All set for fairytale wedding

All set for fairytale wedding

Royal tryst: A record 2 billion television audience waits for the spectacle to unfold

Move on: Prince William’s fiancee Kate Middleton (left) leaves the Westminster Abbey with her mother Carole and Prince Harry (centre), en route to Clarence House in London on Thursday. Harry will be the best man.  Reuters

Planned and choreographed to the last second, Britain is known for organising such royal spectacles better than any other country. It is a national holiday in Britain, and it is clearly party-time for many people, momentarily setting aside the effects of economic downturn.

The pomp, pageantry and history associated with the royal family have attracted millions from far and wide, including from Britain’s former colonies such as India.

Fans of the royal family have poured into London to occupy every available inch along the wedding procession route, outside the Abbey and the Buckingham Palace. For many among them, this is their third royal wedding, having camped on the route during the wedding of Queen Elizabeth in 1947, and Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s in 1981.

A media village has sprung up near the palace with all the world’s major news broadcasters setting up temporary studios. Those who cannot make it to London will celebrate in street parties, another quintessentially British tradition, across the country.

The parties will include Bollywood-style dancing to bhangra music in places such as Southall, where members of the Kate Middleton family lived years ago.  It was Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding on 29 July 1981 that set the record for the most watched royal wedding on television. That day, the global audience was estimated to be 750 million.

The record is all set to be broken due to the exponential growth of media across the globe since that heady day when Prince Charles and Lady Diana kissed on the balcony of the Buckingham Palace to the delight of many. Media experts believe that in a more intensely mediatised world since 1981, thanks to viral social media such as Twitter and Facebook, the audience for today’s event is likely to touch nearly 2 billion – one-thirds of humanity.

Kate picks modern vow

Kate Middleton has chosen to follow Lady Diana’s modern example and decided not to use the word ‘obey’ in the marriage vow conducted according to Church of England stipulations. Brides can choose either of two vows, one with the word ‘obey’ and the other without the word.

In a message on the eve of their wedding, Prince William and Kate said: “We are both so delighted that you are able to join us in celebrating what we hope will be one of the happiest days of our lives ...The affection shown to us by so many people during our engagement has been incredibly moving, and has touched us both deeply. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone most sincerely for their kindness.”

The build-up to the wedding has been controversial, particularly the guest list. There is much criticism of the decision not to invite former prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, even as the Foreign Office withdrew the invitation to Syrian ambassador Dr Sami Khiyami, in view of the attacks on civilians in Syria this week.

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