With just two days left before the world will be treated to the pomp and pageantry of the ancient ritual of horse-drawn carriages, glass couches and muffled guns on the royal wedding, here are few of the "surprises" and royal practices we will surely witness on the ceremony.
Diana on the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral in 1981 oh her way to the aisle for a long walk. Her 25 foot long train was taken care by her young bride's maids, one of them was a granddaughter of Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
It is part of the tradition of royalty not to let the groom see the wedding gown before the bride will glide down-the-aisle on the wedding day, so the wedding dress Kate Middleton will wear on Friday, the 29th of April ,remained locked up in the secret room of Prince Charles's residence, Clarence House, to keep it from the eyes of the public and, well, Prince William. But while the people in London and those who will watch the live coverage on their television set, will catch the glimpse of the gown right after Kate will step out from Goring Hotel to the waiting Rolls Royce, Prince William will not see it until he faces her on the altar, therefore, he is the last person to see the dress. William is expected to arrive, with Prince Harry, by 10:30 at the Abbey then go ahead walking on the aisle.
On a typical wedding march, the groom and his best man would stand below the altar while watching the bride do her slowly walk. But based on the 1981 wedding of Charles and Diana, this is not the case. Prince William and his brother will customarily go to a private chapel of the church near the altar before his bride-to-be takes her walk. He and his brother will only come out and walk near the altar when the bride and her father will start a march.
The Prince and Princess of Wales after their wedding at St. Paul's Cathedral in July 29, 1981, appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. The Princess of Wales wore a stunning Diamond Spencer Tiara.
It is customarily for royal brides to wear a Tiara on the wedding day. The Queen herself wore a diamond-and-pearl piece on her wedding to the Duke of Edinburgh in 1947 given to her as a wedding present from grandmother, Queen Mary. The Queen's late mother, Queen Elizabeth and Lady Diana Spencer, because they are children of wealthy British Earls, wore a family heirloom Tiara. The Queen Mother--a dainty floral design, Strathmore Rose Tiara---while Lady Diana---a sparling Diamond studded Spencer Tiara. Though Hello!magazine's voters picked up this tiara to be most likely seen on Miss Middleton's head on April 29, it is less known if it will really happen as the Tiara is now under the care of Diana's brother, Earl Spencer. When Sarah Ferguson married the second son of the Queen, Prince Andrew, in 1986, she did not wear a tiara from the royal collection, instead, the Queen purchased a brand new tiara from the crown's jewellers, Garrad, as the royal family's gift to the couple. Whether Kate Middleton will wear a tiara from the royal collection or don something new, remains to be seen.
Princess Margaret's wedding in May 1960. The bride wore a Poltimore Tiara, a gift from her grandmother, Queen Mary. In 1986, the tiara was sold to a whopping $1.5 million. Queen Elizabeth II is the first British monarch in 200 years to accept a commoner to her direct family, her only sister took Anthony Armstrong-Jones, a royal court photographer, as her husband after denouncing Group Captain Peter Townsend due to pressure from her position and duty to the realms. In this picture, the couple, is surrounded by the cute little bridesmaids. Prince Charles, who was only 13 years old during the wedding, stood as a pageboy wearing a Tartan garb (because at that time he was already a Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay). Princess Margaret was accompanied by her brother-in-law, Prince Philip, to the altar.
In ordinary weddings, we mostly seen Bride's maids and Groom's men considerably older or same age as the bride and groom, but in royal weddings, attendants are usually younger, aged 3 to 12. Kate's bridesmaids are aged 3 to 8 including Prince William's cousins The Lady Louise Windsor, 7 years old, and The Honourable Margarita Armstrong-Jones, 8 years old. Royal bridesmaids will wear the same pattern and color of dress of the bride while the groom's men known as the page boys sometimes wear a sailor suit, just like the one wore by Prince William himself on the wedding of his uncle, Prince Andrew, in 1986.
In an ordinary wedding, the wedding ring will be carried by a young page boy to the altar, but traditionally, wedding ring and coins are to be taken care of by the Best Man, so Prince Harry take this responsibility. In earlier reports, Buckingham Palace's spokesman had already declared that the Prince would not wear a wedding ring following his marriage. So we will only see one ring in the ceremony.
There's no extended wedding march in the Anglican rites. Prince William will be with Prince Harry only while the bride will be ushered to the altar by her father only. Young Bridesmaids will follow the bride to take care her long train (reportedly 10 feet long--slightly shorter than Diana's train in 1981 which was measured 25 feet long).
AT THE ALTAR
The couple won't sit! Yes, and this is very certain. They will just stand in front of the Archbishop of Canterbury who will officiate the marriage. The church service will be conducted by the Dean of Westminster.
Tomb of the Unknown Warrior on the floor of Westminster Abbey where bridal bouquets of past royal brides (married at Westminster) were laid upon.
Following the royal tradition set by Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1923 of laying the bridal bouquet on the Tomb of Unknown Warrior inside the Abbey, Prince William's future bride will lay her bouquet also on the tomb to honour the military where Prince William is a current member. The unknown soldier was buried here when he was brought home from France during World War I unidentified. The Tomb was created in 1920. Since 1923 every royal bride married in the Abbey laid her bouquet on the Tomb.
PRINCE WILLIAM'S SURNAME
Traditionally, Princes and Kings don't have any surnames, they are just known by their royal houses and countries of origin. Prince William himself, just like his brother, is using the geographical title of his father, WALES, while studying and even in his present rank in the British Armed Forces. So the question is, because marriage registry needs a surname entry, what is the surname of Prince William? Before 1917, British royals have no surnames and only carry the name of the royal house they belonged or the geographical title of their fathers. But in 1917, due to bitter anti-German sentiments (where every German living in England was accused of being a German spy) King George V (who descended from a German royal house, Saxe Coburg-Gotha) declared that all his descendants must be known henceforth as House and Family of Windsor, using it as a surname officially by his family. In 1960, Queen Elizabeth II declared also that she will continue using the surname but made it clear that all her descendants, other than carrying the titular dignity of a Prince of Princess, who need to have a surname will use Mountbatten-Windsor to honour her husband.
The Queen's husband is Prince Philip, a former Greek Prince (grandson of King George I of Greece) therefore no surname at all, but before their marriage in 1947 he was told to abandon his Greek royal status to be more acceptable to the British public, so the Prince obliged and took a family name Mountbatten. The name was adopted by his maternal grandfather, Prince Louis of Battenberg, the former Sea Lord of England, when he was forced to relinquish his princely title in 1917 at the height of World War I, he was created by his cousin, George V, as the First Marquess of Milford-Haven. The Battenbergs and the Windsors are of German origin, berg in Germany means Mountain, hence the name Mountbatten.
This surname, Mountbatten-Windsor, was first seen on the marriage registry of Princess Anne (the Queen's only daughter) in 1973, it was followed by his brothers when they got married. Now, it's Prince William's turn to use this surname on his marriage entry at the Abbey.