Royal couple will mix modern elements with royal traditionWritten by Sarah Ottney | Editor in Chief | email@example.com
Kate Middleton will spend the night before her wedding in a hotel with family instead of at a royal residence.
The princess-to-be and the other royals will ride to the ceremony at Westminster Abbey by car instead of horse-drawn carriage.
Middleton and Prince William have chosen to call her younger sister, Philippa, the Maid of Honor and his younger brother, Prince Henry, the Best Man. Attendants are typically referred to simply as “supporters.”
These are among the breaks in royal wedding tradition pointed out by Franklin University professor Christine D. Myers at a recent presentation titled “Royal Weddings: Now and Then.” The lecture was hosted by the Sylvania Senior Center as part of the center’s Silver Scholars series.
Myers, who also teaches Lifelong Learning courses for Lourdes College in Sylvania, has followed and researched the royal family for years. She shares a birthday with Prince William and will be among those lining the London streets on April 29 hoping for a glimpse of the royal couple on their wedding day.
Other ways that Will and Kate’s wedding will differ from past royal nuptials include:
- The day will be broadcast live via the British Monarchy’s YouTube channel (youtube.com/user/TheRoyalChannel).
- The procession to the Abbey will not pass through Trafalgar Square.
- Following the wedding (1,900 guests) and traditional lunch reception (600 guests), Will and Kate will also host an evening reception for 300 guests.
- The wedding cake will be the traditional multi-tiered brandy-soaked fruitcake, but Will has also requested a groom’s cake, a favorite no-bake chocolate biscuit cake from a royal family recipe.
Instead of leaving for their honeymoon April 29, Will and Kate will spend their wedding night in London and leave the following day.
Royal weddings were fairly private until after World War I, Myers said. Today they are watched by millions. An estimated 750 million viewers worldwide tuned into Charles and Diana’s July 29, 1981, wedding, according to the BBC.
A recent survey by PriceGrabber, however, found 77 percent of its U.S. online survey respondents did not plan to watch live coverage of Will and Kate’s wedding and 72 percent of did not plan to watch coverage at all.
A New York Times/CBS News survey found only 6 percent of Americans polled were following royal wedding news very closely with an additional 22 percent following somewhat closely; 38 percent said they weren’t interested at all.
A third of women under 40 and 40 percent of women 40 and older were following news of the wedding at least somewhat closely, the poll found, but half of men are not following at all.
The wedding has elicited inevitable comparisons with Princess Diana – starting with Will’s proposal to Kate using his mother’s ring.
Will and Kate’s wedding will be much smaller than his parents’. Since Charles was a direct heir to the throne, all heads of state were invited, ballooning the guest list to 3,500, Myers said. This time, only political leaders in the British Commonwealth got invitations, meaning President Obama was not invited.
Charles and Diana were married at St. Paul’s Cathedral instead of Westminster Abbey, surprising some souvenir makers. Items listing the Abbey as their ceremony location are quite valuable today, Myers said.
Although they will arrive at the Abbey by car, Will and Kate will leave in the same carriage used by Charles and Diana and all royal weddings since 1902.
Television coverage on April 29 will begin at 3 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, with the hour-long wedding starting at 6 a.m. EST. Time in London is five hours ahead.
Things to watch for include:
- Titles to be bestowed by the Queen. Kate will automatically become Princess William, but the queen could choose to make her a princess in her own right, though that is rare on a wedding day, Myers said. The prince will likely be named a duke or earl.
- Kate’s outfit. International speculation has raged for months about what she will wear and the length of her train. Diana’s was 25 feet long.
- The vows. Diana omitted “to obey” from her vows and Kate plans to do the same. Also watch Kate’s pronunciation of Will’s name, Myers said. Diana had a famous gaffe during her vows – transposing two of Charles’ names. Sarah Ferguson also stumbled over Prince Andrew’s name during their wedding in 1986. Will’s full name is William Arthur Philip Louis (pronounced “Louie”).
- The music. One likely hymn will be Diana’s favorite, “I Vow to Thee My Country,” which was sung at her wedding as well as her funeral at the Abbey in 1997.
- The rings. Will has opted not to wear a wedding ring. Kate’s wedding band will be made from rare Welsh gold.
- The attendants. It is common for British wedding parties to consist of young children instead of peers, Myers said. Besides their Maid of Honor and Best Man, Will and Kate will have four bridesmaids (ranging in age from 3 to 8) and two page boys (ages 8 and 10).
- The guests. One royal snub was the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, former wife of Prince Andrew.
For more information, visit www.officialroyalwedding2011.org.
Royal Wedding Time Schedule
All times are Eastern Standard Time. London time is five hours ahead.
BBC America and most other networks will begin television coverage at 3 a.m. EST Friday, April 29.
3 a.m.: Announcement of any titles Queen Elizabeth will bestow on William and Kate.
3:15 a.m.: Guests begin arriving at Westminster Abbey.
5:10 a.m.: Prince William and Prince Harry leave Clarence House by car.
5:20 a.m.: Foreign royal families arrive at the Abbey from Buckingham Palace. Kate’s mother and brother leave the hotel.
5:25 a.m.: “Junior royals” depart Buckingham Palace.
5:38 a.m.: Prince Charles and wife Camilla leave Clarence House.
5:40 a.m.: “Senior royals” arrive at the Abbey.
5:42 a.m.: Charles and Camilla arrive at the Abbey from Clarence House.
5:45 a.m.: The Queen and husband Prince Phillip arrive at the Abbey from Buckingham Palace.
5:48 a.m.: Kate’s sister, Pippa, the other bridesmaids and page boys leave the hotel.
5:51 a.m.: Kate and her father leave the hotel by car.
6 a.m.: Wedding ceremony begins.
7:05 a.m.: Service concludes with the signing of the register in the Shrine of Edward the Confessor. The signing of the register – not the vows – is what makes the marriage official.
7:15 a.m.: Will and Kate leave the church by horse-drawn carriage, followed by a mounted escort, then Prince Harry, Pippa, the bridesmaids and pageboys, followed by Charles and Camilla, followed by the Queen and Prince Phillip.
7:30 a.m.: Newlyweds arrive at Buckingham Palace.
8:25 a.m.: Windsor and Middleton families emerge on the balcony.
8:30 a.m.: Fly-by from the Royal Air Force and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
— Source: BBC