Historic abbey clear favourite for royal wedding: bookies

18th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

A leading bookmaker stopped accepting bets Thursday on the venue for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton after it was deluged by wagers on Westminster Abbey in London.

Paddy Power said it had seen "nothing but one-way traffic" for the historic church where Britain's monarchs are crowned after Middleton was photographed making a secret visit on Wednesday night.

William, the eldest son of the late princess Diana and heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, will marry Middleton in London in spring or summer 2011 after an eight-year romance although the venue has not been officially announced.

"Everything is pointing towards Westminster Abbey. The question now is who's going to get a ticket to the hottest gig in town," said Sharon McHugh, a spokeswoman for Paddy Power.

Bookmakers Ladbrokes said they were still taking bets but had the abbey at odds of 1-5, with St Paul's Cathedral, where William's parents Prince Charles and the then Lady Diana married in 1981, at 4-1.

"We're getting very close to closing the books as it is has been one-way traffic, probably on the back of the pictures in the papers," Ladbrokes spokesman David Williams told AFP.

William Hill placed Westminster Abbey at 1-7, with St Paul's again at 4-1 and St Clement Danes, the central church of the Royal Air Force, at 10-1.

Prince William is serving in the RAF as a search and rescue helicopter pilot.

A spokesman for St James's Palace, William's office, confirmed on Wednesday that Middleton "paid a short, private visit to Westminster Abbey in order to be able to consider it as an option."

"The couple wish for a little more time to be able to consult family members and make a decision for themselves."

Queen Elizabeth II married Prince Philip at the abbey in 1947 and the funeral of William's mother, Diana, was held at the church in 1997.

St James's Palace said the couple's plans would be mindful of Britain's economic plight but Middleton's visit to the abbey suggests the event will still be a spectacular affair.

© 2010 AFP

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