Kate in final preparations for royal wedding

28th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Kate Middleton attended a final rehearsal at Westminster Abbey on the eve of her wedding to Prince William as it was revealed that she will not promise to obey him in her marriage vows.

The couple also said Thursday they had been "incredibly moved" by the affection shown to them since they announced their engagement in November.

In a message in their official wedding programme they thanked "everyone most sincerely for their kindness" as they prepare for "one of the happiest days of our lives".

In Friday's ceremony, Kate will pledge to "love, comfort, honour and keep" William rather than the more traditional vow to "obey" him, according to the Order of Service.

It means the 29-year-old will follow in the footsteps of William's late mother Princess Diana, who later divorced his father Prince Charles.

Diana, who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997, also opted not to "obey" the Prince of Wales during their wedding ceremony in 1981.

William has spent the days before the wedding in a relaxed mood, even joining his friends for a game of football in a London park on Tuesday, newspaper photographs showed.

With 24 hours to go to the wedding, weather forecasters had good news for the 600,000 people expected to gather to watch the ceremony, predicting a cloudy but dry start to Friday, with only a small risk of rain.

Britain abruptly withdrew the Syrian ambassador's invitation to the wedding on Thursday, saying the regime's crackdown on protesters made it unacceptable for him to attend.

The invitation had attracted controversy following claims from rights groups that more than 450 pro-democracy protesters have been killed in Syria by security forces in recent weeks.

"Buckingham Palace shares the view of the Foreign Office that it is not considered appropriate for the Syrian ambassador to attend the wedding," a Foreign Office statement said.

The Syrian envoy, Sami Khiyami, said the decision was "embarrassing" and blamed the media for forcing the British government's hand.

"I find it a bit embarrassing but I don't consider it as a matter that would jeopardise any ongoing relations and discussions with the British government," he told BBC Radio.

"I don't really understand it but I understand the influence of media on the government decisions."

Preparations for the biggest royal wedding in Britain for 30 years reached fever pitch as Kate attended a second and final rehearsal at Westminster Abbey early Thursday, accompanied by William's brother and best man Prince Harry.

Details of the music for the service were also revealed, showing that music played at Diana's 1981 wedding to Prince Charles and her funeral in 1997 will be included.

The bride will walk up the aisle to the coronation anthem "I Was Glad", used at the crowning of Prince William's great-great-great grandfather, Edward VII, at Westminster Abbey in 1902.

On The Mall, the wide boulevard leading to Buckingham Palace which the newlyweds will travel down in a horse-drawn carriage, hundreds of people were preparing to spend the night to get a good view of the procession.

Ruth Jackson, a primary school head teacher from Wales who was setting up camp with three friends, said: "It's history in the making. We've never been to a royal event before so we wanted to come and soak up the atmosphere.

"It hasn't disappointed us."

Police said they had arrested 20 people in dawn raids across London amid suspicions they had been planning to disrupt the wedding.

© 2011 AFP

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