WHAT WILL THE MEN WEAR?
Normally at such weddings the men in the House of Windsor don full-dress uniform. Since Prince William is in the Royal Air Force, expect him to wear its uniform, complete with the riband and star of the Order of the Garter. In 1981 Prince Charles was in naval uniform, as was his father, the Duke of Edinburgh. Earl Spencer wanted to have a Royal Scots Greys uniform made for the day—he could not fit into his old one—though Diana said she did not want him in uniform. Earl Spencer appealed directly to the Queen, who said, “We must defer to Diana.” (He wore a gray morning suit.)
WHO’S THE BEST MAN?
Up to now it has been a tradition in the House of Windsor for the groom to have two “supporters”—the royal equivalent of best men acting together. But Prince William only has one brother, and so has chosen Prince Harry to be his sole best man.
WILL WE BE ABLE TO SPOT THE REGIMENTAL BRUSHER-DOWN?
In 1981 Sir John Johnston, Comptroller of the Lord Chamberlain’s Office, had a man waiting in a side chapel to attend to any uniforms that did not pass muster. Prince Andrew (one of Prince Charles’s supporters) arrived looking as though he had been rolling on the floor with a Labrador. He was taken aside and brushed down.
WHO SITS WHERE?
The Queen and the royal family always sit on the right-hand side of the Abbey (as you face the altar), regardless of whether the royal being married is the bride or the groom; correspondingly, the Middleton family will be on the left. Look for the bride to execute an elegant curtsy to her soon-to-be grandmother-in-law.
WILL THE ROYAL FAMILY ENTER IN A PROCESSION OR MERELY AMBLE UP
The former is more dignified and theatrical but will likely be jettisoned in favor of the more informal approach that William and Kate seem to be favoring. At Charles and Diana’s wedding, the Comptroller of the Lord Chamberlain’s Office wanted a gap between the ecclesiastical procession and the bride’s procession for effect, and virtually had to restrain Earl Spencer from heading up the aisle with his daughter, saying, “I’ll tell you when to move.” To this Diana replied, “Listen, you’ve been telling me that for the last four months. What you haven’t told me is, how do I look?” The Comptroller recovered quickly. “I’m so sorry,” he said. “You look wonderful! Off!” And off she went, for better or worse.
WHO’S DOING THE HONORS?
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, will marry the royal couple, though he won’t be giving the sermon—a responsibility handled by Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, a close friend of Prince Charles and his family.