Move over, your majesty: the eclectic guestlist

20th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spare a thought for the seating planners on April 29, who must accommodate not only royals, diplomats and celebrities including David Beckham but also a butcher and a yoga teacher.

Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding guestlist reveals the breadth of the company they keep and hints at a relatively normal life where local tradesmen and colleagues are valued as much as Prince Albert of Monaco.

The middle-class bride has packed the pews of Westminster Abbey with ordinary people, reportedly including the butcher, the postman and the greengrocer from the rural English village of Bucklebury where she grew up.

The names of the 1,900 guests have not been officially released, but the list is also thought to include a yoga teacher and a barman from the Caribbean island of Mustique, where Kate's parents have spent many happy holidays.

William meanwhile has invited dozens of colleagues from his work as a search and rescue helicopter pilot, as well as staff from the charities he supports.

The abbey's front rows are reserved for William's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, his father Prince Charles and his brother Prince Harry, as well as the bride's parents Carole and Michael and her siblings, Pippa and James.

From there, the seating arrangements become more difficult.

Where to put Earl Charles Spencer, the brother of William's late mother Diana, who delivered an emotional speech at her funeral in 1997 rebuking the royal family for how they treated her?

And what about Kate's uncle, Gary Goldsmith, who has made headlines for his hedonistic life in Ibiza?

Fortunately for the planners, William's aunt Sarah Ferguson was not invited. She has struggled with alcohol and was caught in a newspaper sting last year apparently trying to sell access to her ex-husband Prince Andrew.

Some invited guests will not attend including Japan's emperor Akihito, whose country has been devastated by an earthquake, and the king of Bahrain, who reportedly withdrew to avoid embarrassment after a crackdown on protesters.

There will be enough stars to keep the press happy, however.

Footballer David Beckham has confirmed he will be attending with his wife Victoria, after he and William teamed up to promote England's doomed bid for the 2018 World Cup last year.

Pop susperstar Madonna's ex-husband, director Guy Ritchie, as well as the British comic actor Rowan Atkinson are also reportedly among those invited.

Prime Minister David Cameron will also be among about 200 politicians, governors and diplomats attending from around the world, although US President Barack Obama is not invited, as it is not a formal state occasion.

Every ambassador to London is invited, including North Korea's, except the envoy for Libya, which Britain and other countries have been bombing in recent weeks to enforce a UN resolution to protect civilians from fierce fighting.

"Their invitation has not been sent yet," said a Foreign Office spokesman, adding that unless Moamer Kadhafi's regime fell, "it is unlikely it will be".

Just to add to the mix, the ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriend of the couple have also magnanimously been put on the list.

William and Kate have whittled down the numbers for the wedding reception, however, inviting only 650 people to Buckingham Palace at lunchtime. The evening party, meanwhile, will be attended by a select group of 300.

© 2011 AFP

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