Royal wedding: 29 things you didn't know about William and Kate's nuptials
The couple are cousins and Kate might get called a tart . . .
With just two weeks to go, a global television audience of up to a billion predicted and with 8,000 journalists to capture it all, the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton is sure to be the event of the decade. Chrissie Russell gives the ultimate guide to the big day
1 William and Kate are cousins. 15th cousins, both descended from Sir Thomas Fairfax in the 16th Century.
2 Northern Ireland has the biggest weepers at weddings, with 76% confessing to crying on someone’s big day.
3 There’ll be plenty of well-known faces. The 1,900 guests include Victoria and David Beckham, rugby coach Clive Woodward, comedian Rowan Atkinson and director Guy Ritchie as well as some surprises — two of Kate’s exes, four of William’s and Kate’s wayward uncle all made the cut.
4 Senior Royals and dignitaries will be shuttled between Buckingham Palace and Westminister Abbey in budget-friendly |minibuses. But despite the |recession, Prince Charles will travel in his chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce.
5 At 29, Kate Middleton will be the oldest Royal bride but once she says, ‘I do’ it’s the end of ‘Kate’. She wants to be known as Catherine.
6 The Goring Hotel in Belgravia, where Kate will spend her last night as a single woman, has long-standing Royal connections — the Queen Mother called it her favourite hotel and in 1952 most Royal guests for the Queen’s coronation stayed there.
7 It’s the Royal wedding of media firsts — first to be announced on Twitter, have a soundtrack released online within hours of the service and the first Royal wedding to have its own flood of smartphone apps. But no 3D... this time. And all 1,900 guests have been warned to switch off mobiles during the service and NOT to update Twitter.
8 80,000 commoners will flock to London to cheer on the happy couple, while up to a billion are expected to tune in at home. But the real hordes will be the media — some 8,000 TV and radio journalists will descend on London to cover the event. CNN is drafting in an extra 50 US staffers to add to its London desk of 75, the BBC has plumped for 850 staff while Sky and ITV have 460 between them.
9 Kate might get called a tart as a special wedding present. It’s a tradition for Royal brides to get a pudding named after them — in 1947 we had the Bombe Glace Princess Elizabeth and 1923 Fraises Duchesse Elizabeth. Slice of Chocolate Kate anyone?
10 St Andrew’s University, where the pair met, sends plenty of graduates away with a future spouse as well as a degree — one-in-10 students marries a fellow alumnus.
11 Kate has shunned riding to the Abbey in the glass carriage used by Princess Diana on her wedding in favour of taking a car — either a 1950s classic used by the Queen or the Phantom IV used by Charles and Camilla during the infamous incident at the student fees protests last year. But the newlyweds will take Charles and Di’s carriage on the ride to Buckingham Palace.
12 Gamblers can take a punt on all things Royal wedding — topping the polls at the moment are bets on whether Harry will lose the rings (38/1) or end up drunk (33/1), and what colour of hat will be worn by Her Majesty.
13 When he becomes king, William, at 6ft 3ins, will be the tallest monarch ever.
14 This is the Royal wedding of truly memorable memorabilia. Fridges embossed with a giant photo of the Royal couple, a Kate and Wills meat pie and a limited edition Princess Catherine engagement doll, who has her own Facebook page and sold at Hamleys toy store, are just some of the options. Japanese toy line Sylvanian Families has designed rabbit replicas of the royal couple, to go on sale in the UK around the time of the wedding.
15 The Royal couple have opted for wedding music that includes Westminster Abbey Choir, Chapel Royal Choir and the London Chamber Orchestra over celebrity performers.
16 The wedding flowers will be white gardenias, lily of the valley, delphinium and roses — all grown in Britain — and will stay in Westminster in the week after the service to be seen by the public. Kate’s bouquet will include a sprig of myrtle, known as ‘the herb of love’, in keeping with a tradition started by Queen Victoria in 1840. The wedding bouquet will go on the tomb of the unknown soldier, a tradition started in 1923 by the Queen Mother on her wedding day.
17 Michelle Mone from Ultimo wanted to design the wedding day lingerie and even sent designs to Kate, but the regal bride is more likely to be supported in undergarments by Rigby and Peller, the Queen’s corsetières.
18 Some pop stars will |feature on the DVD of the Royal Wedding. Spandau Ballet’s Tony Hadley (right) has recorded a duet of ‘True’ with Irish pop princess Carol |Anthony.
19 William’s no-bake chocolate crunch cake, a childhood favourite, will contain 1,700 McVitie’s biscuits and more than 18kg of dark chocolate.
20 Two of the horses taking part in the ceremony are named after Prince William and Catherine Middleton. The horses are part of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.
21 The couple WILL re-enact a kissing photo-op on Buckingham Palace balcony.
22 Despite not making it on to the guest list, rapper Snoop Dogg (left, below the Beckhams), sent William a wedding gift, a song called Wet, which he composed for the stag do.
23 Four stylists — James Pryce, Richard Ward and their two assistants — have been drafted in to monitor Kate’s hair throughout the day.
24 Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who will marry the couple, is hard of |hearing in one ear, unable to drive and at school had a note permanently excusing him from PE.
25 The bride has commissioned four pairs of shoes for the day with varying heel sizes but will walk down the aisle in a pair of silk slipper flats.
26 Cake-maker Fiona Cairns, behind the multi-tiered wedding cake iced in 16 different blooms, first met Prince Charles 10 years ago at a Fortnum & Masons event in London when his opening chit-chat was “Do you do wedding cakes?”
27 Senior officers from the Irish Guards have been hand-picked to form a guard of honour at Westminster Abbey.
28 A recession-conscious Queen has opted for ‘two bite’ buffet canapes for her 600 guests at the Palace rather than a sitdown meal. The lucky 300 guests invited to Prince Charles’ do later in the day will be treated to an organic three-course meal served up by award-winning Swiss chef Anton Mosimann.
29 Sarah Burton, creative director of Alexander McQueen, is the name emerging from royal quarters as the designer of Kate’s dress.