Tag Archive: Westminster Abbey


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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Why Kate Middleton won’t toss her bouquet

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.

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