January 7, 2011 – Prince William and Kate Middleton released new details Wednesday about their wedding, revealing that they will travel in a horse-drawn carriage and will be married by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
In a Twitter announcement, royal officials said the couple’s nuptials on April 29 in historic Westminster Abbey will be followed by a private reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.
The hotly anticipated details are the first to give a real flavour of what crowds and television audiences can expect from the event, the biggest royal wedding in Britain since William’s parents Charles and Diana married in 1981.
“Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton have made more decisions on their upcoming wedding,” said Clarence House, the office of Charles — the heir to the throne — and his sons William and Harry.
The service will start at 11 am (1000 GMT) and Middleton will travel to the abbey by car through some of London’s most historic sites including The Mall, Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall and Parliament Square, it said.
The move to use a car instead of a carriage for her journey to the service is seen as a nod to austerity in a country which faces major cutbacks as the government tries to curb a huge deficit.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will marry the couple — a move that befits the head of the Church of England and leader of the world’s Anglicans, and which previous archbishops have performed at other royal weddings.
The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, will give the address and Dean of Westminster John Hall, the abbey’s senior cleric, will conduct the service.
After tying the knot, the newly-weds will return in a procession by horse-drawn carriage to Buckingham Palace where William’s grandmother the queen will host a private reception, Clarence House said.
The reception will include “guests drawn from the congregation representing the couple’s official and private lives.”
Prince Charles will host a private dinner in the evening “followed by dancing” for the couple and close friends and family, it added.
William, second in line to the throne and the supreme governorship of the Church of England, proposed to Kate on holiday in Kenya in October following an on-off, eight-year courtship that began at St Andrews University in Scotland.
The couple, both 28, announced their engagement on November 16.
The prince, a Royal Air Force helicopter rescue pilot, gave Middleton the priceless diamond and sapphire engagement ring belonging to Princess Diana, who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
They have yet to announce key details including who will make Middleton’s dress, who will be William’s best man, and where the couple will spend their honeymoon.
Nor has it been revealed whether William and Kate will appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony where his father famously kissed Princess Diana following their marriage 30 years ago in 1981 at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Charles and Diana divorced in 1996 after mutual claims of infidelity.
April 29 has been declared a public holiday with hundreds of thousands of people expected to cram the streets of London.
But there have been security concerns about the wedding after Charles and his second wife Camilla were attacked in their car by student protesters during riots against a rise in university tuition fees in December.
Prime Minister David Cameron said earlier Wednesday, however, that the wedding was one of a series of major events in 2011 and 2012 that would “see the eyes of the world focused on Britain as never before.”
“A royal wedding, her majesty’s diamond jubilee and of course the London Olympic and Paralympic Games offer us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, not just for national pride and celebration, but also to promote this country as the perfect tourist destination,” he said as he announced a new tourism drive.