Tag Archive: Princess Diana


http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_royals/20110429/wl_yblog_royals/prince-william-and-kate-middleton-now-officially-married

By Zachary Roth

It’s official!

A smiling Prince William and Kate Middleton were declared man and wife at London’s Westminster Abbey, in front of a congregation of around 1,900 and a worldwide television audience estimated at as many as 2 billion.

Wearing an ivory and white satin dress designed by Sarah Burton–a closely guarded secret until minutes before the service began–Kate accepted a wedding ring of Welsh gold, given to William by the Queen soon after the couple were engaged. The bride also wore a diamond-studded halo tiara loaned by the Queen, with her gently curled hair down at the back.

In a marriage ceremony led by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Kate promised William that she would “love him, comfort him, honor him, and keep him,” and he offered the same pledge. Like William’s mother Princess Diana at her own 1981 wedding to Prince Charles, Kate struck a modern note by omitting the traditional vow to “obey” her husband.

[ Photos: Check out a gallery of Kate’s wedding dress ]

William, who chose not to wear a ring, donned a bright red tunic, with a crimson and gold sash and gold sword slings, from the Irish National Guards, a British Army regiment of which he is an honorary colonel. The choice was made in part to honor three members of the Guards who were killed in action in Afghanistan.

The bride’s ring was created by Wartski, a Palace spokesperson said, a family jeweler that also created the wedding bands for Prince Charles’s 2005 marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall.

Kate, 29, the daughter of creators of a successful party-planning business, becomes the first commoner in line to be queen in modern times. She’ll now be known officially as Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, Buckingham Palace said in a statement this morning–though the public will know her as Princess Catherine. William becomes the Duke of Cambridge.

The bride’s three-and-half minute procession through the abbey was accompanied by a choir singing the soaring English choral “I Was Glad,” composed in 1902 by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry. In a tribute to Princess Diana, the congregation began the service by singing “Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer,” a Welsh hymn sung at her 1997 funeral. It also sang “Jerusalem,” the popular English hymn based on a poem by William Blake.

[ Related: The best hats from the royal wedding ]

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, along with Kate’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, served as witnesses and signed the marriage registers. The bride’s mother wore a gray-blue dress designed by Catherine Walker, a fashion designer whose work was championed by Princess Diana. The Duchess of Cornwall opted for a champagne silk dress designed by Anna Valentine, and a Philip Treacey hat.

The hour-long service was conducted by the Very Reverend Dr. John Hall, the dean of Westminster. It also included an address from the Right Reverend Richard Chartres, the bishop of London and a friend of the royal family.

William, 28, spent a low-key last bachelor evening with his father at St. James’s Palace, then traveled this morning to the abbey in a uniquely designed Bentley, with his best man, Prince Harry–both brothers smiling and waving through the window to the crowds. Before the service, they greeted members of the congregation, including Earl Spencer, Princess Diana’s brother.

Kate, meanwhile, stayed the night with her family–including her maid of honor, younger sister Philippa–at London’s Goring Hotel, and came to the abbey alongside her father in a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI owned by the queen.

After the service, the newlyweds are set to ride to Buckingham Palace in a horse-drawn open-top carriage–originally built in 1902 for William’s great-great-great grandfather, King Edward VII. They’ll pass Parliament Square, Whitehall, and the Mall along a processional route, lined since yesterday–despite the chilly and overcast weather–with crowds cheering and waving the Union Jack, having heard the service over loudspeakers.

At the palace, the Queen will host a lunchtime reception for a select 650 members of the congregation, during which William and Kate will appear on the balcony–weather permitting–for what’s expected to be their first public kiss as newlyweds. Later, they’ll head to a roughly 300-person dinner and dance party given by Prince Charles, also at Buckingham Palace. The Queen, who wore an Angela Kelly primrose dress and matching coat, will skip that event, the Palace has said, to allow the younger crowd to properly let their hair down.

Elsewhere, millions of Britons took advantage of the national holiday–declared months ago by Prime Minister David Cameron–by gathering in pubs, private homes, and public viewing areas to celebrate the event, which for months has dominated the country’s news coverage. Estimates for the hit to Britain’s economy, thanks to the day off work, have ranged from $10 billion to $50 billion.

[ Photos: See images of the royal wedding party]

Cameron, who famously camped out on the Mall for Charles and Diana’s wedding, called the day “a chance to celebrate.”

“We’re quite a reserved lot, the British,” the prime minister told the BBC this morning. “But then when we go for it, we really go for it.”

The wedding congregation mixed personal friends of the bride and groom, royalty from around the world, dignitaries from numerous former British colonies, foreign officials and diplomats, and celebrities including Elton John and David and Victoria Beckham.

Representatives of all governments with whom Britain has normal diplomatic relations had originally received invitations. But the Syrian ambassador was informed yesterday that he was no longer welcome, amid a violent ongoing crackdown against pro-democracy protesters carried out by the regime of President Bashar Assad. The presence of the Bahraini ambassador, who previously ran a government agency accused of using electric shocks and beatings, has also provoked controversy.

[ Related: All of the details on Kate’s dress]

Adding to the rancor over the guest list, two former Labour Party prime ministers, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, were not invited, even as two former Conservative PMs, Baroness Thatcher and Sir John Major, were included–an arrangement that was criticized by several Labour members of parliament (Thatcher was too unwell to attend). St. James’s Palace said that Thatcher and Major received invitations because they’re both Knights of the Garter, unlike Blair and Brown. Major also was appointed a guardian to William and Harry after Diana’s death.

The wedding caps a nearly decade-long relationship for William and Kate, who met in 2001 as students at the University of St Andrew’s in Scotland, and began dating a year or so later. Aside from a brief reported split in 2007, they appear to have been an item ever since. William proposed during a vacation in Africa last October.

The pair’s lengthy buildup contrasts with that of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, who were estimated to have spent just 21 hours together before marrying. That famously troubled union ended in divorce in 1996, after a long estrangement. Diana died in a car accident in Paris the following year.

The wedding comes at a pivotal time for the House of Windsor. Though she appears to remain in good health, the 85-year-old Queen reportedly has begun planning for her funeral. Charles, the heir to the throne, is seen by much of the public as stiff and out of touch, prompting concern that his accession could undermine the monarchy’s standing with the public. Polls indicate that upon the Queen’s death, most Britons would like to see the throne skip straight to William, though that currently appears unlikely.

In addition to being given the titles of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the couple will also become the Earl and Countess of Strathearn, as well as Baron and Baroness Carrickfergus.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20110429/wl_time/08599206848800

By MICHAEL ELLIOTT Michael Elliott 1 hr 44 mins ago

In Britain, all is not as it seems, nor ever has been. As they viewed the preparations for the royal wedding, with all its pomp and circumstance, the non-British seemed to willingly buy into the idea that the monarchy – and popular reverence for it – has been a fixed point in the British firmament for centuries, a source of stability however the nation’s fortunes may have ebbed and flowed.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The monarchy does not symbolize some deep sense of tradition; on the contrary, it has long been a contested element of what it means to be British. In the 17th century, revolutionaries turned the world upside down and deprived Charles I of his head more than 100 years before the French did the same to Louis XVI. The Crown was restored in 1660, but 28 years later another King was sent packing into exile. By the early 19th century, the scandal-stained Hanoverian dynasty was widely loathed. In his great sonnet “England in 1819,” the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley described George III and his sons as “An old, mad, blind, despised and dying king, – / Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow/ Through public scorn – mud from a muddy spring.” (See pictures of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding day.)

The monarchy was saved and re-invented by the sense of duty of Victoria – just 18 when she ascended to the throne in 1837 – and her remarkable German husband Prince Albert. During Britain’s period of high imperialism and global economic dominance, it suited both the old landed grandees and those enriched by the world’s first modern economy to elevate the Crown into a symbol of changelessness in a society that was changing at breakneck speed.

Victoria’s halo sanctified the reigns of her son Edward VII and grandson George V, a man whose principal pastimes were stamp collecting and slaughtering game birds on his Norfolk estate. But such splendid dullness could not be maintained. Though the reassuring presence of Elizabeth II, who was 9 when her grandfather died in 1936, has indeed been a stabilizing constant in British life, the years since George V’s demise have seen regular eruptions in British attitudes toward the monarchy – all taking place against a backdrop of quiet, but continual and profound, constitutional change.

1937
Not the Wedding They Wanted

On June 3, 1937, at a chÁteau in france, the Duke of Windsor – who had reigned for 10 months as Edward VIII before abdicating in favor of his brother – married the woman he loved, Wallis Simpson, an American from Baltimore and, in 1936, the first woman to be named Time’s Person of the Year. (The piece was distinctly catty; Simpson was said to have “resolved early to make men her career, and in 40 years reached the top – or nearly.”) The wedding was a low-key affair, and after the ceremony one guest described the duke as having “tears running down his face,” perhaps out of relief that the whole squalid business was over. If so, it was a sentiment his people shared. A vain, self-centered man who – to put it at its most charitable – was far too prepared to be used by Nazi sympathizers, Edward would have been a disastrous monarch as Britain fought for its survival in World War II.

1947
Relief from Hard Times

Instead of Edward, the nation was blessed to have on the throne George VI, a man of palpable decency, whose wife Elizabeth was widely popular.

On Nov. 20, 1947, their daughter Elizabeth, the heiress to the Crown, married her distant cousin Philip Mountbatten in Westminster Abbey. In the run-up to the wedding, its expense – shades of 2011 – was highly controversial. Exhausted and broke after six years of war, Britain was going through a period of penny-pinching austerity and food rationing, which made the question of a sugary wedding cake politically sensitive. Gifts piled in, from diamond-encrusted wreaths to a piece of cloth that Mohandas Gandhi had spun himself. (Elizabeth’s grandmother thought it was a loincloth; she was not amused.)

Perhaps because it offered a welcome relief from hard times, the wedding was enormously popular. Less than five years later, while in Kenya, Elizabeth was told that her father had died, aged just 56. TIME named her Person of the Year in 1952, with a tone quite different from the one it had used for her aunt. Elizabeth’s significance, we said, was “that of a fresh young blossom on roots that had weathered many a season of wintry doubt.”

It’s for historians to judge whether the Queen has lived up to such promise, but there is little doubt that, partly by assiduously avoiding any controversy, she did much to restore the monarchy’s luster. Then along came a young, wounded, starstruck, beautiful girl from Norfolk. She changed everything. Again.

See pictures of British royal weddings.

See pictures Westminster Abbey.

1981
A Shaft of Light and Gaiety

If you weren’t there, it’s hard to imagine just how grim a place Britain was in the summer of 1981. Race riots convulsed its cities. The economy was in ruins, with large parts of the industrial north of England and the Midlands reduced to rusted wasteland. The government of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was not just disliked by half the population; with a vehemence that still seems shocking 30 years on, it was positively loathed.

Into this desperate gloom, the wedding of Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, to Diana Spencer, just 20 – and a very innocent 20 at that – projected a shaft of light and gaiety. (That endless train behind her dress! Kiri Te Kanawa’s voice!) Whatever happened in the half soap opera, half tragedy that followed, the sheer glamour of the wedding endowed Diana with a genuine popularity – no, love – that she never lost. (See pictures of Princess Diana.)

The point about Diana that the royal family did not understand when she was selected for the Prince’s hand was that, like everyone else, she would grow up. The ingenue fairy-tale princess became a confident (albeit devious) young woman, comfortable with the happily mixed-up, multicultural, undeferential society that Britain had become, passionate about controversial causes such as the fights against AIDS and land mines and – in the end – openly contemptuous of the serial indignities to which the family into which she had married subjected her. Even had she lived, Diana’s story would have changed attitudes to the monarchy. The revelation that her husband had continued an affair with his true love (and now second wife) Camilla Parker Bowles while married to Diana – coupled with a rash of royal divorces – replaced the allure and mystery of the monarchy with something much more tawdry. And then Diana died.

1997
The Long Week of Grief

Nobody – nobody – was ready for what happened to Britain in the week after Diana was killed in a Paris car crash. A nation that was supposed to be emotionally stunted, with stiff backbones and stiffer upper lips, descended into the sort of public grief normally reserved for the last act of second-rate Italian operas – except that it was genuine. Stuck at their home in Scotland, the royals seemed woefully out of touch with the sentiments of their people. Only at the last minute did the Queen walk into the crowds that were mourning Diana outside Buckingham Palace and show that she shared the national sense of loss.

The criticism of the royal family that week did not lead to a sustained increase in republican sentiment in Britain. To the contrary: once the Queen returned to London, the numbers of those saying they wanted to ditch her dropped to historic lows. But that extraordinary week changed the nature of the relationship between Crown and people forever. The crowds mourning Diana were not subjects. In a way that the revolutionaries of the 17th century would have understood, they were defining for themselves what they expected of a family, one of whose members was their head of state, and compelling that family to act accordingly. It was as if modern Britain were saying, “We get it. We’re more than happy to have you around. But you do the job on our terms.”

2002
A Link to the Past Is Broken

Before that sentiment could solidify into a modern conception of the monarchy, however, there was one more sad piece of business to attend to. On March 30, 2002, aged 101, George VI’s wife and Elizabeth II’s mother – the Queen Mum – died. Hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets of London to see her coffin. The Queen Mum was a direct link to the tumultuous days of the abdication, to “the war.” (There is only one war in British speech.) But she was a link, also, to a Britain, and monarchy, that is long gone. Deeply conservative, she was a blue-blooded member of the aristocratic class that had once provided wives for royal males. No more. There have been eight weddings in the Queen’s immediate family since 1947, but in only one case – that of Prince Charles – did the royal marry into a titled family. The Windsors have become middle class.

Along with that social transformation has come a constitutional one. Since 348 people signed a document demanding reform called Charter 88 (I was one of them, I am very proud to say), Britain has gone through more constitutional change than in any other period in the past 300 years. Subnational parliaments have been established in Wales and Scotland, London has an elected mayor, a charter of human rights has been constitutionally protected, a new Supreme Court has been set up, taxpayer support for the royals has been reduced, and soon, Parliaments will sit for a fixed term. The Queen remains head of state, but in any real sense, she is the least powerful monarch Britain has ever had. You won’t have heard that among the hushed voices of the global TV commentators who prattle on about Britain’s wonderful sense of tradition, but it is true.

Watch a video on the Royals through history.

See pictures of the courtship of Kate and William.

View this article on Time.com

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If you looked away from the screen for a moment, you probably missed it. It was a quick smooch. Kate turned to her groom, said something with a smile, and the prince reached over, rather hurriedly, and gave her a very quick kiss.

Maybe that’s why he kissed her again.

The second kiss came just before the Royal Air Force flyover. Another first on a historic day: two kisses on the Buckingham Palace balcony by a newly married royal couple.

Photos: Images from the Royal Wedding Ceremony
All eyes were on Prince William and Kate as they emerged from the palace onto the balcony. Many among the boisterous gathered crowd and those watching around the world surely had one defining image in their minds: Princess Diana and PrinceCharles’ memorable wedding kiss.

It wasn’t traditional for royal couples to kiss in public following their weddings before the summer of 1981. And Prince Charles reportedly resisted breaking tradition when the crowds outside Buckingham Palace that historic July morning called out for them to kiss.

“I am not going to do that caper. They are trying to get us to kiss,” he said to Diana.

Diana’s reported response: “Well, how about it?” The prince hesitated, then said “Why ever not?”

And this image lives on as proof.

Sadly, the marriage did not live up to the sweetness of that first public kiss. And because of that, there is a lifetime of hope wrapped up in today’s royal smooch. The world wishes so much better for this young couple. They have come to marriage older, wiser, and by all accounts, truly in love.

The grand balcony has been the stage for vaulted royal appearances since 1851, when Queen Victoria stepped out onto it during celebrations for the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, London. The Great Exhibition was the first in a series of World’s Fair displays of culture and industry and attended by the likes of Charles Darwin and Charlotte Bront.

Princess Anne was the first of Queen Elizabeth’s newly wed children to appear on the balcony with her new spouse, Captain Mark Phillips, in 1973. But they did not kiss.

Neither did Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex on their 1999 wedding day, though Prince Andrew did follow his elder brother’s lead when he kissed the Duchess of York on the balcony on their wedding day in 1986.

A new iconic royal kiss image is born. Long live the marriage.

Pippa Middleton Wears White

http://omg.yahoo.com/blogs/a-line/pippa-middleton-wears-white/819

Etiquette experts consider it bad formfor anyone but the bride to wear white on the wedding day. Not the Middletons. Kate’s sister Pippa wore a white maid of honor dress on the world’s biggest stage.

[Photos: See more of Pippa’s dress]
Like Kate’s wedding dress, Pippa’s gown was designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. The gown featured short sleeves, a low-cut neckline, and was form-fitting. Immediately following Pippa’s appearance at Westminster Abbey, web searches soared.

A blog from the “Today” show explains that a white dress for non-brides isn’t as rare as it used to be. Bridal designer Reem Acra told TODAY.com: “I like the idea that (Kate’s) sister is wearing white… It makes the whole thing more thematic and looks clean and modern.”

Tom Mora, J.Crew’s vice-president for bridal wear, told TODAY.com that “there is something quite beautiful about it… there’s a purity about her sister wearing white.”

Pippa’s dress had the same button detail and lace trim as Kate’s wedding gown, according to PopSugar. In addition to looking beautiful, Pippa also did an excellent job with the young bridesmaids and took good care of her sister’s train.

Below, some other buzzy moments to remember…

Kate remembers William’s name
The curse is broken! Kate remembered William’s full name! It might sound like a small victory, but it’s far from it. William’s full name is quite a mouthful. For the record, he is William Arthur Philip Louis. Imagine trying to remember that with two billion people watching.

The bride also wore white. Chris Jackson/Getty Images In royal weddings past, Princess Diana and Princess Sarah Ferguson messed up when asked to recite their groom’s full name. According to Dickie Arbiter, former press secretary to the queen, Diana mixed up the order of Charles’s names. Diana had a pretty good excuse: Charles’s full name is Charles Philip Arthur George. Same deal with Fergie; she accidentally repeated Prince Andrew’s middle name.

Not so with Kate. She nailed William’s full name. A good omen if ever there was one.

Kate Middleton‘s delicate figure
Kate Middleton caught the experts’ eyes for her dress as well as her slender physique. Barbara Walters began buzzing after she saw Middleton exit. “She’s very slim. Look at that waist!”

[Photo gallery: Kate’s wedding look]
James Middleton: expert reader
Kate Middleton‘s brother, James, gave a reading at the royal wedding, and though he would have had every excuse to be nervous or fumble over a phrase, the 24-year-old nailed the passages from Romans 12:1,2, 9-18. Pausing at the right times, never mispronouncing a word, and never losing his place, James was perfect with his high-profile task.

Michael Middleton’s butter fingers
The father of the bride did a wonderful job of walking with his beautiful daughter down the aisle and standing at attention at the front of the church. He did make one small mistake, though. Right when he arrived at Westminster Abbey, he dropped his hat. Oops. It was all aces from there. No harm, no foul.
Etiquette experts consider it bad formfor anyone but the bride to wear white on the wedding day. Not the Middletons. Kate’s sister Pippa wore a white maid of honor dress on the world’s biggest stage.

[Photos: See more of Pippa’s dress]
Like Kate’s wedding dress, Pippa’s gown was designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. The gown featured short sleeves, a low-cut neckline, and was form-fitting. Immediately following Pippa’s appearance at Westminster Abbey, web searches soared.

A blog from the “Today” show explains that a white dress for non-brides isn’t as rare as it used to be. Bridal designer Reem Acra told TODAY.com: “I like the idea that (Kate’s) sister is wearing white… It makes the whole thing more thematic and looks clean and modern.”

Tom Mora, J.Crew’s vice-president for bridal wear, told TODAY.com that “there is something quite beautiful about it… there’s a purity about her sister wearing white.”

Pippa’s dress had the same button detail and lace trim as Kate’s wedding gown, according to PopSugar. In addition to looking beautiful, Pippa also did an excellent job with the young bridesmaids and took good care of her sister’s train.

Below, some other buzzy moments to remember…

Kate remembers William’s name
The curse is broken! Kate remembered William’s full name! It might sound like a small victory, but it’s far from it. William’s full name is quite a mouthful. For the record, he is William Arthur Philip Louis. Imagine trying to remember that with two billion people watching.

The bride also wore white. Chris Jackson/Getty Images In royal weddings past, Princess Diana and Princess Sarah Ferguson messed up when asked to recite their groom’s full name. According to Dickie Arbiter, former press secretary to the queen, Diana mixed up the order of Charles’s names. Diana had a pretty good excuse: Charles’s full name is Charles Philip Arthur George. Same deal with Fergie; she accidentally repeated Prince Andrew’s middle name.

Not so with Kate. She nailed William’s full name. A good omen if ever there was one.

Kate Middleton‘s delicate figure
Kate Middleton caught the experts’ eyes for her dress as well as her slender physique. Barbara Walters began buzzing after she saw Middleton exit. “She’s very slim. Look at that waist!”

[Photo gallery: Kate’s wedding look]
James Middleton: expert reader
Kate Middleton‘s brother, James, gave a reading at the royal wedding, and though he would have had every excuse to be nervous or fumble over a phrase, the 24-year-old nailed the passages from Romans 12:1,2, 9-18. Pausing at the right times, never mispronouncing a word, and never losing his place, James was perfect with his high-profile task.

Michael Middleton’s butter fingers
The father of the bride did a wonderful job of walking with his beautiful daughter down the aisle and standing at attention at the front of the church. He did make one small mistake, though. Right when he arrived at Westminster Abbey, he dropped his hat. Oops. It was all aces from there. No harm, no foul.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_royals/20110429/wl_yblog_royals/royal-wedding-mysteries-solved

Why didn’t Prince William watch his bride walk down the aisle? Who was that little girl covering her ears and frowning while the newlyweds kissed on the balcony? Where can I get those gorgeous earrings Kate wore to her wedding? The last remaining mysteries of the royal wedding are solved, right here at Shine.

Who was that adorable little girl frowning and covering her ears on the balcony during the big kiss? That’s Prince William’s goddaughter, 3-year-old Grace van Cutsem, who was one of the official bridesmaids (there are no “flower girl” roles in traditional British weddings, so children are often included as bridesmaids or pages). She is the daughter of Lady Rose Astor and Hugh van Cutsem, and great-great-great-granddaughter of William Waldorf Astor, a New York-born lawyer and politician who later became a member of the British Aristocracy. (The Waldorf Hotel was one of his pet projects.) Little Grace was also pouting for part of the carriage ride; apparently, the crowd of adoring fans got a little too noisy.

Are there usually trees in Westminster Abbey? Kate loves the outdoors and, according to the Daily Mail, she ordered more than four tons of foliage to create an English country garden setting inside Westminster Abbey, including pyramid-shaped ornamental Hornbeams to frame the choir and a “living avenue” of 20-foot-tall, 15-year-old English Field Maples through which guests walked to their seats. The cost? About 50,000 pounds, or $83,335.

What music did Kate walk in to? It didn’t sound like the wedding march. The princess walked down the aisle to “I Was Glad” by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, who composed it for the coronation of Prince William’s great-great-great grandfather Edward VII in 1902.

Why didn’t Prince William watch his bride walk down the aisle? Tradition. The groom is the last person to see the bride, and can only do so after she has completed the long walk down the aisle and is at his side. Since the aisle at Westminster Abbey is about 300-feet long, he had at least a four-minute wait at the altar.

What did Prince William whisper to Kate? According to some lip readers, he told her that she looked beautiful—and then looked at his father-in-law-to-be and quipped, “We were supposed to have just a small family affair.”

Where did the bride and groom go in the middle of the ceremony? They went to the Shrine of Saint Edward the Confessor, a room inside the Abbey, to sign the wedding registers.

Why was Prince William wearing red? Prince William holds an honorary rank of Colonel of the Irish Guards, and he opted to wear an Irish Guard’s officer uniform instead of his Royal Air Force uniform. He also wore his Garter sash and star, Royal Air Force “wings,” and Golden Jubilee medal.

Was the bride’s dress inspired by Grace Kelly’s? It seems that way; in fact, Kate’s dress looks very much like the one worn by the American actress when she wed Prince Rainier III of Monaco in April 1956. Both Kate’s gown and that of Serene Highness the Princess of Monaco had long sleeves, a cinched waist, a figure-hugging bodice, short veils, medium-length trains, and lots of delicate lace.

What was in the bride’s bouquet? According to the official royal wedding website, the bouquet was a shield-shaped collection of Myrtle, Lily-of-the-Valley, Sweet William, Ivy, and Hyacinth. The Myrtle sprigs were from plants grown from the Myrtle used in the wedding bouquets of Queen Victoria in 1845 and Queen Elizabeth in 1947.

Any hidden messages? Each bridesmaid had her name and the date of the wedding hand-embroidered into the lining of her dress. The bride and groom could not customize their vows, but they did write their own prayer, which was read by Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, during the ceremony (download a copy of the program here). It was: “God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage. In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy. Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.” And of course, each of those flowers in the bride’s bouquet had a special meaning: Lily-of-the-Valley represents the return of happiness, Sweet William stands for gallantry, Hyacinth is for the constancy of love, Myrtle symbolizes marriage and love, and Ivy is for fidelity, marriage, wedded love, friendship, and affection.

What are the full names of the newlyweds? Prince Williams of Wales got another set of titles in time for the wedding, according to an announcement on the official royal wedding website. His full name is now His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, Duke of Cambridge, Early of Strathearn, Baron Carrickfergus, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Master of Arts. (According to the official website of the British Monarchy, those who have the title of HRH Prince or Princess do not need to use a last name, though theirs is Mountbatten-Windsor.) As his wife, the former Miss Catherine Elizabeth Middleton is now Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge, but most people will probably call her Princess Catherine or Princess Kate (unofficially, of course).

Was Kate wearing Princess Diana’s tiara? No. Diana wore the Spencer Tiara, a family heirloom of ornate, stylized flowers decorated with diamonds in silver settings. The halo-style tiara that Kate wore was Cartier creation belonging to the Queen. King George bought it for the Queen Mother in 1936; the Queen Mother gave it to the Queen on her 18th birthday.

What about her earrings? The bride’s earrings were designed by Robinson Pelham, according to the official royal wedding website. They are diamond-set stylized oak leaves that frame a dangling diamond-set drop and pave-set diamond acorn. The earrings, which are a wedding gift to Kate from her parents, were made to match the tiara lent to her by the Queen, and were inspired by the Middleton family’s new coat of arms.

Why did the Middleton family get a new coat of arms? What happened to their old one? They didn’t have a coat of arms before, because they weren’t members of the British aristocracy. The new coat of arms features three oak-leaf-and-acorn sprigs representing the three Middleton children—Catherine (Kate), Philippa (Pippa), and James. A golden chevron honors Carole Middleton, whose maiden name was Goldsmith, and two thinner, white chevrons represent the mountains and stand for the family’s love of the outdoors.

Who got to be on the balcony at Buckingham Palace with the royal newlyweds? The bride and groom took center stage, of course, but also appearing before the public were the Queen and Prince Philip, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla (Duchess of Cornwall), Carole and Richard Middleton, the couple’s siblings (Pippa and James Middleton and Prince Harry), the pages (Tom Pettifer and William Lowther-Pinkerton), and the bridesmaids (Eliza Lopez, Grace van Cutsem, The Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, and the Honourable Margarita Armstrong-Jones. Yes, even some children have titles in England.)

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By WILLIAM LEE ADAMS William Lee Adams 2 hrs 31 mins ago

What do you get a woman who is about to have everything? A coat of arms, of course.

Michael and Carole Middleton, Kate’s parents, commissioned a family crest to mark their daughter’s April 29 nuptial. Working in conjunction with an artist at the College of Arms – the esteemed institution that makes these sorts of things – the family created a lozenge-shaped coat of arms hanging from a blue ribbon (a symbol that Kate is still a Miss and not a Mrs.). Three acorns represent the three Middleton children (Kate, Pippa and James), and invoke the oak tree – a symbol of west Berkshire, where the family has lived for 30 years. The division down the middle of the crest is a play on the Middle-ton family name, while the gold chevron refers to Carole’s maiden name Goldsmith. (See TIME’s special coverage of the royal wedding.)

Thomas Woodcock, the artist who helped the family come up with the crest, says the red and blue coloring was essential: another coat of arms, designed in the 16th century, also features a chevron between three sprigs of oak. “It’s not compulsory, but as their daughter is marrying into the royal family she will have a need probably to use a coat of arms,” Woodcock says. He’s right. The logo will feature in the souvenir royal wedding program, which will be sold to the public for $3. Artists will later remove the blue ribbon and impale Kate’s shield into the middle Prince William’s coat of arms. How’s that for “two become one”? (See pictures of the world’s most stunning tiaras.)

Despite the celebratory nature of the family crest, England’s class system requires cynics to roll their eyes. For those aristocrats looking down their nose at commoner Kate, the coat of arms should probably include balloons and a few streamers. Old-money toffs like to point out that the Middletons made their millions through a homegrown party supplies business. As the guide for the Kate and Wills Royal Wedding Walking Tour recently explained to TIME, Kate and her sister “have been nicknamed, rather unkindly, ‘The Wisteria Sisters.’ Highly decorative, terribly fragrant, with a ferocious ability to climb.”

But sour grapes won’t change history. As the coat of arms shows, the future Mrs. William Windsor really has arrived. (via BBC)

Middleton family gets coat of arms

http://royalwedding.yahoo.com/blogs/middleton-family-gets-coat-of-arms-5416

As far as wedding traditions go, we’ve all heard of something old, something new. Just in time for the royal wedding, princess-to-be Kate Middleton got herself something old and new: a coat of arms for the Middleton family.

The tradition dates back to the 12th century, when the emblems were worn over armor in battle and in tournaments so that opponents could identify each other, according to Thomas Woodcock, the Garter Principal King of Arms. The title is a grand one, established in 1415 by King Henry V on the way to the Battle of Agincourt, according to the BBC.

Woodcock said that the coat of arms has a long and proud tradition in England: “Heraldry is Europe’s oldest, most visual and strictly regulated form of identity.”

[ Related: The Middleton family’s black sheep uncle ]

The Middleton family worked with the College of Arms on the design, which is new. The best part–there is also something blue: Kate Middleton’s coat of arms hangs from a blue ribbon, symbolizing she is unmarried — at least for the next 10 days.

Each element represents something reflective of the family: the acorns are for the family’s favorite tree, the oak. The gold chevron is for Carole Middleton’s family name, Goldsmith. The thinner chevrons represent the family’s love for outdoor activities, according to the palace.

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Woodcock admits that many more people qualify for a coat of arms than is probably realized (profession and academic degrees often make you eligible). But It’s not widely publicized, since “If we were to advertise too much it would debase our own currency.”

The coat of arms will be passed down by Kate’s brother James to his descendents.

http://royalwedding.yahoo.com/blogs/why-kate-middleton-wont-toss-her-bouquet-5583

LONDON–The ceremonial fight for the bride’s bouquet is a symbolic, entertaining, and occasionally violent staple of most weddings, but there won’t be a throng of eager young ladies queuing up to catch Kate Middleton’s lavish flower arrangement on April 29.

British royal protocol dictates that instead of being hurled skyward and giving one lucky and sure-handed girl a superstitious shove toward marriage, Kate’s bouquet will come to a far more solemn rest.

As she heads back down the aisle at Westminster Abbey, having completed her nuptials to become either Her Royal Highness Princess William of Wales or another title of the queen’s choosing, she will take a moment to lay her floral creation at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, a historic grave embedded into the church floor in 1920 to commemorate anonymous soldiers killed at war.

[ Related: How Prince William is breaking royal tradition ]

“It is one of the ways I remember the boys who didn’t come home,” Michael Selby, a private during World War II who honors the tomb whenever he visits the Abbey, told Yahoo!. “It is a symbol for the men whose bodies lay in a foreign field, a lot of them never identified.”

The tomb, carrying the body of an unidentified soldier brought home from the first World War, is a revered site in British military history. It became etched into royal tradition in 1923 thanks to Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who would later be known as the queen mother.

Bowes-Lyon, much loved and expertly portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter in the Oscar-winning movie “The King’s Speech,” set the tradition when she wed her “Bertie,” King George VI, by laying a wreath on the tomb in honor of her brother Fergus, who had died during the war. On that occasion the arrangement was laid on the way to the altar. It has since been followed by every royal bride, though subsequently on their way out of the church.

[ Related: Security teams preparing for trouble at the royal wedding ]

As preparations for William and Kate’s wedding got into full flow earlier this year, Kate made it known that she wished to pay a tribute to the military. Such a gesture surely met with the approval of Prince William, who continued family tradition by serving as a search and rescue pilot in the Royal Air Force and is currently stationed at a flight base in Wales.

William’s brother, Prince Harry, has also vigorously launched himself into a career of service, flying Apache helicopters and recently being promoted to the rank of captain in the British Army Air Corps.

With the queen closely involved in planning for the wedding ceremony, it was agreed that the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior would be a fitting way to stick with royal practice, while also giving a touching nod to the services.

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But what of the flowers that will be laid there? There has been some mystery regarding the creation. The Daily Mail reported that floral expert Shane Connolly would be given the honor of piecing together what will perhaps be the most-viewed bouquet in history.

Whatever form it takes, it is virtually certain that it will contain the royal staple of myrtle, known as the herb of love. Queen Victoria planted a myrtle bush at one of her residences, Osborne House, in the 1840s, and every royal wedding bouquet since has contained a sprig taken from the same plant.

William and Kate are very much a modern couple, but their wedding looks like it will be notable for its deference to history, right down to the concoction, placement, and symbolism of the bouquet.

Ten things Kate can’t do once she marries Wills

http://royalwedding.yahoo.com/blogs/ten-things-kate-can%E2%80%99t-do-once-she-marries-wills-4646

Just one generation ago someone like Kate Middleton would have been tasered for getting too close to the British Royal family.

So when Clarence House relaxed their stun guns and let their future king propose to a ‘commoner’, Britain awoke in a postmodern-like daze where realities became relative and class boundaries blurred.

The only problem with such superb forward thinking is that the Royal Family is still very much backward and old fashioned when it comes to some matters, namely rules and etiquette.

And as the first normal woman to enter the Windsor fold, Kate will feel the changes to her life on a higher level than many past princesses.

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Here are ten things the bride-to-be will no longer be allowed to do once she walks down the Green Mile – ahem, aisle – in Westminster:

1. Be referred to as ‘Kate’

When Kate Middleton joins the House of Windsor this year, her official title will become ‘Her Royal Highness the Princess William of Wales’.

She can be addressed as ‘Catherine’ or ‘Ma’am’ (pronounced like ‘ham’). But ‘Kate’ isn’t going to cut it anymore by Royal standards.

Clarence House officials will probably wine and dine London’s Royal correspondents and then ask them to please refer to Kate as ‘Catherine’ in the future. But we think they will refuse to do this. Something to do with search engine keywords.

2. Vote

Technically, the Queen and other members of her family are allowed to vote, but they do not do so because in practice it would be considered unconstitutional and not in accordance with the need for neutrality.

This is in keeping with the Royal Family’s public role, which is based on identifying with every section of society, including minorities and special interest groups.

3. Run for political office

For the reasons stated above, this is also a no no.

4. Escape the scrutiny

As arguably Britain’s most dysfunctional family, the Monarchy provides the British public with a generous source of voyeuristic entertainment, and an opportunity for heartless slander.

Having already been under the media spotlight for the best part of nine years, Kate has copped her fair share of criticism from the media over the most mundane and insignificant of things.

[ Related: How William and Kate get the upper hand on the press ]

She’s a commoner. She’s an outrageous social climber. She’s not outgoing enough. Her mum is an air hostess who uses the word ‘toilet’.

The public watchdog will be onto Kate 24/7, so when she slips on that tiara come 29 April she will damn well have to make sure it’s a pretty one. But not too pretty. That would be exhibitionist.

This scrutiny will grow existentially and extend to all aspects of her life. Did you know the Middleton family can only trace their roots back to the mid 1500s? So what were they up to in 1413 then? They must be hiding something.

5. Play Monopoly

In 2008, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, said that the Royal Family was not allowed to play Monopoly at home “because it gets too vicious”. No member of the family has yet revealed what they play in its place during the Christmas holidays.

6. Say or do anything controversial

This includes accepting large amounts of money from ‘businessmen’ for access to your husband and getting your toes sucked in public by your financial adviser. You know who you are, Fergs.

But it also encompasses Kate’s expression of her preferred political position, social position, sexual position – basically anything within the realms of personality.

So far she has succeeded seamlessly in this, not putting a foot wrong in any situation. Granted though, the world has only heard her speak once after her and William’s engagement and that was a heavily rehearsed affair.

7. Eat shellfish

British Royals are apparently never served shellfish, because of a fear of food poisoning. So if Kate can’t live without crustaceans, she will have to seek them out in her own time.

[ Photos: Odd foods inspired by royal wedding mania ]

8. Work

It is well known that Royals and careers don’t mix well. As proven when Prince Charles’ plan to work part time in a factory failed and Countess Sophie Wessex was forced to abandon her PR firm.

In Kate’s case though, the whole unemployment scenario shouldn’t be too difficult to handle. At 29 years of age she is the oldest spinster ever to marry a future king, and though she has a History of Art degree and years of life experience, Kate has spurned work wherever possible.

This is unless you count seven months as a casual accessories buyer for clothing chain Jigsaw and a short time working for the family company, Party Pieces.

Pinned by some as the unemployed woman marrying into a welfare family, we’re reckoning the guys at Buckingham will keep her busy by sending her to lots of boat launches and pancake flipping gigs.

9. Sign anything unofficial

As a potential future counsellor of state if William becomes king, Kate might at some stage have to sign government papers and brings legislation into force in her husband’s place.

People in this position are strictly not supposed to sign anything that could lead to their signature being copied and forged.

Last year Prince Harry was in hot water when he flouted this rule by signing the plaster cast of a girl who had fractured her arm, a media report said.

The 17-year-old from Leicestershire was so excited she said her cast would be “going in a glass box”, which the Queen might not have been too happy about.

10 Finish her dinner

If she is a slower eater than her grandmother-in-law, Kate could go hungry. In Britain, when the Queen stops eating, you stop as well, fork in hand.

Princess Diana’s spare wedding dress

http://royalwedding.yahoo.com/blogs/princess-diana%E2%80%99s-spare-wedding-dress-2380

Princess Diana’s wedding gown is perhaps one of the most famous dresses in history, but there was actually an alternate dress made that she could have worn down the aisle. Designers Elizabeth and David Emmanuel have unveiled this dress for the first time amidst the hype of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s upcoming nuptials.

“At the time we wanted to make absolutely sure that the dress was a surprise,” Elizabeth Emmanuel told People. She created both gowns with her husband David. “Had the secret of the real dress got out it’s possible that Diana would actually have worn this one.” They also wanted a backup dress in case of a fashion emergency. “We wanted to make sure that we had something there; it was for our own peace of mind, really,” said Emmanuel. “We didn’t try it on Diana. We never even discussed it.”

[ Flashback photos: More images from Princess Diana’s wedding day ]

The original gown Diana wore was crafted out of 275 yards of silk taffeta, tulle, and netting, and was covered in antique lace and 10,000 hand-embroidered pearls and mother-of-pearl sequins. It featured a boned bodice and a staggering 25-foot silk train that followed her down the aisle of St. Paul’s Cathedral. The backup gown was also ivory silk taffeta with similar ruffles around the neck, but there was no lace. As Diana’s wedding date approached, the spare dress was never fully completed.

Kate Middleton has expressed that she wants her wedding dress to remain a surprise until her April 29 wedding, but Princess Diana’s dress designer was announced ahead of time. This created a lot of stress and chaos surrounding the designers, who enlisted two full-time security guards and even discarded unrelated bridal materials to throw off snooping journalists. So while the world speculates about which dress Middleton will wear, Emmanuel understands why everyone is keeping the design under wraps. “They’re keeping quiet on the designer this time, probably to avoid all the hassle that we had,” Emmanuel told People. “It was really difficult and we didn’t have to contend with cameras in phones etc like you have today. How do you keep something secret like that? I have no idea.”

With all the hype and fanfare still surrounding Diana’s wedding dress (it is currently on a world tour), would you believe there is yet a third gown in existence? Only this one wasn’t made for the princess—it was made for a wax figure! The silk taffeta replica of Diana’s wedding gown was on exhibit at Madame Tussaud’s waxworks museum following her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981. It lacked the fancy lace and had a train one-third the length. The museum auctioned off the replica for $175,000 in 2005 to an anonymous private buyer.

[ Photos: Royal wedding dresses through the years ]

Despite confusion, dress designers Elizabeth and David Emmanuel said the replica dress was made specifically for the museum and Diana never actually wore it. “Diana never tried the dress on, it was never a backup dress,” Elizabeth Emmanuel said at the time. Nevertheless, auctioneer Cooper Owen had said the dress was very important. “It’s a dress that Diana personally said she wanted the world to see. She asked that a replica be made.”

Want to see Diana’s real wedding dress in person? Head to Kansas City’s Union Station for the Diana exhibit from now until June 12 to see the dress displayed as part of a 150 piece personal collection of the late Princess.

See more photos of the backup wedding dress at Rex USA.

For the best of Yahoo!’s coverage, visit the royal wedding home page.

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