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Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Royal Wedding

It must have been a huge undertaking for those responsible for security at the royal wedding of Kate and Prince William yesterday - how to keep 50 British royals, 40 foreign royals and 60 Commonwealth dignitaries safe, but they managed to pull it off without a hitch.

And what a location - the magnificent Westminster Abbey - in all its glory. They said the British people didn't care about the wedding but they were wrong. The affection for the royal couple was clear as thousands turned out and surged towards the palace, waiting for the balcony kiss.

And Diana was there, Prince William didn't forget his mother. The opening Welsh anthem, Guide me, O thou Great Redeemer, was sung at Diana's 1997 funeral and the service ended with her favourite march, Crown Imperial, played at her wedding in 1981.

Kate, now renamed Catherine, is officially Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, as well as a countess and a baroness, after the Queen awarded William the titles of Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus. A duke is the highest rank in the British peerage. The Duchy of Cambridge has been vacant since 1904 and was set to go to Prince Edward when he married in 1999, but he preferred the title Earl of Wessex.

Unlike the wedding of Charles and Dianna, there were more friends of the bride and groom and a large number of sporting and other celebrities including Sir Elton John. Aussie swimmer Ian Thorpe sat three rows in front of David and Victoria Beckham.

James Middleton, Kate's brother, delivered a moving, faultless bible reading which included the verses "do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are". The Middletons and the Spencers, sat on one side of the aisle facing the Queen and her family.

The British Foreign Office announced that it had withdrawn the invitation of Syria's ambassador after 500 protesters were killed and the Crown Prince of Bahrain and the King of Swaziland chose to stay away. I think the biggest shock was the decision not to invite Tony Blair who was instrumental in helping the royal family handle the public hatred towards them when Diana died.

It's good to see an ordinary person join to the loyal line. The Queen Mum was also a commoner and much loved by the British people but she only became Queen after her husband's brother abdicated, so it wasn't planned. The last monarch to marry a commoner was Henry VIII, when he took Anne Boleyn as his bride.