Westminster Abbey to host wedding
<p>A woman walks past Westminster Abbey in central London, Tuesday Nov. 23, 2010. Britain's Prince William, grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, and Kate Middleton will marry April 29 in Westminster Abbey, the historic London church where Princess Diana's funeral was held. Royal officials said Tuesday that the couple chose the venue for its beauty, intimacy and historic royal connections.</p>
LONDON (AP) - Pomp and circumstance - what "Britain does best" - will rule the day when Prince William and Kate Middleton get married April 29 at Westminster Abbey.
The young couple on Tuesday rejected the notion that austere times will force them to pare down the royal festivities. The church itself is free, at least.
William and Kate ended days of suspense by choosing the abbey, a grand venue where members of the House of Windsor have been crowned, married, mourned and buried. The abbey was also the site of the funeral for William's beloved mother, Princess Diana.
Palace officials said the two were on "cloud nine" with their wedding choice and want the nation to share their joy.
"We know that the world will be watching on the 29th of April, and the couple are very, very keen indeed that the spectacle should be a classic example of what Britain does best," said William's private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton.
William and Kate chose the centuries-old abbey in central London because despite its size - it holds 2,200 people - it has a sense of intimacy, particularly at the altar, which stands at the head of a smaller, partly enclosed space called the sanctuary.
The date - after Lent and Easter but before the 90th birthday of William's grandfather, Prince Philip - allows the pair to have a spring wedding. It also is the feast day of St. Catherine of Siena, whose name Middleton shares.
Best of all for Brits, the day, a Friday, will be a public holiday.
St. James' Palace, the offices of Princes William and Harry, stressed that the Middletons and the royal family would pick up the bill for the wedding - the flowers, the reception, the honeymoon - everything apart from security and transport costs. The couple say they are mindful of the country's tough times.