Prince William, the second in line to the British throne, will marry his commoner fiancee and former classmate Catherine Middleton at the historical Westminster Abbey on Friday in a ceremony marked by pomp and pageantry and watched by some 2000 invited guests and billions around the world via television.
This will be the 16th Royal marriage at the 1000-year-old Church where William’s parents Prince Charles, heir to the throne, and late Princess Diana tied nuptials in 1981.
William and Kate announced their engagement in November last year after eight years of courtship. The two met at the University of St.Andrews in Fife, Scotland, some ten years ago.
Kate will be the first commoner to marry a prince close to the British throne in 350 years. The last time was in 1660 when Anne Hyde wed the Duke of York, who later became James II.
The Dean of Westminster will conduct the service, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams , will marry the couple at 11 am.
Pakistan will be represented at the wedding by High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan along with other diplomats and representatives of Commonwealth countries based in London.
The Royal Family, with a private contribution from the Middleton Family, will pay for all those aspects of the day that constitute the wedding including the Abbey service, flowers, dresses, carriage procession, reception and dinner. The British Government and other bodies will pay for costs that are consequential to the wedding.
Prince William, an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot, based in Wales, and his future wife will travel separately to the wedding service. The prince will travel in a Bentley, accompanied by his younger brother and best man Prince Harry. Miss Middleton will travel in a Rolls Royce, accompanied by her father from a nearby hotel.
At the end of their wedding service, the couple will travel in the 1902 State Landau along the Processional Route to Buckingham Palace. In the event of severely wet weather, the couple will travel in The Glass Coach. Members of the British armed forces will line the route amidst tight security.
Following this marriage, seven aircraft will take part in the formation that will fly over Buckingham Palace at 1,000 feet. This will include a Spitfire, a Hurricane and a Lancaster in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight formation while thirty seconds later two Tornado planes and two Typhoons will follow in the Windsor formation.
The day has been declared as a public holiday and some 4,000 street parties are also planned across the country to mark the auspicious occasion.