A guide to the Royal Wedding
Courtney Eckerle | Tuesday, February 22, 2011
The royal wedding invitations were sent out Friday — did you receive yours? Don’t panic, The Observer has your back, as we’ve got the inside scoop on the who’s who and what’s what for “The Engagement”, the biggest royal event since well, Diana and Charles (although let’s have higher hopes for this. one shall we?).
First, the where and when: Westminster Abbey, April 29, for 11 a.m. nuptials. The Dean of Westminster will conduct the service, the Archbishop of Canterbury will preside over the vows and the Bishop of London will give the address.
Now for the who: First of all, the bride, Kate Middleton, who is quickly becoming celebrated as the perfect mix of sophistication and approachability, as well as a English style icon. The couple met at St. Andrew’s University in Scotland and became engaged while on vacation in Kenya.
The bride’s family: Michael and Carole Middleton, her father originally a flight dispatcher and her mother a flight attendant, the family made their fortune with a mail order party supply company. Needless to say, they’re commoners. She also has a sister, Pippa, who will act as her Maid of Honor.
The groom: His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales, second in line for the throne behind his father, Prince Charles. Currently, he is pursuing a military career, in service with the Royal Air Force as a helicopter pilot.
The royals: Obviously, his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and grandfather, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
His father, HRH Prince Charles of Wales, next in line for the throne, and his father’s second wife, Camilla Parker Bowles. Although Camilla is generally accepted now, she married Charles a hated woman after allegations that Charles continued an affair with her during his marriage to the beloved Princess Diana, William’s mother who died in a car accident in Paris in 1997.
Prince Harry (full name Henry Charles Albert David) of Wales, younger brother to William, currently third in line for the throne. He will serve as William’s best man, but all anyone cares about is whether or not he will bring his on-again/off-again girlfriend Chelsy Davy as a date. Sources say they are on again, most likely because she wants a ticket to the Royal event of the decade. Just a theory.
Princess Anne, currently 10th in line to the throne as Queen Elizabeth’s only daughter, is a bit of a stuffy royal, having dedicated her life to royal service. She is Queen Elizabeth’s only daughter and is known for her equestrian career.
It has been confirmed that Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, ex-wife of Prince Charles’ brother, Prince Andrew, did not receive an invitation (ouch), which were distributed Friday. But both of her daughters, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, William’s cousins, are expected to attend.
The gossip: Bets are on that Kate has chosen Bruce Oldfield, a favorite designer of both Princess Diana and Sienna Miller, among others, to design her wedding gown. But in the end, it will be white, have frills and lace, and then they will put it in a museum somewhere, so let’s get to the really juicy stuff.
The Daily Mail has been fretting over an issue vitally important to domestic diplomacy: The Curtsey. So what I am going to refer to as Royal Curtsey Protocol (capitalized because it is so very important) is basically this: There is a hierarchy among the royals on who gets curtsied to first. It was edited when Camilla married Charles, because the only person she would have had to curtsey to first would be the Queen, as Princess Diana had done. But neither Princess Anne nor the Queen’s cousin, Princess Alexandra, would curtsey to such a generally despised woman, so to avoid royal cat fighting, the Queen put a little known edict (entitled “Precedence of the Royal Family to be Observed at Court”) into effect. Camilla was demoted to fifth, but now Kate is coming in and shaking the whole thing up. So the question is, will Camilla (and stodgy Princess Anne) have to curtsey to Kate, a commoner?
The article advises that Kate may not care where she is on the totem pole, but William will as future King, since he wants his wife to receive the respect she deserves. However, other royal women may take issue with having to curtsey to her, thinking that royal blood trumps married blood. It spirals down into a big complicated royal mess, but one that should be juicy to watch after the marriage. These people and their royal pretensions — you’ve got to love it. Curtseying isn’t for sissies.
So brush up on your Miss Manners as a must for royal wedding preparation, and if you haven’t already, YouTube the Prince William/Kate Middleton engagement interview — so candid. They talk about everything from their brief breakup to his mother. Plus you get to stare at her gorgeous (now iconic) blue dress for nine minutes. It’s enough to make you wonder why we ever kicked the royal family to the curb.