Elton John, Beckhams on royal wedding guest list

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Britain released Saturday the list of confirmed guests and the seating plan for Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding, with musician Elton John and David and Victoria Beckham set to attend.

Also among the 1,900 guests filling the pews in Westminster Abbey on Friday are British actor Rowan "Mr Bean" Atkinson, director and Madonna's ex-husband Guy Ritchie, and Australian Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe.

The seating plan for the service in the 1,000-year-old church in London puts Queen Elizabeth II and other senior royals in the front row together with Kate's family on the other side of the aisle.

Kate's mother Carole will sit directly opposite the queen.

More than 40 foreign royals including Prince Albert of Monaco -- who will tie the knot himself on July 1 with South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock -- have also confirmed their attendance at the wedding.

There are also several heads of government including Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her New Zealand counterpart John Key, along with governors-general from 15 realms where the queen is still the monarch.

But since the wedding is not a formal state occasion, world leaders such as US President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are not invited.

Elton John -- who sang the hit "Candle in the Wind" at the funeral of William's mother Princess Diana in the abbey in 1997 after her death in a car crash in Paris -- will be accompanied by his partner David Furnish.

Prince William met former England football captain Beckham, who will be at the service with his fashion designer wife Victoria, as part of England's failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup, William's official residence St James's Palace said.

He also met Thorpe when he visited Australia last year.

Mario Testino, the official photographer for the engagement, will be there along with singer Joss Stone, who performed at a tribute concert to Princess Diana.

A number of William's colleagues from his job as a search and rescue helicopter pilot for the Royal Air Force will also attending, along with members of charities he supports.

Most of the guests are family or private friends of William and Kate, and she has reportedly invited people including the butcher, the postman and the greengrocer from the rural English village of Bucklebury where she grew up.

The wedding is expected to be watched by a worldwide television audience of around two billion.

But among the guests inside Westminster Abbey, only the bride and groom's nearest and dearest will be able to witness the ceremony close up.

Most guests will be behind the choir screen, a partition in the abbey which restricts the view of the altar to those behind it. They will have to watch on video screens to see the moment when William and Kate exchange their vows.

Meanwhile royal officials said Kate is expected to leave her bridal bouquet on the grave of the Unknown Warrior in the abbey. The black marble slab covers the remains of a World War I soldier.

Queen Elizabeth the queen mother -- William's great-grandmother, who died in 2002 -- began the tradition when she married the future George VI in 1923. Her brother Fergus died in the war in 1915.

© 2011 AFP

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