Guests await royal wedding invites

Updated: 2011-02-21 07:36

By David Stringer (China Daily)

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Around 1,900 expected to witness Prince William getting married

LONDON - Keep an eye on the mailbox - Britain's Prince William and bride-to-be Kate Middleton have posted out invites to their hotly anticipated royal wedding to around 1,900 guests, officials said on Sunday.

St. James's Palace said military personnel and charity workers will mingle with European royalty, diplomats and the family and friends of the couple at the Westminster Abbey ceremony on April 29.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh will lead a group of 50 members of the British royal family at the wedding, while around 40 representatives of foreign royal families - likely to include dignitaries from Spain, Sweden, Norway and Denmark - will also attend.

It isn't yet known whether celebrities including singer Elton John - a friend of William's mother Diana, the Princess of Wales - or Kanye West, a favorite of the prince who performed at a 2007 tribute concert for his mother, are among those who'll receive a prized invite.

In a statement, William's office insisted it would not disclose details of individual guests. Royal officials also declined to confirm reports that William's aunt, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, won't be invited.

Royal historian Hugo Vickers said details of the guest list released so far suggested ordinary members of the public won't have a front line role.

"I think what this tells us is that they are a very traditional couple," Vickers said. "It strikes me as an entirely sensible and predictable type of list, looking to balance the need to invite all the people who should be there - because William will one day be king - with inviting those who they want to be there."

Ordinary well-wishers will instead throng the capital's streets, watching Middleton arrive at Westminster Abbey by car, but leave with her new husband in a horse-drawn carriage to parade through the heart of ceremonial London to Buckingham Palace.

Tourists and Britons alike will crowd close to the palace after the ceremony, hoping to catch a glimpse of William and his bride as they present themselves on the building's famous balcony.

Millions more will watch the ceremony and celebrations on live television - crowded around screens in their homes, at street parties in towns and villages and at major landmarks. Lawmakers are already lobbying London Mayor Boris Johnson to install a giant screen in the city's iconic Trafalgar Square.

Britain's Foreign Office said royal officials had sent their regrets to Estibalis Chavez, a 19-year-old fan who has protested outside the country's embassy in Mexico City for 10 days demanding an invite.

At Westminster Abbey, Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg will likely be among 200 lawmakers, government staff and diplomats invited - with high-profile ambassadors also expected to attend.

Leaders of several Commonwealth nations - and the governor-generals who represent the queen in Canada, Australia and New Zealand - are also thought certain to be included among the guests.

Vickers said many European royals likely to attend are closer in age to William, second in line to the throne, than his father Charles - suggesting the guest list may have a more youthful feel than royal weddings of the past.

William's office said about 1,000 guests will be the family and friends of the prince, his bride and their parents. Roommates who lived with William and Middleton as they studied at Scotland's St. Andrews University, young entrepreneur Guy Pelly and television reporter Tom Bradby - who conducted the only interview with the couple following their engagement - could all receive an invitation.

Around 80 guests will come from charities which William supports, including African wildlife charity Tusk, and Centrepoint, which helps young homeless people.

Thirty members of the armed forces, likely to be William's colleagues from his Royal Air Force search-and-rescue unit, will also attend.

Associated Press



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