By Athena Mekis
The marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton will take place today at Westminster Abbey, where 15 royal weddings have taken place. The wedding will be aired on a range of online platforms, making it the most digital and interactive coverage of a royal wedding to date.
According to the official royal wedding media briefing, the royal couple wishes to make the wedding as accessible as possible for those who want to participate.
“I do think the media coverage is a little too much,” said Natalie Morgan, a 20-year-old Essex native. “I know it’s a huge occasion, but the constant speculation and countdown has turned people willing for it to be over.”
Such media platforms include the Official Royal Wedding website, the British Monarchy Flickr account, Twitter (@ClarenceHouse), The Royal Channel and the British Monarchy Facebook page.
People from all over the world have already begun congratulating Prince William and Middleton by downloading personal videos on YouTube’s official “Wedding Book” page.
In addition to the screens placed at Hyde Park and Trafalgar Square, located near the Abbey, there will be audio speakers along the 1.5-mile procession route relaying the wedding service.
Several news agents speculate that the wedding will attract more visitors to the capital than Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding, which attracted 600,000 visitors in 1981.
YouTube’s Royal Channel will air the wedding at 10am London time, featuring live commentary, procession routes, congratulations from people around the world and highlights of the wedding. For Pacific Standard Time, the wedding will begin at 2am.
According to the media briefing, the Royal Family, with a private contribution from the Middleton Family, will pay for all aspects of the wedding, such as the Abbey service, flowers, dresses, carriage procession, reception and dinner.
However, the government will pay for costs that are consequential to the wedding, such as media support and policing.
Approximately 900 officers will be lining the procession route from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace. According to the magazine This Is London, the cost of policing the downtown area is around 5 million pounds.
Opinions seem to be divided on whether the people approve or object to these royal wedding taxes.
“Seeing as the royal family is one of the richest in the country, I can understand why people might think having it partially funded by the taxpayer is a bad thing,” said Phillip Elliot, a 23-year-old from Saint Albans.
Callum Heath, a 19-year-old from Potters Bar, said he sees the royal wedding taxes as “a wedding gift.” He adds that with thousands of visitors, “there’s a decent amount of money entering the economy,” which should balance the cost of taxes.
Morgan believes that the wedding is mostly for the older generation because many young retail- and service-industry employees will be working during the wedding.
“Unfortunately, I have to work the bank holiday, but I will be recording the big event,” she said. “It’s something I really want to see as I figure this doesn’t happen every day. Not every country is privileged enough to have their own monarchy, and I like the way this brings attraction to the UK.”
The wedding is a contribution to the future of the monarchy and is something to be proud of, Heath added.
As Catherine Middleton marries into the royal family, the Middleton Family has created a new coat of arms, which will be placed next to Prince William’s after the marriage.
Thomas Woodcock, Senior King of Arms and designer of the new crest, said “Every coat of arms has been designed to identify a person, school or organization, and to last forever: heraldry is Europe’s oldest, most visual and strictly regulated form of identity, and it surrounds us in Britain, giving clues to our history and surroundings.”
The Middleton Family worked closely with the College of Arms to create an emblem that visually identified them as a family, according to the media brief.
The three acorns represent Mr. and Mrs. Middleton’s three children: Catherine, Philippa and James. Acorns were chosen because oak trees surrounded the area where the children were raised. Oak is also a long-established symbol of England and strength, according the media brief.
Additionally, the gold chevron, which sits at the center of the design, represents Mrs. Middleton, whose maiden name is Goldsmith. The two thinner, white chevrons allude to hills and mountains, representing the family’s outdoor pursuits. And the colors blue and red were chosen because they’re the principal colors of the British flag.
Middleton’s wedding ring is made of Welsh gold and was passed down to her by the Queen. The wedding ring has been in the family’s possession for many years.
The marriage service will end with a carriage procession, escorting the bride and groom and other wedding members to Buckingham Palace at 12:15pm for the wedding reception.
While six horses draw Prince William and Middleton in the 1902 State Landau along the processional route to Buckingham Palace, the Abbey’s church bells will ring for more than three hours with 5,000 rhythmic changes.
The 1902 State Landau also drew then-newlyweds Prince Charles of Wales and Princess Diana in 1981.
Admirers will get a last glimpse of the newlyweds while they stand on the balcony at Buckingham Palace to watch the Royal Air Force fly past at 1:30pm.
In the evening, a private dinner followed by dancing will be provided by Prince Charles for 300 of the couple’s family and friends at Buckingham Palace. According to the media brief, Prince William and Middleton have asked that anyone who wishes to give them a wedding gift consider giving instead to a charitable fund.
Donations can be made through the website royalweddingcharityfund.org, which includes a full list of charities personally chosen by Prince William and Middleton.
Athena Mekis, a former intern with the Signal Tribune, is studying in England and is covering the festivities surrounding the royal wedding.