50 Things You Should Know About the Royal Wedding
by Kim Potts, posted Apr 25th 2011 12:00PM
You might have heard ... there's this little wedding happening on April 29 ... some dude named Bill is marrying some girl named Katie. Oh, OK, we're talking about the wedding of the century, of course, the royal wedding, in which the future king of England, Prince William, will marry his college sweetheart, Kate Middleton.
The much-ballyhooed nuptials have been a media obsession for months, but in the interest of giving you all the wedding scoop you need in one handy place, here's our primer -- the who, the when, the where, the how, the why and the swag -- on all things royal wedding-related.
1. The royal wedding, marrying His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales, K.G., 28, and Miss Catherine Middleton, 29, takes place on Friday, April 29, at 6AM ET, at Westminster Abbey in London.
2. Other royal weddings that took place at Westminster Abbey: William's uncle, Prince Andrew, to Sarah Ferguson, in 1986, and William's aunt, Princess Anne, to Mark Phillips in 1973. Both those marriages ended in divorce. On the other hand, William's grandparents, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, were also married there in 1947.
3. Westminster Abbey is also the burial site of Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, Lord Alfred Tennyson, Rudyard Kipling and Laurence Olivier.
4. Instead of arriving via carriage, the bride and her father, Michael Middleton, will arrive in a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI. It will be the first time the public gets a look at her much-talked-about wedding gown.
5. About that gown: The designer and look of Middleton's gown remains one of the biggest mysteries surrounding the day. Rumors have persisted that she may have designed it herself; that she commissioned one to look like Grace Kelly's royal wedding dress; and that designers from Sarah Burton to Bruce Oldfield have made the historic gown.
6. Prince William, meanwhile, will wear a military uniform for the service, and, famously, has already said he will not wear a wedding ring.
7. Six hairdressers will help fashion the royal 'do for Kate on the morning of her wedding. And, spoiler alert, her main hairdresser says she's skipping the updo, and that her locks will be "100 percent ... down and flowy."
8. Wills and Kate will be married by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Douglas Williams, and the service will be played via audio speakers along the procession route lined with as many as a million royal well wishers.
9. It will take Kate Middleton approximately four minutes to walk down the aisle in Westminster Abbey.
10. If you feel compelled to send William and Kate a gift to commemorate their big day, skip the toaster and candlesticks. The couple asks that you instead funnel a donation to the Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton Charitable Gift Fund, a special charity they've established that will forward the donations to charities involving children, support for armed services personnel and wildlife conservation, among others.
11. TV isn't the only place to watch the wedding. YouTube will live stream the event (5AM ET), and you can upload a congratulations video for the happy couple as part of YouTube's virtual wedding book.
12. E! Online is also offering a live viewing party. If you RSVP to the wedding at E! Online's Facebook page, you can make comments during the event and even stream the coverage live on your own Facebook page.
13. Who's on the wedding guest list? Elton John, David and Victoria Beckham, Rowan "Mr. Bean" Atkinson, Guy Ritchie and singer Joss Stone. Barack and Michelle Obama did not receive invites.
14. Also among the guests at the wedding: Six William and Kate exes, two of hers and four of his.
15. Prince William also invited a formerly homeless young woman who'd been helped by a charity Princess Diana had established, as well as all 27 members of his Royal Air Force unit.
16. William's former aunt, Sarah Ferguson, was not invited to the wedding, though her daughters, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, will be in attendance with their father, Prince Andrew.
17. The Best Man: William's 26-year-old brother Harry. The Maid of Honor: Kate's 27-year-old sister Pippa.
18. After the ceremony, shortly after 7AM ET, William and Kate will return to Buckingham Palace, via a horse-drawn carriage, the same 1902 State Landau carriage that Prince Charles and Princess Diana rode in after their 1981 wedding. When they arrive after the 15-minute trip, they'll be greeted by the queen and a champagne reception.
19. At 8:25AM ET, the couple and their families are expected to appear in public on a balcony at Buckingham Palace, where the newlyweds will share a kiss (rumor has it they've been practicing the historical buss).
20. At 8:30AM, the Royal Air Force flies over the Palace as a nod to the couple.
21. At 8:35AM, a reception for 600 people at Buckingham Palace includes more than 150 kinds of hors d'oeuvres, and the official cutting of the royal wedding cake, a fruitcake created by London baker Fiona Cairns. Prince William also requested a second cake, made of McVitie's tea biscuits and chocolate.
22. Need snacks for your viewing party? TLC's 'DC Cupcakes' stars, the women who run Georgetown Cupcake, are selling a $39.95 Royal Dozen Cupcake package, a dozen cupcakes in flavors like Lava Fudge, Red Velvet and Vanilla Birthday, including one treat adorned with an edible version of Kate's sapphire engagement ring.
23. The Ring Pop folks are also making a special treat to commemorate the nuptials: The Royal Wedding Ring Pop lollipop, and emerald blue sweet treat that's also made to look like Middleton's ring. The catch: You can't eat the $50 ring, because the lolly part is surrounded by Swarovski crystals. You can win one of the collectibles, though, as Ring Pop is giving away 10 of them next week on the company's Facebook page.
24. The iconic engagement ring William gave Kate was his mother's engagement ring from Prince Charles. The 18 carat sapphire piece is surrounded by 14 smaller diamonds, and was handpicked by Diana herself after she accepted Prince Charles' proposal. "It's very special to me," William said of the Garrard Jewellers ring. "It's my way of making sure my mother didn't miss out on today and the excitement and the fact we are going to spend the rest of our lives together."
25. Later in the evening, father of the groom Prince Charles hosts a reception for the bride and groom and 300 of their closest friends and family members.
26. Brother of the groom, Prince Harry, reportedly invited his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, to the wedding and evening reception.
27. Wanna stage your own royal wedding? The book 'Knit Your Own Royal Wedding' provides instructions on making yarn versions of all the parties involved so you can do that very thing.
28. The London Eye, the 443-foot-tall Ferris wheel near the River Thames, will be decorated with Union Jack bunting on the day of the wedding. During the week after the wedding, couples named William and Kate, or any derivation thereof, can ride the Eye for free.
29. The locale for the honeymoon remains one of the big secrets surrounding the royal wedding.
30. A soundtrack of the wedding will be released on iTunes the day of the wedding, with proceeds going to The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry, a charity organization.
31. The official wedding program, which includes a never-before-seen photo of William and Kate, will be sold on the day of the wedding, with proceeds also going to William and Harry's foundation. Or, you can download it for free on April 28 at the official royal wedding website.
32. There is also an official royal wedding Facebook page, Flickr photostream and Twitter account.
33. He'll still be Prince William (until he becomes King, of course), but it's not automatic that Kate will become Princess Catherine. Though William has requested that Princess Catherine be her title, only Queen Elizabeth can make the call, and Kate's official title will be announced the day of the wedding.
34. What's more British than tea? How 'bout William and Kate teabags?
35. So, who's footing the bill for this royal shindig? It is, pun intended, a princely sum, despite the fact that William and Kate wanted the event to be more low-key, in deference to their country's economic woes. The day's activities, including the intricate security detail, are rumored to cost more than $30 million, according to RetailMeNot.com. British taxpayers shell out the payment for the security, Prince Charles is hosting (i.e. paying for) the evening reception, the bride's 'rents -- Carole and Michael Middleton -- reportedly paid more than $100,000 for Kate's gown, her bridesmaids' dresses, their own wedding outfits and hotel stays, and Queen Elizabeth will write a very fat check for the rest of her grandson's wedding.
36. That aforementioned wedding fruitcake? RetailMeNot.com sets its price tag at $80,000, or $134 per slice. That's a lot of Entenmann's.
37. Flowers for the big day: $800,000 according to RetailMeNot.com, which would buy 160,000 bouquets at our corner deli in NYC. On the upside, at least the ring was already paid for.
38. Oh, and no one gets a shot at catching the very expensive bridal bouquet, either. The bride won't be doing the traditional bridal bouquet toss, because at Westminster Abbey, the tradition is for the bride to place her flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, a grave embedded in the church floor in 1920 to pay homage to anonymous soldiers killed during battle.
39. As for the Middletons' share of the wedding cost, don't feel too bad for them: They own a lucrative party supply business, Party Pieces, in England. In fact, they even offer a line of British-themed party supplies that would be perfect for -- you guessed it -- a royal wedding viewing party.
40. And even at $30 million, William and Kate's wedding is far from the priciest royal wedding ever. Prince Charles and Diana's 1981 wedding, adjusted for today's dollars, cost $70 million, while the 1981 marriage of Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to Princess Salama cost $100 million in today's dollars (and included a 20,000-seat stadium the groom's parents had built just for the wedding festivities).
41. When did the royal couple meet? During their freshman year at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland in 2001. They lived in the same dorm and were friends before becoming a couple at the end of the school year. They broke up for a brief few months in 2007, but quickly reunited and officially announced their engagement on Nov. 16, 2010, though William had privately proposed in a cabin in Kenya a month earlier.
42. She got the last laugh, but the Butter nail polish folks are still having a bit of fun with a special royal wedding nail polish called No More Waity, Katie, a nod to Kate Middleton's patience in getting to her fairy tale ending. The glittery lilac polish is $14, and also has a matching No More Waity, Katie Lippy gloss.
43. Royal wedding trading cards? Check, $19.97 from Topps, the baseball card dudes. Hey, we'll trade you two Prince Andrews for a Queen Elizabeth.
44. William's description of the couple's state while preparing for the wedding: "We're sort of like ducks: very calm on the surface, with little feet going under the water. We are hugely excited and we are looking forward to spending the rest of our times, the rest of our lives, together and seeing what the future holds!"
45. It's estimated that more than 7,000 journalists and photographers will descend upon London just to cover the wedding.
46. Kate and William are actually already related: They're 12th cousins, once removed.
47. If things get slow during the actual royal wedding, check out T-Mobile's royal wedding spoof for a take on how the very stuffy affair could have been a lot more fun.
48. TV coverage of the wedding begins super early, meaning we'll need a breakfast fit for a king, or in this case, future king: A bowl of Wills' Royal Os or Special Kate's, two limited edition cereals created just for the wedding. Only 1,000 boxes of each will be sold, and, as of today, Special Kate's are selling slightly more than Wills' Royal Os.
49. Remember Princess Diana's famous flub during her wedding ceremony, calling Prince Charles "Philip Charles Arthur George" instead of "Charles Philip Arthur George" while taking her vows? Kate also has a lengthy name to remember for William: William Arthur Philip Louis.
50. Finally, if you're already so sick of all the royal wedding hubbub that you could hurl, there's a souvenir just for you: The Royal Wedding Sick Bag. For realsies.