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Palace asks guests to arrive early

2011-04-08 11:31
London - Kate Middleton has been waiting almost a decade to marry Prince William, so asking the couple's guests to arrive two and a half hours before the wedding ceremony should not be too much to ask.

Palace officials outlined on Thursday how the April 29 event would proceed, revealing that most of the 1 900 guests to the wedding at Westminster Abbey have been asked to arrive at 08:30, two and a half hours before the bride.

This includes William and Kate's friends, the butcher and the owner of the pub in the bride's local village, as well as representatives of charities that the prince supports.

Foreign dignitaries and royals need not take their seats until 10:00, followed by the British royal family, who will arrive just before Kate drives up in a Rolls-Royce accompanied by her father Michael.

Celebratory flypast

The service will run from 11:00 to 12:15, at which point the newlyweds will take a carriage to Buckingham Palace and step out onto the balcony to wave at what are expected to be heaving crowds below.

Palace officials refused to say whether William and Kate will kiss at this point, a tradition that began in 1981 with William's parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

They will be treated to a celebratory flypast by aircraft from the Battle of Britain, when British planes fought off the Nazis in 1940, before heading into a reception attended by 600 guests and hosted by Queen Elizabeth II.

Giant screens

After that, the schedule is more fluid.

William and Kate, who met at university in 2001, will be given a short time in the afternoon to catch their breath, before heading into a private dinner and dancing in the evening with 300 of their friends and family.

An extra 600 000 tourists are expected to flock to London for the event, according to Visit London, the capital's tourism body, on top of the normal 500 000 who visit each day.

Many are expected to line the wedding procession route but the event will also be broadcast live on two giant screens in London's Hyde Park and Trafalgar Square for those who fail to get a good vantage point.

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