Traditional Nuptials: Bond of the Royals

Last Updated: Apr 27, 2011, 13:37 PM IST

Bikas Bhagat

The wedding ceremony of Prince William and Kate Middleton will be an unforgettable affair, which will be remembered for years to come.

Hollywood flick ‘Four Wedding and a Funeral’ starring Hugh Grant and Andie Mac Dowell would sure give you a fair idea about the British wedding, but when it’s the case of a ‘Royal’ British wedding, one gets inimitably curious to witness the actual traditions and customs that the royalty follows.

So, here’s taking you to a ride down the royal life and its wedding which the whole world awaits…

First things first – The Proposal

Tradition has it that Prince William has to ask Queen Elizabeth’s permission before proposing Kate. The Royal Marriages Act of 1772 requires all descendants to ask for the sovereign ruler’s approval for the marriage. The British law prohibits royals from marrying Catholics. Hence, if Kate Middleton were Catholic, William would have to choose either the throne or his love!

But, the moment Will and Kate`s engagement was announced, the Buckingham Palace officials said the Queen was "absolutely delighted" for the couple, which only meant she completely approved William`s choice.

Wedding Ring

At the royal wedding between Kate Middleton and Prince William, the bride Kate Middleton will wear a ring which would be made of a piece of Welsh gold. The tradition was started by Queen Elizabeth II’s mother in 1923. The wedding rings of Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, the Princess Royal, and Diana, Princess of Wales were all made with the same component of Welsh gold.

Bachelor Parties

In UK, the royals have this tradition to celebrate the bachelor’s soon to be lost status over an entire weekend. With scare details, Will`s office confirmed that the Prince`s party took place in late March (about a month before the wedding). Hosted by his brother, Prince Harry, at a country estate, the party included Will`s close friends James Meade, Thomas van Straubenzee, and Guy Pelly.

Royal Marriage Site

Though the traditional location for any royal ceremony has remained the Chapel Royal at St. James Palace, more recent royal couples have outgrown the small chapel, which seats only 100 people and the ceremonies have become more of a gala affair. For her 1919 ceremony, Princess Patricia of Connaught brought Westminster Abbey (left) back into vogue for royal weddings for the first time in 605 years. So, the royal marriage of Kate Middleton and Prince William is set to take place in Westminster Abbey as well.

The Wedding Ceremony

Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding ceremony will be divided between three officiates: the Dean of Westminster conducting the service, the Archbishop of Canterbury presiding over the vows, and the Bishop of London giving the address. Normally, English brides are accompanied by a group of bridesmaids, usually younger girls between the ages of 10 and 12. The Queen had eight bridesmaids, and Diana had five, ranging from 5 to 17 years. Kate`s bridal party will be even younger, with Grace van Cutsem (Will`s goddaughter) and Eliza Lopes (Camilla`s granddaughter) both toddling down the aisle at age 3. In a major break with tradition, Kate has chosen a maid of honor, her sister Pippa, who will be the oldest main bridesmaid in recent memory at the ancient age of 27!

Bouquet

When Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840, she carried myrtle—known as the herb of love—in her bouquet. After the wedding, Victoria planted a myrtle shrub in her garden at the Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. Every British royal bride since has carried a bouquet containing a sprig plucked from the same shrub. In an act of love to honor the armed forces, Kate will leave her bouquet in Westminster Abbey at the grave of the Unknown Warrior, a tradition begun by the late Princess Diana.

Reception

Most British weddings are held at noon and are followed by a seated luncheon called a "wedding breakfast" (a brunch, basically). This royal wedding reception will include two cakes: one fruit (the traditional royal wedding choice) and one chocolate (at the request of Will).

Honeymoon

Post the royal exchange of vows, the couple will appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony to share a public kiss, a tradition begun by Charles and Diana. Usually, the royal couple then jets off to a honeymoon destination, but Kate and Will plan to stick around for a private dinner and night of dancing at the Palace hosted by the Prince of Wales.

Royal Titles

In the nuptials, royals often receive a new title. Hence, if William becomes the Prince of Wales (traditional title to heir throne), Middleton, as his wife, would be Princess of Wales.