Thursday, April 28, 2011

Less than 14 Hours to Go

So much has happened and things are heating-up with every minute that passes.
First, there is a gigantic crowd of well-wishers gathered into what one journo called a Royal Tent City.

Right royal celebration: Tents lined the cobbled pavement with some dedicated royalists deciding to brave the weather despite having no tent or protection from the cold wind
From The Anglophile

Well, if that is the case, I know who the Lord Mayor of  RT City is - Thomas Moore, Sr - otherwise known as, The Anglophile.

From The Anglophile

Tom is charming, smart, successful, sophisticated, and a lifelong admirer of British Monarchy. He has reported that he is having a grand time and has made loads of new friends including one lovely, tiara-wearing, Camilla.

From The Anglophile

And also this guy. (At least now we know what's happened to John Galliano.)
From The Anglophile

It's been a busy time for everyone involved with the wedding but Princes William and Harry, as well as the human Camilla, have still made time to connect with well-wishers.

Prince William greets well-wishers along The Mall ahead of his wedding
Prince Harry tried not to steal the limelight from his brother
Meet and Greet: Camilla Duchess of Cornwall stepped out to meet people on the Mall on the eve of the wedding

The lovely, lovely Middleton ladies have settled into their suite at The Goring for a last night together with bride Catherine, single girl, Kate. Ah, they look so excited and happy. I hope they get some rest - I don't know how but I hope they do. 

Here come the Middletons: Pippa, Kate and mother Carole smile to the crowds as they arrive at the Goring Hotel ahead of Kate's marriage to Prince William tomorrow

I wonder if they'll be much sleeping tonight? It doesn't matter, The Goring may be boring but it is well-appointed and comfortable. I bet there'll be giggles and tears and tea and hugs and more giggles.

The Royal Apartment at the Goring Hotel: Bronze statues of women holding torches in the main sitting room
Sleeping in style: Four-poster bed in the £5,000-a-night suite

Of course, speculation about The Dress is rampant and I'll get to that but first the men: 
Prince William has come up with his own surprise - he has opted to wear the uniform of the Household Cavalry the same red uniform worn by Captain Mark Philips when he walked down the aisle with Princess Anne in 1973. Speaking of Princess Anne, I read an article about royal wedding dresses where she was described as an "equine Catherine Deneuve". Honestly. I think she's lovely, then and now.

Back to their Royal Highnesses:
"William will marry as a Colonel of the Irish Guards, his most senior honorary position in the military... Wills’ uniform features the Irish Guards’ distinctive arrangement of buttons in groups of four and was fitted by military tailors Kashket & Partners. Wills will also wear a forage cap. He’ll have sword slings but no sword...Harry will be decked out in a Blues and Royals officer’s uniform. The outfit will be decorated with the wings of the Army Air Corps as well as Golden Jubilee and Afghanistan medals. He will also have a gold cross-belt... The Prince of Wales will be dressed in military finery including a Navy sword."
(With thanks to the Daily Mirror)

There's also plenty of speculation about what Her Majesty will wear - more in terms of colour rather than designer. II think the queen will wear blue and that whatever she wears, she will be radiant and happy - all that really matters for a beloved monarch that has given her life to duty and family.

From The Anglophile

I've read that Catherine will be wearing her hair down. I think she'll wear it back but not up, as she has so beautifully, on her last few public appearances.

Another of my cyber pals, Fay of the blog, A Melange et Moi disagrees and thinks she will wear her hair down in the spirit of the trees and flowers Catherine has ordered to fill the Abbey. On another note, the young couple is keeping the arrangements in situ over the weekend so they can be enjoyed by visitors to the Abbey, how sweet.

 royal trees.JPG
Foliage is unloaded outside the Abbey. Kate is only using trees that are seasonal and can be re-planted

Other speculation has concerned the tiara Catherine will wear. The latest thinking is that Catherine will wear the King George III "Fringe tiara (made in 1830) as "something borrowed" just as Princess Elizabeth did for her wedding in 1947. It is also the tiara Princess Anne wore for her first wedding, in 1973. 

George III Fringe Tiara

It is lovely but I am still of the mind that she should wear the Girls of Great Britain tiara very fitting for a down-to-earth yet magnificent girl like Catherine.

The ‘Girls of Great Britain’ tiara

And as for The Dress? The latest rumor is that Sarah Burton has been seen dashing into the Goring. Was that Sarah Burton? Or perhaps a lady coming down with the chills? And having a very bad hair day?

Could Kate Middleton's wedding dress really be McQueen? A woman fitting designer Sarah Burton's description was spotted entering the Goring Hotel today with her face obscured by a large fur hat

Whatever comes, we're only hours away from an historic Royal Wedding. Some mysteries will be revealed, some we don't need to know. We know this is a very good, kind, and decent couple and they deserve every wish for health happiness, as do all brides and grooms to-be. My hope and my prayer is that all goes well, that everyone(!) is safe, and that nothing interferes with this joyous occasion. 

Good night and sweet dreams - especially to William and Kate.

The happy couple: This portrait of Prince William and Kate Middleton by celebrated photographer Mario Testino was published in the official programme

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nothing Left to Chance

Up to a thousand members of the military carried out a pre-dawn royal wedding dress rehearsal early this morning. The full-scale walk-through in preparation for Friday's big day involved the army, navy and RAF. So nothing was left to chance with the dry run in which timings were tested to the second and all armed forces taking part got the chance to practice their role in their service uniforms.
The day began very early – about 2am for those involved. Forces left Westminster's Wellington Barracks shortly before 5am to begin their way along the route. Some of the soldiers, sailors and airmen practicing their duties were Prince William's colleagues.First to arrive at the abbey were two of the royal fleet cars – Rolls-Royces - which arrived at about 4.50am. Shortly after 5am the action began.
 Here comes the bride: The Royal Rolls-Royce that will carry Kate Middleton and her father is seen with police escort as it arrives at Westminster Abbey .A Naval officer waits outside Westminster Abbey during the military dress rehearsalA mounted officer waits outside Westminster Abbey Practise hard, marry easy: A carriage followed by a cavalry soldier leaves Westminster Abbey To the Palace: A sergeant major looks on as three mounted officers make their way towards Buckingham Palace
You can read and see more by clicking here

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wedding of Earthly Delights

The bride-to-be has ordered more than four tons of foliage - including eight 20ft-high trees - to recreate a lavish English country garden inside Westminster Abbey. Under the guidance of her so-called ‘floral designer’, Shane Connolly, half a dozen English Field Maples have been installed in the historic church to create a ‘Living Avenue’ under which guests will walk to their seats.

Shane Connolly, the Royal Wedding Florist at Windsor Great Park, helps select the most complementary bouquets
Shane Connolly
Each of the trees have been placed in a planter personally designed by Mr Connolly and hand-crafted by artisans on the Prince of Wales’s Highgrove estate.The entire scheme is believed to have cost up to £50,000 – not quite the ‘austerity’ wedding St James’s Palace originally had in mind. According to royal sources, the idea was suggested by Mr Connolly as a way of mirroring the Abbey’s famous arches. Kate fell in love with his suggestion but agreed on the environmentally-friendly proviso that the trees were seasonal and could be re-planted. Last night the 15-year-old maples, wrapped in purple ribbons and weighing half a ton each, were delivered in two articulated lorries to the Abbey’s Great West Door. Four workers struggled for more than half an hour with a miniature forklift truck to take the first tree into the Abbey, but were forced to turn it on its side . Two pyramid-shaped ornamental Hornbeams were also delivered to create a leafy ‘frame’ around the choir. The rest of the Abbey will be bedecked in armfuls of cream and white flowers.

Standing tall: A group of gardeners prepare to move a tall tree into Westminster Abbey

Bride-to-be Kate has ordered more than four tons of foliage - including eight 20ft-high trees - to recreate a lavish English country garden inside Westminster Abbey

Easy does it: Five gardeners carry a tree into the famous London landmark

Bloomin' marvellous: Two gardeners wheel another tree into Westminster Abbey

Knock, knock, coming in: A fork-lift truck helps manoeuvre a maple tree into Westminster Abbey

High trees in: Gardeners dip an English maple tree so it can fit through the entrance of Westminster

Say trees: Photographers snap away as more maple trees are wheeled in to the old abbey

To me, to you: Workers get ready to set down the maple tree in order to make Kate's English country garden look perfect

After the wedding, the flowers and plants will be left in position in Westminster Abbey for the public to view until Friday 6th May. How very lovely.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Downloadable Wedding Souvenir

In a few brief hours, we'll be able to download the official wedding program(me). The souvenir consists of the full Order of Service, a personal message of thanks from the couple, and a never-before-seen photo of the bride and groom taken by Mario Testino. William's coat of arms is featured on the front cover, while Kate's new coat of arms appears on the back. (See, A Coat of Arms for Catherine, April 20th on this blog.)

The cover sheet of the souvenir Royal Wedding programme

The program(me) will be available to download 24 hours before the wedding on the Official Royal Wedding blog and where, if you don't want to wait, you can also find a detailed Royal Wedding media briefing document. 

Another Happy Event

Queen Elizabeth attended the christening of her first great grandchild, Savannah Phillips, on Sautday. She and Prince Philip joined their grandson Peter Phillips, 33, and his 32-year-old Canadian wife Autumn on Saturday at Holy Cross Church in Avening, Gloucestershire, close to Princess Anne’s Gatcombe Park estate. Proud grandmother Anne and her second husband Tim Laurence were joined by Peter’s sister Zara and her fiancĂ©, England rugby star Mike Tindall.
Story Image
Savannah, who is 12th in line to the throne, was born on December 29,in Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. Her name is The name is rare in the UK and is thought to have no special meaning beyond what it signifies when describing the landscape – an open plain. However, the name Savannah has become increasingly popular in the U.S. over the past two decades.

Baby's day out: Little Savannah Phillips enjoyed a day out with mum Autumn as they watched Zara in the Gatcombe horse trials

Savannah Phillips

Baby Savannah on an outing earlier this year. 

Wedding Day, Minute by Minute

Here are the details of the programme confirmed by royal officials:
- 8:15 am and 9:45 am (0715 GMT and 0845 GMT): The general congregation arrives at the Great North Door of Westminster Abbey.
Great North Door Westminster Abbey
- 9:50 am: Arrival of governors-general and prime ministers of 16 "realm countries" of which Queen Elizabeth II is monarch and head of state, including Britain, plus the global diplomatic corps, and other distinguished guests.
- 10:10 am: Prince William and Prince Harry leave Clarence House, the official residence of their father Prince Charles, arriving at Westminster Abbey at 10:15 am.
William faces a nervous wait in a side chapel of at least 45 minutes for his bride.
- 10:20 am: Members of foreign royal families arrive at the abbey from Buckingham Palace.
- Kate Middleton's mother Carole and brother James will leave the Goring Hotel, where the bride and her family will have stayed overnight, arriving at the abbey at 10:27 am.
- 10:35 am: Prince Andrew and his daughters Beatrice and Eugenie; Prince Edward and his wife Sophie; and Princess Anne and her husband Timothy Laurence leave Buckingham Palace, arriving at the abbey at 10:40 am.
- 10:38 am: Prince Charles and his wife Camilla leave Clarence House, arriving at the abbey at 10:42 am.
- 10:40 am: The Queen and Prince Philip leave Buckingham Palace. They arrive at the abbey at 10:45 am.
- 10:48 am: Bridesmaids and pages leave the Goring Hotel, arriving at the abbey at 10:55 am.
- 10:51 am: Kate Middleton and her father Michael leave the Goring Hotel.
She will travel in a claret-coloured 1977 Rolls Royce Phantom VI limousine, which was damaged and then repaired after student protesters attacked Prince Charles and Camilla in December.

Her route to the abbey passes anticipated crowds of hundreds of thousands of people in The Mall, Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall and Parliament Square.
- 11:00 am: Marriage service begins.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the head of the Church of England, will marry the couple. The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, will give the address and Dean of Westminster John Hall, the abbey's senior cleric, will conduct the service. The marriage service will be relayed by audio speakers along the route.
- 12:15 pm: The newly-weds travel by carriage to Buckingham Palace.
They will be accompanied by the Household Cavalry, followed by the queen's Procession with a Sovereign's Escort of the Household Cavalry.
If the weather is good they will use an open-topped gold 1902 State Landau coach that was used to carry Prince Charles to his wedding to Princess Diana in 1981. If it is raining they will use The Glass Coach, which carried Diana to the wedding.
The route takes William and Kate from the abbey, along Whitehall, cuts through Horse Guards parade, then goes up the Mall to Buckingham Palace, with William and Kate arriving at 12:30 pm.
The rest of the royals arrive at 12:40 pm and other guests after that.
1:25 pm: The queen and the newly-weds, together with their families, appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. William and Kate are expected to kiss.
1:30 pm: Flypast by Royal Air Force (RAF) jets and World War II planes from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.