Talbot Church: A problem of protocol strikes wedding plans

The man the Royals trust
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The Independent Online

Palace insiders are predicting a right royal row when the guest list for the wedding of the decade is announced. The problem is simple, but raises huge questions of royal convention.

During Prince William's ill-fated visit to Zurich last week, several key members of Fifa's executive committee were offered invitations to the royal wedding. Now, after the failure of England's World Cup bid, friends of the infuriated Prince say he is considering going back on the arrangement.

Any change of plan is likely to cause uproar in football's upper echelons. "He looked me in the eye and made a promise," one Fifa member has said. The organisation's president, staunch royalist Sepp Blatter, has put in a request to be seated as near the front as possible. Roly-poly American delegate Chuck Blazer has told fans he will post a royal wedding report on his blog.

The Prince, though, is uncharacteristically bitter about the whole thing. "He was reluctant to suck up to these people in the first place," says a courtier. "Now the idea of a row of them sitting there smugly at the abbey in their Fifa blazers simply makes his skin crawl."

There is happier news on the question of music at the wedding. Media rumours that Elton John, or even Snoop Dogg, will be rocking the abbey with a specially commissioned nuptial number are wide of the mark. On the insistence of his traditionalist father, Prince William of Wales has agreed that his wedding should have a Welsh musical theme.

A suggestion from Prince Charles that the Pontypridd Male Voice Choir should sing the Welsh ballad, Joseph Parry's "O Myfanwy", was gently rejected by the bride-to-be, but a happy compromise has now been reached. A duet of the Bette Midler classic "The Wind Beneath My Wings" will be performed by Sir Tom "The Voice" Jones and songstress of the valleys Charlotte Church.

Reports that fashion queen Michelle Mone of Ultima has already designed bridal lingerie for the princess-in-waiting have caused amusement in royal circles. The down-to-earth couple have not even considered what carefree Kate will be wearing on her first night as a bride, I am told. A short-list of designers is being drawn up, but the choice is said to be "a private matter for Wills and Kate", and unlikely to be made public.