Royal Wedding explainer: Schedule of events

Can’t wait for the royal wedding? Here’s your essential guide to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s big day.

The couple may be keeping many details under wraps for now, but if it’s out there and it’s official, we’ll post it here to keep you in the know.

The couple

Prince William, second in line to the British throne, elder son of heir to the throne, Prince Charles and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, will marry Kate Middleton, daughter of Michael and Carole Middleton.

Inside William and Kate’s St Andrews

The couple met while studying at St Andrews University in Scotland. Prince William proposed in October 2010 in Kenya, with his mother’s diamond and sapphire engagement ring.

The ceremony

The ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. on April 29 2011 at Westminster Abbey in London, England.

It takes place at the following times around the world:

3 a.m. in Los Angeles
6 a.m. in New York
12 noon in Paris
2 p.m. in Abu Dhabi
6 p.m. in Hong Kong
8 p.m. in Sydney

The ceremony will probably last around an hour.

Getting to the church

The bride-to-be will travel to Westminster Abbey by car, rather than horse-drawn carriage as Diana, Princess of Wales did on her wedding day 30 years ago.

Kate to ride to Abbey in Rolls Royce

It’s likely Kate will leave from one of the London palaces or possibly an exclusive London hotel, while Prince William will start off from Clarence House, Prince William’s official residence, though these details are yet to be confirmed by the Prince’s office.

The venue

Westminster Abbey is over 700 years old and holds 2,200 people. It’s been the site of coronations since William I’s in 1066.

Westminster Abbey: In-depth profile

Many royal weddings have taken place here, including current queen, Elizabeth II’s to Prince Philip in 1947. The Abbey is considered a more modest, but fittingly grand, alternative to the larger St Paul’s Cathedral.

Key players

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, will marry the couple. The Dean of Westminster will conduct the service.

The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, will give the address. He is a family friend of the Windsors and spoke at Diana, Princess of Wales’s memorial in 2007.

William has chosen his younger brother, Prince Harry, third in line to the throne, as best man. Kate’s sister Philippa, often known as Pippa, will be her maid of honor.

There will be four younger bridesmaids and two younger page boys, including two of William’s godchildren.

Who are the bridesmaids and page boys?

The music

Two choirs, one orchestra, a fanfare team and trumpeters will play at the wedding:

– The Choir of Westminster Abbey, formed of 20 boys and 12 professional singers. The Abbey’s sub-organist will play the organ.

– The Chapel Royal Choir, formed of 10 boys and six professional singers.

– The London Chamber Orchestra, the longest established professional chamber orchestra in the UK. Its 39 members will play from the organ loft in the Abbey.

– The Fanfare Team from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force, which consists of seven players and their conductor.

– The State Trumpeters of The Household Cavalry, eight trumpeters drawn from the Band of the Life Guards and the Band of the Blues and Royals.

The guests

Around 1,900 people have been invited to the main ceremony at Westminster Abbey, mainly made up of the couple’s friends and family.

The other guests will be members of foreign royal families, heads of state, members of the army, navy and air force and around 80 regular joes from the charities Prince William supports.

Six hundred people have been invited to a lunchtime reception at Buckingham Palace hosted by The Queen. Just three hundred people have been asked to an exclusive dinner in the evening thrown by Charles, Prince of Wales.

Wedding invitations stamped and sent

The Swedish royal family has confirmed. The Japanese royal family has pulled out due to the devastating events in Japan. The biggest snub so far is for Sarah Ferguson, ex-wife of Andrew, Duke of York, who has not been invited.

Royal procession

After the ceremony, the newlyweds will travel back to Buckingham Palace in a horse-drawn five-carriage procession, along a set route lined by fans and well-wishers. The route takes in some of London’s most historic places: Parliament Square, Whitehall, Horse Guards Parade and The Mall.

Full details on the carriages

William and Kate will likely use the 1902 State Landau, which Prince Charles and his first wife, the late Diana, Princess of Wales also used at their wedding. If it’s raining, the newlyweds will revert to the Glass Coach, which has a roof. The white-looking Windsor Greys, which are usually reserved for the Queen, will pull the newlyweds.

The reception

William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, will host a reception at Buckingham Palace for the couple’s friends and family.

It’s traditional for the couple to make a public appearance on the balcony at Buckingham Palace before joining the reception. The whole world will be hoping for a romantic kiss from the newlyweds.

Later on, William’s father, Prince Charles, will host a dinner for close friends and family at Buckingham Palace.

Wedding gifts

The couple have asked that members of the public who would like to give them a gift instead donate to charity. They have set up a dedicated website where donations can be made. Charities from Canada, the UK and Australia will benefit and include Oily Cart, New Zealand Government Christchurch Earthquake Appeal and Earthwatch.

The honeymoon

Clarence House hasn’t yet disclosed where the couple will honeymoon.

Once back, they will live on Anglesey, Wales, where Prince William works as a Royal Air Force search and rescue helicopter pilot.

What’s next

The couple will go, on their first official trip, to Canada in June and visit Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and the National Capital Region.

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