Royal wedding: William ensures his mother`s friends invited

Last Updated: Apr 24, 2011, 18:43 PM IST

London: Prince William has ensured that close friends of his mother late Princess Diana are invited for his marriage to Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey here on Friday.

India will be represented at the wedding by the country`s High Commissioner to Britain Nalin Surie. Among the religious leaders invited for the marriage include Anil Bhanot, a founding member of the Hindu Council UK.

According to The Sunday Times, Sir Elton John, who sang at Diana`s funeral, is on the list along with Tessa Green, who used to chair the Royal Marsden foundation trust - the cancer specialist centre which had been supported by Diana.

Sir John Major, former prime minister who was appointed guardian to princes William and Harry when Diana died, and William`s friend Joss Stone, the singer who performed at the concert for Diana, are also on the list.

Diana`s family, including her brother Earl Spencer and his fiancee Karen Gordon, will sit behind the Middletons and their friends at the abbey, rather than on the royal family`s side of the aisle.

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, has not been invited.

Among the foreign royals on the guest list are the Sultan of Brunei, Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco.

King George Tupou V, the ruler of the small Pacific nation of Tonga will also attend. The rulers of Middle Eastern countries are also invited. They include Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain.

Besides Bhanot, the list of religious leaders and representatives attending includes Lord Sacks, the chief rabbi; Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O`Connor, archbishop emeritus of Westminster.

Bogoda Seelawimala, acting head monk of the London Buddhist Vihara, will be among the guests. He is the first Buddhist monk to be invited to a royal wedding in Britain.

Seelawimala has already offered some advice to the couple, recommending meditation as one of the keys to a successful marriage. "Discuss your problems and meditate together each morning," he said.

The world of sports and entertainment are well represented with a list that includes Rowan Atkinson, the comedian and friend of Prince Charles, and Guy Ritchie, the film director friend of the couple.

The sports stars include Mike Tindall, the England rugby player and fiance of Zara Phillips, William`s cousin; David Beckham, the footballer and his wife Victoria; Ian Thorpe, the Australian Olympic swimmer; Gareth Thomas, the Wales rugby player who has spoken publicly about his homosexuality; Sir Clive Woodward, the former coach of the England rugby team; and Simon Johnson, head of England`s failed 2018 World Cup bid.

Mario Testino, who took the coyuple`s engagement photographs will also attend along with Tom Bradby, the ITN journalist who carried out their engagement interview, and Ben Fogle, the television presenter.

A selection of cabient ministers and their spouses have been invited including Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Foreign Secretary William
Hague and Home Secretary MsTheresa May.

Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, will also attend.

However, former Labour Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have not been invited for the wedding.

A war veteran who suffered near-fatal injuries including 75 per cent burns during an ambush in Afghanistan will be at the royal wedding.

Martyn Compton served alongside Prince William as a lance-corporal in the Household Cavalry.

Also on the list are Susie Roberts, the widow of William`s friend Major Alexis Roberts who was killed in Afghanistan in 2007, and Holly Dyer, whose sister Joanna, a close friend of William`s at Sandhurst, was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2007.

Bryn and Emma Parry, founders of the charity Help For Heroes, and William`s colleague Sergeant Keith Best, a search and rescue winchman at RAF Valley, are invited as well.

PTI