement ring.

The pomp and ceremony surrounding the service reflects the fact that it is the grandest royal wedding since William's parents Prince Charles - the heir to Queen Elizabeth II - married Princess Diana on June 21, 1981.

"William and Catherine, as they will be known, are saying 'we are the future of the British monarchy and we are going to be a success,'" royal expert Robert Jobson told AFP.

Diana's shadow has hung over the royals since she died in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997, a year after her stormy divorce from Charles.

William and his younger brother Harry, who will be his best man, were seen by millions as they sadly followed her coffin into the Westminster Abbey for her funeral.

But in the past decade and a half "The Firm", as Britain's royals are known, have done their best to improve their aloof image, with the young heartthrob William in the vanguard.

The queen met Kate's parents Michael and Carole over lunch at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, itself a major step given the snobbery directed at Kate's parents for having made their money through a party planning firm.

William and Kate have personally overseen "every detail" of their "exquisitely beautiful" wedding day, said St James's Palace, William's official residence.

The service will see some 40 monarchs including Prince Albert of Monaco along with representatives of more than 100 countries. There will also be friends and acquaintances of the couple - including some old flames.

The wedding starts at 1000 GMT at Westminster Abbey and afterwards the newlyweds will lead a procession to Buckingham Palace, travelling in a horse-drawn carriage past landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament and the Mall.

As well as being beamed around the world on television it will also be streamed live on YouTube while royal officials will post blog and Twitter updates.

Parts of the capital have already been decked out in the red, white and blue of the British flag for the big day. The government has declared a public holiday and pubs are allowed to stay open late.

Some 650 guests have been invited to the reception at the palace, while the hottest ticket in town will be a dinner-dance hosted by Prince Charles for a lucky 300 or so people.

The Middleton's home village of Bucklebury is also planning a street party.

But key details about William and Kate's big day remain shrouded in mystery.

Her wedding dress has prompted acres of media speculation, while there is no news on what titles the couple will take - or whether the newlyweds will emulate Charles and Diana and kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

Scotland Yard said it would have 5,000 officers on duty. It has also pledged to prevent a group of Muslim extremists carrying through their threat to protest outside the wedding.

Britain's small republican movement is, however, having a light-hearted street party to promote its bid to see off the monarchy.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    ICE ICT: Lead Business Consultant

    £39,000: ICE ICT: Specific and detailed knowledge and experience of travel sys...

    Day In a Page

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most