Anglican leader welcomes Britain's royal wedding
The Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the world's Anglicans, welcomed the forthcoming wedding of Prince William and his girlfriend Kate Middleton in his Christmas Day sermon.
In extracts released ahead of his address at Canterbury Cathedral on Saturday morning, Rowan Williams urged people to embrace the meaning of the marriage next year of the second in line to the throne.
"Next year, we shall be joining in the celebration of what we hope will be a profoundly joyful event in the royal wedding," he said, according to extracts.
"It is certainly cause for celebration that any couple, let alone this particular couple, should want to embark on the adventure of Christian marriage, because any and every Christian marriage is a sign of hope, since it is a sign and sacrament of God's own committed love."
Perhaps in the coming year, he added, "we, as a society, might want to think through, carefully and imaginatively, why lifelong faithfulness and the mutual surrender of selfishness are such great gifts."
Prince William, 28, announced his engagement to long-term girlfriend Kate, also 28, last month after proposing during a holiday in Kenya in October. The wedding has been set for April 29 next year at Westminster Abbey.
It will be Britain's biggest royal event since William's parents Prince Charles and Diana married in 1981.
The royal family gathered at Queen Elizabeth II's estate in Sandringham in Norfolk, eastern England, for Christmas Day although William and Kate were not present, according to media reports.
The prince was on call with his search and rescue helicopter team at the Royal Air Force base in Wales where he works, while Kate was thought to be spending the holiday privately with her family.
Williams, in his sermon, acknowledged that marriages can experience difficulties.
But he added: "As the prince and his fiancee get ready for their new step into solidarity together, they will have plenty of inspiration around, more than you might sometimes guess from the chatter of our culture."
© 2010 AFP