Pomp and Circumstance: Conducting A Royal Affair

God is in the details.

By , Contributor

Any wedding requires attention to detail, but perhaps none more so than one that is under intense public scrutiny and subject to standards of history and protocol. The preparations that culminate with Friday's wedding have been intense, undertaken by a small army of professionals, members of the Palace staff, and others, because pomp and circumstance don't just happen.

Flowers are an important part of any wedding, and according to the official royal wedding site, the engaged couple have asked London-based floral designer Shane Connolly to design the floral decorations which will be on display at both Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace (Mr. Connolly also designed the floral decorations for the marriage of Prince Charles to Camilla). When she enters Westminster Abbey, Kate is going to walk down an aisle of trees - two hornbeams and six English field maples - which will be potted in planters that have been handcrafted at Prince Charles's estate, Highgrove. The Abbey, which dates back to 1066, has been the site of 15 royal weddings, beginning with that of Henry I in 1100.
abbey-nave.jpgConnolly's approach to his work revolves around sustainability and the importance of native flora, both of which appeal to the couple's own sensibilities. After the ceremony, the Abbey decorations will remain in place until May 6 so that they may be viewed by the public. After that, they will likely be re-planted at Highgrove. All of the growing plants used throughout will be donated to charity or re-planted.

Music at the ceremony will be provided by the Choir of Westminster Abbey; the Choir of Her Majesty's Chapel Royal, St James's Palace; the London Chamber Orchestra; the Fanfare Team from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force; and the State Trumpeters of The Household Cavalry.

1902-landau.jpgKate and her father will ride to the ceremony in a Rolls Royce Phantom VI, while Prince William and his best man, Prince Harry, will arrive in a Bentley. After the ceremony, the bride and bridegroom will depart for Buckingham Palace in the 1902 State Landau, an open horse-drawn carriage frequently used for royal processions, along a processional route that includes Parliament Square, Whitehall, Horse Guards Parade and The Mall. There will be four other horse-drawn carriages in the motorcade carrying the couple's immediate family, including the Queen and Prince Philip, and members of the wedding party.

During the afternoon reception at Buckingham Palace, the newlyweds will make a public appearance on the Palace balcony, where the Royal Air Force and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will salute them with a flyover.


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Apart from the royal family and other dignitaries, recognizable names on the guest list include actor Rowan Atkinson, Sir Elton John, and director Guy Ritchie. And it might interest you to know that invitations to royal weddings are sent only to crowned heads of state, which is to say members of foreign royal families; hence, President and Mrs. Obama haven't been invited. So if you're pouting about being left out, don't feel too bad. You're in very good company.


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Lisa McKay is the executive editor at The Morton Report.

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