Updated: Jul 31, 2021
The wedding of Prince William & Catherine Middleton took place on 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey in London.
The groom, Prince William, was second in the line of succession to the British throne. The bride, Catherine Middleton, had been his girlfriend since 2003.
John Hall, Dean of Westminster, presided at the service; Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, conducted the marriage; Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, preached the sermon; & a reading was given by the bride's brother James. William's best man was his brother Prince Harry, while the bride's sister Pippa was the maid of honour. The ceremony was attended by the bride's & groom's families, as well as members of foreign royal families, diplomats, & the couple's chosen personal guests. After the ceremony, the couple made the traditional appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. As Prince William was not the heir apparent to the throne, the wedding was not a full state occasion & many details were left to the couple to decide, such as much of the guest list of about 1,900.
Prince William & Kate Middleton met in 2001, while they were students in residence at St Salvator's Hall at the University of St Andrews. It's been reported she caught William's attention at a charity fashion show on campus. The couple began dating in 2003. During their second year, William shared a flat with Middleton & two other friends. From 2003 to 2005, they both resided at Balgove House on the Strathtyrum estate with two roommates.
On 16 November 2010, Clarence House announced that Prince William & Catherine Middleton were to marry; the couple had become engaged in Kenya in October. The engagement ring given by William to Catherine had belonged to his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.
The occasion was a public holiday in the UK & featured many ceremonial aspects, including use of the state carriages & roles for the Foot Guards & Household Cavalry. Events were held around the Commonwealth to mark the wedding; organisations & hotels held events across Canada, over 5,000 street parties were held throughout the UK, & one million people lined the route between Westminster Abbey & Buckingham Palace. The ceremony was viewed live by tens of millions more around the world, including 72 million live streams on YouTube. In the UK, television audiences peaked at 26.3 million viewers, with a total of 36.7 million watching part of the coverage.
The Wedding Guests;
- The Grooms Family
- The Brides Family
- Foreign Royalty
The Venue: Westminster Abbey
The chosen venue was Westminster Abbey, London. Westminster Abbey, was founded in AD 960, & has a particular status & is known as a Royal Peculiar*. Although the abbey has been the traditional location for coronations since 1066, not until the 20th century did it become the church of choice for royal weddings; prior to 1918, most royal weddings took place in the royal chapels, such as the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace & St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. The abbey, which has a usual seating capacity of 2000, has been the venue for most royal weddings in the last century, including those of William's grandparents (the present Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip) in 1947, William's great-aunt Princess Margaret in 1960, William's first cousin twice removed Princess Alexandra in 1963, William's aunt Princess Anne in 1973, & William's uncle Prince Andrew in 1986. A decorative addition inside the abbey for the ceremony was an avenue of 20-foot tall trees, six field maple & two hornbeams, arranged on either side of the main aisle.
*A royal peculiar is a Church of England parish or church exempt from the jurisdiction of the diocese & the province in which it lies & subject to the direct jurisdiction of the monarch.
Best Man & Maid of Honour
The groom had a best man—his brother, Prince Harry—rather than a supporter, while the bride chose her sister, Pippa, as maid of honour. There were four bridesmaids & two page boys:
Lady Louise Windsor, the seven-year-old daughter of the Earl & Countess of Wessex
Margarita Armstrong-Jones, the eight-year-old daughter of Viscount & Viscountess Linley
Grace van Cutsem, the three-year-old daughter of the couple's friend Hugh van Cutsem
Eliza Lopes, the three-year-old granddaughter of the Duchess of Cornwall
William Lowther-Pinkerton, the ten-year-old son of William's private secretary, Major Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton
Tom Pettifer, the eight-year-old son of Princes William & Harry's former nanny, "Tiggy" Pettifer.
The Wedding attire
The bridal dress, designed by the London-based designer Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, was made of ivory satin & featured an overlaid long-sleeved V-neck lace bodice & appliqued full skirt with box pleats, the back leading to a nine-foot train. The bodice incorporated machine-made lace, sourced from manufacturers in France & Britain. Floral motifs were cut from lengths of these & then appliquéd by hand onto silk net (tulle) by workers from the Royal School of Needlework. The motifs included roses, thistles, daffodils & shamrocks to represent England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland.
The veil was held in place by the Cartier Halo Tiara, (made in 1936) & lent to her by Her Majesty the Queen. It was purchased by the Queen's father, the future King George VI, for his wife Elizabeth three weeks before his accession. Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) received the tiara from her mother on her 18th birthday. In order to avoid her tiara falling off, as had happened for Lady Diana Spencer while wearing a Spencer family tiara during her 1981 wedding to the Prince of Wales, Catherine's stylists "backcombed the top [of her hair] to create a foundation for the tiara to sit around, then did a tiny plait in the middle & sewed it on."
For the customary bridal themes of "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue", Middleton's gown had lace appointments (the "old"), custom-made diamond earrings given by her parents (the "new"), the Queen's tiara (the "borrowed"), & a blue ribbon sewn into the bodice (the "blue"). The shoes were also from Alexander McQueen & had a lace pattern matching the dress with appliques made by the Royal School of Needlework.
The bride's shield-shaped wired bouquet, designed by Derek Connolly, contained myrtle, Lily of the Valley, Sweet William & hyacinth.
Middleton's hair was styled in loose curls for the occasion by hair dresser James Pryce of the Richard Ward Salon. She received private make-up lessons from Arabella Preston & the entire bridal party received "makeup artistry assistance" from Bobbi Brown make-up artist Hannah Martin prior to the event, but ultimately Middleton did her own makeup for the occasion. The look was described as a "soft smokey eye" with pink lips & cheeks. Her nails were painted by manicurist Marina Sandoval in a mixture of two polishes: a "barely there pink" & a "sheer beige" to complement her skin tone & gown.
Maid-of-honour Pippa Middleton also wore a gown by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen. It has been described as being made of "heavy, ivory satin-based crepe, with a cowl front & with the same button detail & lace trims as the Bride's dress."
The young bridesmaids wore dresses designed by Nicki Macfarlane, handmade with the help of Macfarlane's daughter Charlotte, in their homes at Wiltshire & Kent. The pageboys' outfits were designed by Kashket & Partners in the style worn by a "Foot Guard officer at the time of the Regency (the 1820s)" with an insignia from the Irish Guards, whose Colonel is Prince William.
Prince William wore an Irish Guards mounted officer's uniform in Guard of Honour Order with a forage cap, rather than the bearskin hat. As a serving Royal Air Force flight lieutenant who also held the equivalent Royal Navy rank of lieutenant & army rank of captain in the Blues and Royals, William could have chosen to wear the uniform of any of these junior officer ranks. However, as he had been appointed colonel of the Irish Guards on 10 February 2011, he opted instead to wear the full dress uniform of that regiment. As a Knight of the Order of the Garter, he wore the order's star & blue riband, to which were affixed his RAF wings & Golden Jubilee Medal.
Prince Harry wore the uniform of a captain of the Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards & 1st Dragoons), with a forage cap. He wore aiguillettes, a cross-belt & gold waist belt with sword slings, but no sword. He wore the wings of the Army Air Corps & Golden Jubilee & Afghanistan Campaign medals. Military dress uniforms do not traditionally have pockets, but the palace requested that some sort of compartment be added to Harry's outfit so that Catherine's wedding ring would not be lost!
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The Order of Service
The order of service chosen by the bridal couple was the Series One form which is virtually identical with that of the 1928 Prayer Book. The Dean of Westminster, John Hall, officiated for most of the service, with Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, as celebrant of the marriage & Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, preaching the sermon. It has long been traditional for the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Church of England's most senior bishop, to officiate at the weddings of England's monarchs & future monarchs. Chartres is a close friend of the Prince of Wales & confirmed both Prince William & Kate Middleton.
The service began with the procession of the Queen, Prince Philip & the clergy. Shortly after, Middleton arrived with the party of maid of honour & junior attendants. As the choir sang "I was glad", an anthem by Sir Hubert Parry composed in 1902 for the coronation of King Edward VII, the bride made her three-&-a-half-minute procession through the nave & choir on her father's arm, to meet Prince William. The service proceeded with the formal service & congregational singing of three well known hymns, fanfares, anthems, organ & orchestral music.
In the marriage vows, the couple promised to "love, comfort, honour & keep" each other. This was sealed by the exchange of a single ring. The lesson, read by the bride's brother, James Middleton, was from the Epistle to the Romans (Chapter 12, verses 1–2 & 9–18) & is an exhortation to live a righteous & peaceful life.
The sermon, preached by the Bishop of London, commenced with a quotation from Catherine of Siena whose feast day it was. The bishop urged the couple to live selflessly, each remembering the needs of each other & seeking to transform each other by love rather than seeking to reform. He ended the sermon with a prayer composed by the couple themselves:
'God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share & for the joy of our marriage. In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real & important in life & help us to be generous with our time & love & energy. Strengthened by our union help us to serve & comfort those who suffer.
We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.'
The service continued with prayers & exhortations by the dean & archbishop. A newly composed choral anthem was sung by the choir. After the signing of the registers, William & Catherine walked down the aisle, pausing briefly to bow & curtsey to the Queen. They were followed in procession by other members of the bridal party, & their families, being joined at the door by the two youngest bridesmaids.
On leaving Westminster Abbey, to the pealing of bells, they passed through a guard of honour of individually selected men & women from the various services. The bridal couple entered the 1902 State Landau drawn by four white horses with postilions & attendant footmen, & guarded by a mounted escort of the Life Guard. A similar open carriage carried the rest of the bridal party, escorted by the Blues and Royals. The Queen & other members of the Royal Family followed in coaches drawn by the Queen's Cleveland Bay horses, & in state cars.
The wedding bouquet was returned to Westminster Abbey & placed on the Tomb of The Unknown Warrior by a royal official, after the photographs had been taken. This followed the tradition started by Prince William's great grandmother, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, after her marriage to the Duke of York in 1923.
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The Wedding Music
Two choirs, one orchestra & a fanfare ensemble played the music for the service. These were the Westminster Abbey Choir, the Chapel Royal Choir, the London Chamber Orchestra & a fanfare ensemble from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force. The choirs were directed by James O’Donnell, organist & Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey. The abbey's sub-organist, Robert Quinney, played the organ. The organist, choir master & composer at the Chapel Royal is Andrew Gant. The London Chamber Orchestra was conducted by Christopher Warren-Green, who is its music director & principal conductor. The fanfares were performed under the direction of Wing Commander Duncan Stubbs.
The bride processed down the aisle to the anthem "I was glad", written by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, from Psalm 122. It was composed for the crowning of Prince William's great-great-great grandfather, Edward VII, at Westminster Abbey in 1902.
Three congregational hymns were sung during the service. The first was "Guide me, O Thou Great Redeemer" sung to the tune "Cwm Rhondda". The hymn, originally written in Welsh by 18th-century Methodist preacher William Williams, had been sung at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales. The words to their second hymn, "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling", were by Charles Wesley & its tune – Blaenwern – was composed by William Penfro Rowlands, during the 1904–1905 Welsh Revival. This hymn was sung at the Prince of Wales's 2005 marriage to the Duchess of Cornwall. The third hymn was "Jerusalem", based on the poem by William Blake & set to music by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry. Choral compositions featured in the service were Parry's Blest Pair of Sirens (a setting of an ode by John Milton) during the signing of the register, Paul Mealor's Ubi Caritas et Amor as the motet & a specially commissioned anthem, "This is the day which the Lord hath made" consisting of words chosen from the Psalms, by John Rutter.
Fanfare ensemble leader Wing Commander Duncan Stubbs's own composition, Valiant & Brave, was performed as the royal couple signed the wedding registers. Preux et audacieux (which translates from French as "Valiant & Brave") is the motto of 22 Squadron, in which Prince William was serving as a search & rescue pilot at RAF Valley in North Wales. The fanfare led into the recessional music, the orchestral march "Crown Imperial" by William Walton, composed for the coronation of George VI & which was also performed at Charles & Diana's wedding.
The music performed before the service included two instrumental pieces by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies ("Veni Creator Spiritus" & "Farewell to Stromness") as well as with works by J.S. Bach, Benjamin Britten, Frederick Delius, Edward Elgar, Gerald Finzi, Charles Villiers Stanford, Ralph Vaughan Williams & Percy Whitlock.
The bells of Westminster Abbey rang a full peal as the newly married couple & guests left the church. The ten bells rang a peal called "Spliced Surprise Royal", consisting of 5,040 changes, that took more than three hours to complete. They were rung by the volunteers of the Westminster Abbey Company of Ringers, under the direction of David Hilling.
The wedding ring of Catherine is made from Welsh gold. The ring was created by the royal warrant holder Wartski, a company with roots in Bangor, Gwynedd, north Wales. Since 1923, it has been a tradition in the Royal Family to use Welsh gold for the wedding ring of the bride. This ring was made from a small amount of gold that had been kept in the royal vaults since it was presented to Queen Elizabeth II. It was mined from the Clogau Gold Mine in the mountains of North Wales. The Clogau Gold Mine had its heyday in the late nineteenth century, was abandoned in the early twentieth century, was reopened in 1992 & finally closed in 1998. The Queen had "given a piece of the gold that has been in the family for many years to Prince William as a gift," a palace source stated. Prince William chose not to receive a wedding ring at the ceremony.
On the morning of the wedding, it was announced that William was to be created Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, & Baron Carrickfergus, with Catherine becoming Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge after the wedding. This is in line with the practice of granting titles upon marriage to royal princes who did not already have one (for example, Prince Andrew was created Duke of York when he married in 1986). Strathearn is close to St Andrews, Fife, in Scotland, where the couple met as students, & Carrickfergus is in Northern Ireland. Combined with his existing titular link with Wales, William's collective titles link him to each of the four countries in the United Kingdom.
The Wedding Guests
On 16 & 17 February, 2011 three sets of guest lists were sent out in the name of the Queen. The first list, consisting of about 1,900 people, attended the ceremony in the abbey; the second list of approximately 600 people were invited to the luncheon reception at Buckingham Palace, hosted by the Queen; & the final list, of about 300 names, was for the evening dinner hosted by the Prince of Wales.
More than half of the guests to attend the wedding itself were family & friends of the couple, though there was a significant number of Commonwealth leaders (including the governors-general who represent the Queen in Commonwealth realms other than the UK, prime ministers of the Commonwealth realms, & heads of government of other Commonwealth countries), members of religious organisations, the diplomatic corps, several military officials, members of the British Royal Household, members of foreign royal families, & representatives of William's charities & others with whom William has worked on official business. Although St James's Palace declined to publish the names of those invited, a breakdown of guests was published by category; the list made no mention of foreign heads of state. The invitation of Seán Cardinal Brady, Primate of All Ireland, to the event, & its acceptance, were described as "unprecedented" by a spokesman for Ireland's Catholic bishops. The spokesman attributed the invitation to Cardinal Brady's contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process.
House of Windsor
The Queen & The Duke of Edinburgh, the groom's paternal grandparents.
The Prince of Wales & The Duchess of Cornwall, the groom's father & stepmother.
Prince Harry of Wales, the groom's brother.
The Princess Royal & Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, the groom's paternal aunt & uncle.
Peter & Autumn Phillips, the groom's first cousin & his wife.
Zara Phillips & Mike Tindall, the groom's first cousin & her fiancé.
The Duke of York, the groom's paternal uncle.
Princess Beatrice of York, the groom's first cousin.
Princess Eugenie of York, the groom's first cousin.
The Earl & Countess of Wessex, the groom's paternal uncle & aunt.
Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, the groom's first cousin.
The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon's family:
The Viscount & Viscountess Linley, the groom's first cousin, once removed, & his wife.
The Hon. Charles Armstrong-Jones, the groom's second cousin.
The Hon. Margarita Armstrong-Jones, the groom's second cousin.
Lady Sarah & Daniel Chatto, the groom's first cousin, once removed, & her husband.
Samuel Chatto, the groom's second cousin.
Arthur Chatto, the groom's second cousin.
Other descendants of the Prince's great-great-grandfather King George V & their families:
The Duke & Duchess of Gloucester, the groom's first cousin, twice removed & his wife.
Earl & Countess of Ulster, the groom's second cousin, once removed, & his wife.
Lady Davina & Gary Lewis, the groom's second cousin, once removed, & her husband.
Lady Rose & George Gilman, the groom's second cousin, once removed, & her husband.
The Duke & Duchess of Kent, the groom's first cousin, twice removed & his wife.
Earl & Countess of St Andrews, the groom's second cousin, once removed, & his wife.
Lord Downpatrick, the groom's third cousin.
Lady Marina-Charlotte Windsor, the groom's third cousin.
Lady Amelia Windsor, the groom's third cousin.
Lady Helen & Timothy Taylor, the groom's second cousin, once removed, & her husband.
Lord & Lady Nicholas Windsor, the groom's second cousin, once removed, & his wife.
Princess Alexandra, The Hon. Lady Ogilvy, the groom's godmother & first cousin, twice removed.
James & Julia Ogilvy, the groom's second cousin, once removed, & his wife.
Marina Ogilvy, the groom's second cousin, once removed.
Prince & Princess Michael of Kent, the groom's first cousin, twice removed & his wife.
Lord & Lady Frederick Windsor, the groom's second cousin, once removed, & his wife.
Lady Gabriella Windsor, the groom's second cousin, once removed.
Other descendants of the prince's great-great-great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria & their families. As is common in royalty, there has been slight intermingling of families. Where possible, the closest family title has been noted (first cousin on grandfather's side, instead of third cousin on grandmother's side, etc.):
The Queen of Denmark, the groom's third cousin, twice removed.
The Crown Princess of Sweden & The Duke of Västergötland, the groom's fourth cousin, once removed, & her husband (representing the King of Sweden).
The King & Queen of Norway the groom's second cousin, twice removed & his wife.
The Queen of Spain the groom's second cousin, once removed (representing the King of Spain).
The Prince & Princess of Asturias the groom's third cousin & his wife.
The Margrave & Margravine of Baden, the groom's first cousin once removed, & his wife.
Princess Margarita of Baden, the groom's first cousin, once removed.
King Constantine II & Queen Anne-Marie of the Hellenes, the groom's second cousin, once removed, & third cousin, once removed (King Constantine is also Prince William's godfather).
Crown Prince Pavlos & Crown Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, the groom's third cousin & his wife
Prince Constantine Alexios of Greece and Denmark, the groom's third cousin, once removed (& godson).
King Michael I of Romania, the groom's second cousin, once removed.
Crown Princess Margareta of Romania the groom's third cousin.
Crown Prince Alexander & Crown Princess Katherine of Yugoslavia, the groom's third cousin & his wife.
The Landgrave of Hesse the groom's third cousin, twice removed.
Prince & Princess Karl of Hesse, the groom's first cousin, once removed, & his wife.
Princess Irina, Countess of Schönburg-Glauchau, the groom's second cousin.
The Prince & Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, the groom's second cousin.
Princess Xenia & Mr Max Soltmann, the groom's second cousin & her husband.
The Lady Saltoun, widow of the groom's second cousin, thrice removed.
The Countess Mountbatten of Burma, the groom's first cousin, twice removed.
The Lord Brabourne, the groom's second cousin, once removed (& godfather).
Lady Pamela Hicks, the groom's first cousin, twice removed.
The Hon. Margaret Rhodes, the groom's first cousin, twice removed.
Lady Elizabeth Shakerley, the groom's second cousin, once removed.
Lady Sarah & Neil McCorquodale, the groom's maternal aunt & uncle.
Emily McCorquodale, the groom's first cousin.
George McCorquodale, the groom's first cousin.
Celia McCorquodale, the groom's first cousin.
The Lady & Lord Fellowes, the groom's maternal aunt & uncle.
The Hon. Laura Pettman, the groom's first cousin.
The Hon. Alexander Fellowes, the groom's first cousin.
The Hon. Eleanor Fellowes, the groom's first cousin.
The Earl Spencer & Karen Gordon, the groom's maternal uncle & his fiancée.
Lady Kitty Spencer, the groom's first cousin.
Lady Eliza Spencer, the groom's first cousin.
Lady Amelia Spencer, the groom's first cousin.
Viscount Althorp, the groom's first cousin.
Lady Anne Wake-Walker, the groom's maternal great-aunt.
The Lord & Lady Fermoy, the groom's first cousin, once removed, & his wife.
Family of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Michael & Carole Middleton, the bride's parents.
Pippa Middleton & Mr Alex Loudon, the bride's sister & her guest.
James Middleton, the bride's brother.
Gary & Luan Goldsmith, the bride's maternal uncle & his ex-wife.
Tallulah Goldsmith, the bride's first cousin.
Richard Middleton, the bride's paternal uncle.
Adam Middleton, the bride's first cousin.
Simon Middleton, the bride's paternal uncle.
Nicholas Middleton, the bride's paternal uncle.
Anne Gabriella Middleton the bride's first cousin.
Lucy Middleton, the bride's first cousin.
Matita Glassborow the bride's first cousin, once removed; great great-niece of Dame Ellen Terry.
Dr Penny Barton, the bride's first cousin, once removed.
Members of reigning royal families
The Duke & Duchess of Brabant (representing The King of Belgium).
The Duke is Prince William's fourth cousin through Christian IX of Denmark.
The King of Bhutan.
The Sultan & Queen of Brunei.
Sheikh Ahmad Hmoud Al-Sabah (representing the Emir of Kuwait).
Prince Seeiso & Princess Mabereng of Lesotho (representing The King of Lesotho).
The Grand Duke & Grand Duchess of Luxembourg The Grand Duke is Prince William's fourth cousin through Christian IX of Denmark.
The King & Queen of Malaysia
The Prince of Monaco & fiancée Charlene Wittstock
Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco (representing The King of Morocco).
The Prince of Orange & Princess Máxima of the Netherlands. (representing The Queen of the Netherlands) The Prince is Prince William's fifth cousin once removed through Paul I of Russia.
Prince Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq Al Said of Oman (representing the Sultan of Oman).
The Emir of Qatar & Sheika Mozah.
Prince Mohamed bin Nawaf & his wife Princess Fadwa of Saudi Arabia (representing the King of Saudi Arabia; Prince Mohammed is Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United Kingdom).
The King of Swaziland.
The Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand (representing The King of Thailand).
The King of Tonga.
The Crown Prince of Dubai (representing the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates).
The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi (representing the President of the United Arab Emirates).
Members of non-reigning royal families
King Simeon II & Queen Margarita of the Bulgarians, the King & Prince William are four times fourth cousins three times removed, sharing Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld as their common ancestor.
Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia, the Groom's second cousin once removed.
To watch the full wedding broadcast visit our Royal Weddings video page
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