Westminister Abbey, the Setting of a Royal Wedding
With a history going back more than a thousand years, Westminster Abbey was already the burial site of King Edward, last of the Anglo Saxon kings, when William the Conqueror chose it for his coronation in 1066. English monarchs have been crowned here ever since. Edward, later Edward the Confessor, was made a saint in the 11th century. The shrine of this medieval saint, consecrated in the presence of King Henry II and Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury remains at the center of the Abbey.
Visiting the Abbey for the wedding - Westminster Abbey will be closed from April 27, through April 29, but will open again the day after the Royal Wedding. So, to have a look around and share the excitement, visit to see the preparations on April 26 or watch the Abbey get back to normal on April 30.
- Read more about Westminster Abbey
- Learn about other Royal Weddings at Westminster Abbey
- Watch a video from Westminster Abbey
The Wedding Schedule and the Route - Plan Your Day
Sometime between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., Kate Middleton will leave one of the Royal residences - either Buckingham Palace itself, Clarence House nearby or St. James's Palace, enroute to Westminister Abbey. Breaking with tradition, she'll travel by car. Prince William will travel separately along pretty much the same route, which will take them along the Mall, through Horse Guards Parade to Whitehall and on around Parliament Square to Westminister Cathedral.
The route is a little over one mile and, unlike ordinary brides and grooms, Kate and William are unlikely to run into traffic. So if you are watching for them before the wedding, it may be a case of blink and you'll miss them.
The wedding will begin at 11 a.m. Following the ceremony, the couple, this time in a Royal coach, will lead a procession back along the same route to Buckingham Palace, where the Queen will host a reception for about 600 guests. This will be your chance to see some pomp and ceremony, waving royals and the bride's diamond tiara. And of course, that all important kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Later that evening, Prince Charles will host a dinner dance for the couple at Clarence House.
- See a map of the Royal Wedding route
- Watch the Telegraph's video of the route in 42 seconds
- Learn about the historic landmarks along the route
Celebrity and Royal SpottingThough the wedding isn't a show business do, Kate and Wills are a modern couple and number quite a few musicians and celebrities among their friends. International Royals will also be attending. No official guest list has been published, but there are some good guesses here:
Barring a tube strike, the best way to get to the Royal Wedding will be by London Underground and on foot. In fact this will be the only way to get there because a huge area has been closed to motor vehicle traffic all day until 11p.m. Street closures extend from Lambeth Bridge to Waterloo Bridge and from Victoria Embankment and to the Strand and Piccadilly.
Stations within an easy walk of the Royal Wedding and procession include:
- Hyde Park Corner
- Green Park
- Piccadilly Circus
- Leicester Square
- Covent Garden
- Charing Cross
Victoria, Charing Cross and the lesser known Pimlico are likely better bets than station's closer to the procession route. Avoid Westminister Station if you can because it will be a zoo.
Where to Watch
People will be crammed twenty deep along most of the route and will have claimed the prime spots along the Mall and close to Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace days in advance. If you are determined to get out to take part in the festive atmosphere, keep in mind that, unless you too are prepared to camp out on the streets for days, you won't really see much of the bride and groom.
Honestly, the best place to watch the Royal Wedding will be in front of a television at home or in your hotel room. The television cameras always get the best, front row seats.
Take a TourIf you are really taken with the romance of it all, you could take a Royal Wedding tour.
- The Royal Wedding Walking Tour is a 2 1/2 hour stroll around all the hot spots in Kate and William's courtship and London life. Besides all the usual stuff (the palaces, Westminster Abbey)the tour visits lesser known spots like Garrards, the jeweler who supplied the Royal engagement ring, and Mahiki, the London nightclub favored by royals and celebs. The expert guide has loads of gossip and stories to share.Book this tour
- The Kate Middleton Country coach tour - Morton's Travel, an enterprising Berkshire coach company, has scoped out all the key sites of Kate's growing up years around Bucklesbury. The tour includes a ride around Royal Berkshire, a quick lunch and a drive past "houses where she has lived, her schools, the church in which she was christened and the beautiful countryside in which she grew up."
Tweeping up with the actionConfirmed tweeters and other royal watchers who are attached to their electronic devices will be able to keep up with all the commentary and chat online and on their smart phones. Here are some key links:
- Royal Wedding official website
- BBC Royal Wedding website
- The Prince of Wales website
- Westminster Abbey Royal Wedding Updates
- Westminster Abbey
- Clarence House (official office of Prince Charles, and Princes William and Harry) -
- Royal Wedding, unofficial tweets
- Royals_Wed, unofficial tweets
- Royal Wedding Blog, unofficial tweets.