Australian PM to attend royal wedding

17th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard will attend the wedding of Britain's Prince William to his fiancee Kate Middleton in Westminster Abbey next month, she announced Thursday.

Gillard, Australia's first woman leader who came to power in June 2010, will be accompanied by her boyfriend Tim Mathieson, her office said.

"The Prime Minister and Mr Mathieson are delighted to have been invited to the wedding which will capture the hearts of millions around the world," it said in a statement.

Gillard revived the debate over whether Australia should remain a monarchy last year when she said the country should become a republic when Queen Elizabeth II dies or abdicates.

Australia's second most powerful woman, Governor-General Quentin Bryce -- the Queen's representative here -- has also been invited to the royal nuptials on April 29, according to Gillard's office.

Prince William arrived in New Zealand Thursday to tour earthquake-ravaged Christchurch before flying on to Australia on Saturday where he will visit flood- and cyclone-hit areas and meet victims of the natural calamities.

In January last year the 28-year-old prince became a major hit with Australians when he visited for the first time since he toured as a baby with his parents Prince Charles and Princess Diana in the early 1980s.

The search and rescue pilot is directly in line to become Australia's king after his father, who is heir to the throne in the 16 Commonwealth realms, including Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

© 2011 AFP

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