It has been a busy week for news. Two horses were electrocuted in the paddock at Newbury, Prince Andrew's old friend President "Hozzie" Mubarak lost his job, and Lindsay Lohan was involved in an alleged shop-lifting scandal. But there can be little doubt as to one of the biggest stories of the moment: the unveiling of Prince William's and Kate Middleton's wedding party.
Behind the headlines about best man Prince Andrew and maid-of-honour "Pip" Middleton, there have been stories of joy and disappointment. "The royal family wanted the wedding party to reflect modern Britain," a senior courtier has said. "It's all very inclusive and Big Society. We have asked the press to respect the privacy of the children involved."
So who are the toff tots who will be tugging at the nation's heartstrings on Royal Wedding day? Leading the bridal party will be Lady Louise Windsor, seven, daughter of Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex. Louise is said to be a promising recorder-player who may well follow in her father's media footsteps – she played a shepherd in her prep school nativity play.
She will be accompanied by Grace van Cutsem, three, who, in spite of her tender years, is reported to be "greatly looking forward" to the wedding. The third bridesmaid The Honourable Margarita Armstrong-Jones, eight, is a keen member of her local Pony Club.
The pages are led by Thomas "Tom" Pettifer, eight, daughter of ex-royal nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke, and William Lowther-Pinkerton, 10, the rugby-playing son of Prince William's press secretary. Palace insiders are playing down talk of a rift between the royal couple and family friend Isabella "Bellie" Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe, none of whose nephews or nieces was invited to join the wedding party.
* Meanwhile, bride-to-be Kate has been showing that she is no pushover. The royal family are great believers in shooting parties as a way of introducing future in-laws into their way of doing things. It was apparently when Princess Diana, a surprisingly good shot, gave up shooting that cracks began to appear in her marriage to Prince Charles. But thoroughly modern Kate has put her foot down when it comes to killing birds or stags. It is hoped that her parents will join a royal stalking party in Scotland in her place.Reuse content