Kate to make 'modern' wedding vows
Kate Middleton will not promise to obey Britain's Prince William in her wedding vows on Friday, the official programme reveals, as a row erupted over an invitation for the Syrian ambassador.
Instead, in a modern twist Kate will pledge to "love, comfort, honour and keep" him, the Order of Service revealed, following in the footsteps of William's late mother Princess Diana.
Diana also opted not to "obey" the Prince of Wales during their wedding ceremony in 1981. She died in a car crash in Paris in 1997 a year after divorcing William's father Prince Charles.
Kate, 29, arrived at Westminster Abbey early Thursday for a final rehearsal on the eve of the wedding just hours after she had joined her parents, William and best man Prince Harry for a run-through late Wednesday.
It was the last time Middleton or a member of the royal family will be at the abbey before the service, St James's Palace said.
In a diplomatic spat that posed a headache for the organisers, Britain faced a growing outcry for inviting the Syrian ambassador to the wedding despite a brutal crackdown on protesters in the Arab state.
Royal officials and Britain's Foreign Office confirmed Sami Khiyami was on the list of 1,900 guests for Friday's service. Celebrity guests include musician Elton John, footballer David Beckham and his wife Victoria.
Britain had on Wednesday summoned Khiyami to the Foreign Office in a coordinated action with four other European nations to condemn the "unacceptable use of force against protesters."
"Those countries with which we have normal diplomatic relations and ambassadors in London are invited to the wedding and whilst we have strong disagreements with many of those countries this remains the case," a Foreign Office spokeswoman told AFP.
A British government source said on condition of anonymity that the final decision remained with William and Kate "although we do advise."
The source said the situation was different to that of the Libya's ambassador, who has not been invited, as diplomatic relations with Libya are not on a normal footing.
Bahrain's crown prince has already turned down an invitation following fears his attendance could detract from the event because of ongoing unrest in the Gulf kingdom.
In a message in the souvenir programme, William, the second-in-line to the throne, and Kate say they are deeply touched by people's reactions as they prepare for "one of the happiest days of our lives".
"We are both so delighted that you are able to join us in celebrating what we hope will be one of the happiest days of our lives," they say in the booklet which will be sold along the processional route of the wedding.
A tented village is growing in front of Westminster Abbey as royal enthusiasts continue to pitch tents to get a good position to see the service.
But forecasters said it was now certain that after days of sunshine in London, Friday would see rain showers.
William, 28, has spent the days before the wedding in relaxed mood, even joining his friends for a game of football in a London park on Tuesday, photographers in newspapers showed.
He left the match at Battersea Park on a Ducati motorbike, still wearing a tracksuit and trainers.
© 2011 AFP