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03.31.11

Royal Wedding Countdown: The Latest News

A royal feud (over a tiara!), the wedding route through town, and the nuptials’ whopping boost to the British economy.

Prince William and Kate Middleton are finally tying the knot, but what goes into planning the most-anticipated nuptials of the decade? Read updates on all the details.

April 28—It’s Prince William’s last day as a “free man,” so how did he spend it? Did Kate accidentally tip the paparazzi off to her wedding vows. Read the biggest stories as the anticipation gets to be almost too much to handle.

Daily Mail: There’s just 24 hours left before the wedding—and it looks like despite all the extensive planning, it was as typically frenzied as one would expect. With less than 24 hours before the big day, Prince William and Kate Middleton each celebrated their last days as singletons in very different ways. While playing soccer with friends in a South London park around 10 p.m. on Tuesday, one of William’s friends was even overheard calling it the prince’s “last day of freedom.” Meanwhile, paparazzi caught a glimpse of what could be Kate’s vows in the back of her car—if she and William are indeed writing their own. The only part of the vows paparazzi caught were the words “with so much love within our hearts,” so there’s plenty to speculate …

The Royal Couple also unveiled their official wedding portrait Thursday, all toothy smiles and white shirts. Taken by Mario Testino, the portrait will be featured in the wedding program. The journalist who carried out the couple’s engagement interview said the Royal Couple was attempting to “block out the terror of having two billion people” watch them.

Kate visited her hair stylist for the big day, with reportedly her only request being that her groom “be able to recognize me.” Hairdresser Richard Ward, who owns the salon where Kate, her maid-of-honor and sister Pippa Middleton and their mother Carole Middleton will have their styled, refused to give any details about any of the rehearsals he has done for them. The only detail he would give is that Kate’s hair will look “natural.”

It looked like the guest list had been set, but there’s been a last minute deletion: the Syrian ambassador Sami Khiyami has been asked not to attend. Given some of the high-profile snubs—Tony Blair, Gordon Brown—one Labour MP called Khiyami’s inclusion bordering on “grotesque.”

Telegraph: But it wasn’t just expeditions with friends, William and Kate had their final wedding rehearsal. William, Kate, Prince Harry and the other bridesmaids and pageboys all gathered at Westminster Abbey for the last wedding rehearsal on Wednesday. Kate was greeted with cheers from so-called superfans, many of whom are already camped outside the abbey for the big day.

He may not be a groomsman, but Kate’s younger brother James Middleton does have a job at the wedding: He will be giving the only ready at the ceremony, declaring “Let love be genuine.” James, who runs a cake making company, will read from Romans 12: 1-2, 9-18, which reads in part “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.”

To be fair, not everyone is excited for the royal wedding, but there are some Australians learning that lesson the hard way. Apparently, the royal family forced the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, or ABC, pull its satirical take on the royal wedding called The Chaser. According the newspaper The Australian, Prince Charles’ press secretary demanded the BBC obtain a written ABC letter that the program would not air. ABC is rumored to be running episodes of the Royle Family in place of The Chaser.

Guardian: Where will the first pictures of William and Kate hit newsstands? London’s evening newspaper, the Standard, hopes to get the shots in time for press—so much so, the paper is printing on a bank holiday for the first time in 50 years to cover the wedding. There will be a double edition of the paper, with the first Friday edition hitting stands at around 1 p.m. BST and the second, incorporating the balcony kiss, hitting stands around 2:30 p.m.

The Guardian’s historian and political columnist Timothy Garton Ash takes on the royal wedding Thursday, asking “is having a monarchy really that bad?” While acknowledging that the Guardian is a Republican newspaper, and that recent polls show a majority of Brits support abolishing the monarchy, Ash argues that the Windsors deserve to stick around for a while—at least because the Windsors have never abused their power of all the centuries. “If we are talking about the power of a single unelected individual, Rupert Murdoch is a far greater threat to British democracy than our hereditary head of state.”

The Sun: Are visitors from another planet coming … for the Royal Wedding? A tourist reportedly filmed two and a half minutes over Big Ben that shows an unidentified flying object hovering nearby. It’s not uncommon, says UFO researcher George Filer who said mystery craft have often been spotted during world events.

The Mirror: The official Order of the Service revealed Thursday that William and Kate will follow in Charles and Diana’s footsteps and drop the part of the wedding vow that says the bride must “obey him” and “erve hi,”

—Caroline Linton

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April 26: William and Kate aren’t the only royals demanding the Queen’s attention: Her Majesty attended the baptism of her first great-grandchild, Savannah Phillips. Meanwhile, street partiers are getting ready with gold crowns, while bets are made about what tiara Kate will wear—read all the latest from across the pond.

Daily Mail: Oddsmakers are getting ready for the big day too: They are taking bets that Kate will be the first “commoner” to wear Queen Elizabeth’s diamond tiara. The Russian fringe tiara is part of the Crown Jewels and was made in 1919 for Queen Mary and has been worn by the Queen Mother, the Queen, and Princess Anne at their weddings. Although it’s been reported that Kate plans on wearing flowers in her hair on the big day, one bookmaker in Ascot refused to even take the bet about the tiara, convinced the elderly woman had inside information.

William and Kate aren’t the only members of the Royal Family with family events this week: William’s cousin, Peter Phillips, and his wife, Autumn Phillips baptized their four-month-old daughter Savannah Phillips over the weekend. William and Kate sat this one out, as amateur photographer Ian Mcdonald said the day “could not be further from a state occasion.” But of course there was one major difference: the Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, both were in attendance for their first great-grandchild’s baptism. McDonald insisted “the Queen could have been any proud grandma.”

Details are out about the “ superfan”who has already camped out in front of Westminster Abbey for the big day. Decked out in a Kate and William tee shirt with the words “Diana Would be Proud” with a Union Jack hat and bag, John Loughrey, 56, said he has “always been loyal to the Royal Family.” Loughrey also camped out after Princess Diana’s death in 1997, and he said he attended every single hearing of the inquest into her death.

One last story from the Daily Mail: Despite the round-the-clock British coverage of the Royal Wedding, reportedly U.S. media outlets are publishing twice as much content about the big day. A Nielson study found that although Americans have only “lukewarm” interest in the wedding, U.S. media coverage is almost twice that of Britain and Australia.

Daily Mirror: It looks like Nuts magazine has chosen the “not classy” way to address the royal wedding: They released a doctored image of Kate in her underwear as a gift for William. One writer said “we could have gone down the classic wedding route and got Wills a jewel-encrusted toaster or a Tiffany teapot, but we felt that a beautiful watercolor rendering of our favorite new Princess in all her frilliest, fanciest finery was the only suitable gift for the Prince who now has everything.”

Every girl wants a crown! Burger King said they ordered quarter of a million gold crowns—the fast food chain says it has received hundreds of requests from communities across Britain holding street parties.

The Sun: There will be one private moment for William and Kate: Television cameras have been banned from entering when the couple signs the register. They will sign it in the Shrine of St. Edward—the patron saint of difficult marriages.

—Caroline Linton

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April 22—With just a week left before she’s hitched, Kate Middleton spent a warm London afternoon shopping—reportedly for underwear. But that’s not all the British press has to report on the royal couple: from the Queen’s first meeting of the in laws to a reported visit to Princess Diana’s grave, read the top news from across the pond.

Daily Mirror: With just a week before the wedding, Prince William and Kate Middleton made a sad journey: to visit his mother’s grave. A source said “it was very important for William to take Kate to visit his mum just before their wedding day.” William’s mother, Princess Diana, died in 1997 in a fatal car crash. While Kate has never met Diana, William gave his future bride his mother’s engagement ring, which he said is his way of “making sure my mother didn’t miss out on today and the fun and excitement.”

In all the talk about the royals, don’t forget about the elected head of government, David Cameron! The Prime Minister had previously said he would wear a business suit to the wedding, but he took a U-turn this week and said he would wear a traditional morning coat with tails. A source said “Of course he’s got to wear tails. He knows that.” Previous reports had said Cameron wanted to dodge his upper-class image by wearing a business suit.

Guardian: Is the American right-wing revolting against the royal wedding? Bill O’Reilly took on the royal wedding in his show this week, calling it “fun for England. They’ve got old Windsor Castle. They’ve got the old Queen running around … But in America, we don’t recognize this, we don’t have royalty in this country and people like you try to foist it upon us.” O’Reilly called Prince Charles and Camilla his favorite insult: “two pinheads.” The talk show host then also accused the royal family of “stealing” from his ancestors, the Irish. “This would be like us in America celebrating the wedding of Al Capone’s great-great-great-granddaughter because he stole the money.”

Daily Mail: Welcome to the family: Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, met Kate Middleton’s parents, Michael and Carole, for the first time on Wednesday. Sources described the meeting as having a “warm atmosphere” and being “a lovely lunch.” Prince William and his future bride, Kate Middleton, were not invited. Kate Middleton herself met the Queen in May 2008 at the wedding of Prince Anne’s son, Peter Phillips, and since then they have only met on a handful of occasions.

The Sun: While others reported on the dresses Kate bought, the Sun had a different focus: the “Brazilian-style” underwear she reportedly purchased. One shopper said she “certainly didn’t expect” to see Kate browsing for £3.90, or $6.50, panties. Another “commoner” touch by the Sun: Kate bought a “tester” pair of sunglasses at the Sloane Square store Peter Jones. A source said “Kate fell in love with the sunglasess … she said it didn’t matter if people had worn them before, she liked them too much.”

Telegraph: Here’s putting a damper on things. Anti-monarchists from across Europe said Thursday they would gather in London for the royal wedding. Led by the British group Republic, similar groups from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain are all set to arrive in London on April 29. The Swedish Republican Association, sending three representatives to London, said public support in their own country crumbled after the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling in June of last year. “A royal event makes people reflect on the institution of the monarchy, and in Sweden, many arrived at the conclusion that this is an outdated and rather bizarre phenomenon,” said the group’s head Helena Tolved.

—Caroline Linton

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April 20—Can’t make it to London for the royal wedding? Don’t worry, the whole day will be broadcast on the web for all the world to see. Even with all eyes on the future princess, nine out of ten Britons would not want to be Kate Middleton. Find out why nobody envies her and more news from across the pond.

Guardian: No TV? Don’t worry, Buckingham Palace has gone digital for the royal wedding. Live streaming will be available via YouTube and chronicled on an official website, Facebook and Flickr. Prince William’s website is also preparing a live blog with commentary. And there’s something for well-wishers who can’t make it to London: in addition of the four-four live web coverage, there will be a video wedding book “for the public to sign.”

Looks like the protesters won’t be staying at home though. Scotland Yard said Tuesday that two protests are planned, and they are considering pre-emptive arrests. Nearly 5,000 police will be deployed on the big day, and they are likely to use a section of the penal code to search victims regardless of suspicion. To secure the controversial pre-emptive arrest, police must prove that a criminal plot is imminent by minutes or possibly hours. The two groups are not necessarily protesting the royals: Muslims Against Crusades has filed for permit to demonstrate outside Westminster Abbey to promote Muslim rights and the English Defense League has applied for a counter-demonstration.

Daily Mail: So Kate Middleton snagged a prince, but it turns out nobody wants that fairy tale. I new poll has found that nearly nine out of ten women would not want to be her, and 18 percent said they weren’t jealous because of the public scrutiny Kate will undergo for the rest of her life. And among the slim 10 percent who do want to be her, it’s not really because she snagged Prince William, after all: 27 percent said they wanted to be her for the money, as opposed to 20 percent who were envious of her marriage to Prince William. Of the 2,000 people polled by YouGov, only 44 percent said they felt Kate is worth of being the future Queen.

Maybe nobody wants to be Kate, but they certainly can’t wait to see her wedding dress. As the Daily Mail points out, pretty much the whole world will have see Kate as she leaves the Goring Hotel in London for Westminster Abbey—while William waits for her there. William will spend the morning of the wedding at nearby St. Edmund’s Chapel with his father and brother.

The Sun: Everyone has seen the hotel suite where Kate will spend her last night as single woman, but what about her groom? A spokesman for William confirmed Tuesday that he will spend his last few days at his father’s London home, joined by his brother. The night before the wedding, Prince Charles and his sons will be at St. James’s Palace.

Telegraph: The boost for the economy? A survey by Moneysupermarket, a price comparison site, estimates £480 million, or $784 million, will be spent on the festivities. While only a small number of those polled said they would be buying royal wedding items, 34 percent admitted to celebrating in some way—spend an average of £29 per person. The research group Verdict has calculated an extra £620 million, or $1 billion, will be spent on memorabilia and party supplies as consumers stock up for a four-day weekend.

Daily Mirror: They may not be royalty yet, but the Middletons have received their own coat of arms for the royal wedding. There are three acorns from the oak trees at the family home, with an acorn representing each of their three children. An inverted V represents Carole Middleton, whose maiden name is Goldsmith, and two Vs for the family’s love of skating. The blue ribbon indicates an unmarried woman.

—Caroline Linton

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April 19—There’s only 10 days left until Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding—time to get serious about that dress and honeymoon. But that’s not all there is to report: From the Daily Mail’s breakdown to some lesser-known Middletons to the BBC’s advice to anti-monarchs, we break down the best news from Britain.

The Telegraph: Is Prince William organizing a secret honeymoon? With so many of the details of the royal wedding already published, William is reportedly planning a surprise two-week honeymoon for his bride-to-be. While on a trip to Australia, William said “I will have to come back, maybe we’ll have a honeymoon in Cairns”—spreading rumors like wildfire the couple was heading “down under.” But there’s no definite plan yet—only the timeline, since William is required to return to his search and rescue unit in mid-May.

The idea of a “commoner” marrying a prince has captured a lot of hearts, but English constitutional historian David Starkey has summarized their romance as representing “new elite combining family contacts and education.” While Kate may not be from the same class as William, they both attended elite universities and have similar friends and lifestyles. Since William’s parents marred nearly 30 years ago, the British class system has become so much more fluid—allowing a “middle class” girl like Kate to even have those doors opened up for her.

Sophie Cranston became the name on everyone’s lips—after Kate’s of course—as speculation ran wild that the designer has been chosen for Kate’s dress. Bookmakers stopped making bets on the identity of the dressmaker five weeks ago after conflicting reports came out, but William Hill re-opened the books Monday and immediately put Cranston in as the 6-4 favorite, behind Sara Burton as 1-2.

Daily Mail: And they haven’t even seen her in her wedding dress yet! A poll found that Brits found Kate to be one of the most beautiful royals in history, coming in one notch about Princess Diana. Kate came in only behind Princess Grace of Monaco and Queen Rania of Jordan. Among the men, Prince Carl Philip of Sweden won the coveted spot for men, while Prince Harry came in fourth, just ahead of his older brother—while their father, Prince Charles, came in tenth.

Despite the buzz about Kate’s “humble” beginnings, here’s a breakdown of just how rich her family really is: estimates put her parents as being worth somewhere in the neighborhood of £30 million, or $49 million. The family fortune all comes out of their business, started when Carole Middleton was pregnant with Kate. It started just as Carole creating party bags, and now has grown into a full-blown empire with 30 employees and an on-line presence. Of course, the business is not their only source of wealth: the family has a small mortgage on their house in Bucklebury, and they bought several acres of land near their home in 2005.

Don’t forget about the “ everyday folk” related to the Middletons! Continuing with a series starting Monday, the Mail lists some of the unknown relatives of the Middleton clan—from hairdressers to fitness instructors to a salesman who admits he had no idea bout his royal connection “until a reporter knocked on my door.”

BBC: Are you sick of hearing about the royal wedding? Are in fact anti-monarchy? According to the BBC, nearly one-fifth of Brits are Republicans, but perhaps an even larger number don’t care to participate in the royal wedding at all. Given the blanket media coverage and the outpouring in the streets, there’s little for a royal-skeptic to do, except possibly throw a rival street party or leave the country.

Daily Mirror: It’s all fun and games along the parade route—and the London Police are working on protecting every inch of the city to keep it that way. Dogs sniffed along the Mall outside Buckingham Palace Monday as officers checked drainpipes and lampposts for any unusual activity.

—Caroline Linton

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April 14: Is the royal wedding just a circus act? Jerry Seinfeld thinks so, calling the nuptials “a huge game of pretend.” While history’s weather forecast looks good for April 29, a Household Cavalry Soldier fell during the parade rehearsal. Find out about these and more of the latest goings-on from the British press.

BBC: Looks like there won’t be any rain on their wedding day: the Met office has anticipated “clear skies and sunshine” for the royal wedding—especially if previous year’s are any indication. The average high temperatures for April 29 over the past 20 years are 68 degrees Fahrenheit—and despite April’s reputation for rain, the average rainfall is only 2.6 mm.

Telegraph: This could be strangest royal wedding memento yet: A jelly bean bearing Kate’s likeness. Wesley Hoise said when his girlfriend, Jessica White, opened the jar he “saw [Kate] immediately. She was literally lying there staring at me.” Hoise and White plan on selling the mango-flavored jelly for on eBay £500, or about $800. That’s a lot for one jelly bean, but even the joint managing director for the Jelly Bean Factory in Dublin admitted that the story sounds “truly incredible.”

On a more serious note, the Telegraph reports that Prince William had to request permission to take leave from the Royal Air Force for the wedding and honeymoon. William’s fellow squad, the crew at C Flight, 22 Sqn, described the Prince as “just another member of the team.” William invited his entire rescue unit, so members of other Search and Rescue Squadrons have volunteered to cover their shifts for them.

Daily Mail: Let’s just chalk this one up to an off-day. Two Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment soldiers—from one of the oldest and most senior regiments in the Army—fell off his horse during a rehearsal for the wedding parade. The soldiers’ horses bumped up against each other, causing the riders to fall from their mounts and hit the grass. One witness said “to say they did not look pleased was an understatement.”

And what does one of the U.S.’s biggest comedians have to say about the royal wedding? Jerry Seinfeld called the royal wedding “absurd” on the talk show Daybreak, calling the nuptials a “circus act.” “You know, it’s a dress-up,” Seinfeld told the stunned hosts. “It’s a classic English thing of let’s play dress-up … and that’s what the Royal Family is—it’s a huge game of pretend.” After watching the interview, Daybreak host Christine Bleakley said “how dare he!” and co-host Adrian Chiles said hearing an “American criticizing the Royal Family” turns him into a “Royalist.” Seinfeld might want to parse his words about the royal family: the comedian will be performing his stand-up show at the O2 on June 3 to a British audience who might not appreciate his words.

—Caroline Linton

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April 14: Princess Diana’s famous earrings will be at the wedding—worn by her sister. That wasn’t the only news out of Britain—from a “tongue-in-cheek” reality show about snagging a prince the beefed-up security, read the some of the royal wedding news from across the pond.

Evening Standard: Kate Middleton has Princess Diana’s ring, and there will be other jewelry of the late princess at her son’s wedding: The diamond earrings that were “something borrowed” will be worn by Lady Sarah McCorquodale, Princess Diana’s older sister. The earrings once belonged to McCorquodale and Diana’s mother, France Shand Kydd. The earrings were removed for a traveling exhibit of items from the iconic 1981 wedding so they could be “with the family” for William and Kate’s wedding.

The Sun: For all the girls in Britain who want to snag Prince Harry now that William is taking, there’s a show out there for you: Four-times married reality show star Patsy Kensit will host a tongue-in-cheek show with tips to marry a prince. Kensit will quiz celebrities and “high society experts” on the right way for a commoner to land a prince. Despite number of divorces, a source called Kensit “ideal because she has never had any trouble getting a high-profile man.”

Daily Mirror: Why could possibly go wrong? Both William and Kate admitted they had pre-wedding jitters, with William saying last week his knees were “tapping” during a rehearsal. Kate, meanwhile, “yes of course I am” when a well-wisher asked if she’s nervous at her final public appearance before the wedding. Another woman said Kate told her “I can’t believe it’s coming very soon now.”

Telegraph: All the stories about jewelry and nerves are nice, but the Telegraph has another important aspect of the royal wedding day: the security. Snipers on rooftops, undercover officers among the crowd and armed police trained to deal with a Mumbai-style terror attack will be stationed throughout London, Scotland Yard said. Threats from al Qaeda-inspired extremists, dissident Irish Republican terrorists, anarchists and even lone stalkers have been factored into the police plan. The biggest hurdle will be balancing the thousands of onlookers expected to come into town for the big day. Also in the lead-up to the wedding, the every corner of Westminster Abbey is expected to be checked by sniffer dogs, and sewers and drains along the parade route will be closed off. The estimated security cost is £20 million, or $33 million. And it’s only a matter of time before London police have to kick up security even more: the 2012 Olympics.

Time for a history lesson in the Telegraph: how important Westminster Abbey is the royal family? Built in the 11th century, the Abbey has been the backdrop of royal weddings, coronations and funerals—including Princess Diana’s in 1997. Benedictine monks first came to the site in the middle of the 10th century to what was known as the “Thorny Island” on the banks of the Thames and built what would be known later officially as the Collegiate Church of St. Peter. It has served coronations from William the Conqueror in 1066 to Queen Elizabeth II’s in 1953.

Daily Mail: It looks like not only William and Kate invited their exes! Prince Charles put Lucia Santa Cruz on the guestlist—the woman rumored to be his first love. As with most groom’s fathers, Charles had some people added to the guestlist: Kazak oil billionaire Timur Kuanyshev, Jon Zammet, a PR chief at Audi, and Juergen Pierburg, the former playboy and the son of a Nazi industrialist.

BBC: And what about the music? The eight-member Fanfare Trumpets of the Central Band of the Royal Air Force will play at the royal wedding on April 29. One of their songs? A specially commissioned piece entitled the “Valiant and the Brave,” the motto of William’s squad. One of the trumpeters in the group, Senior Aircraftman Jonathan Pippen, said the day will be “the highlight of his career.”

—Caroline Linton

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April 11: Wills and Kate made their last public appearance before the big day—luring hundreds of well-wishers out in the rain to send their best. Meanwhile, George Michael hinted at a special royal song, and the best wedding apps are revealed.

Daily Mail: Will and Kate gave their last public appearance before the wedding—with Kate looking “super slim,” as the Daily Mail noted, at the opening of the Aldridge Community Academy in Darwen. In what is hopefully not a precursor to the wedding day, the couple was met with rain in Darwen, Lancashire. Wearing a blue suit—many remarked on its similarity to Princess Diana’s signature looks—Kate met with thousands of well-wishers as well as cyclists and civic dignitaries. With more than 100 accredited newspaper, TV and radio journalists, from all over the world attending, the royal couple sure helped lend some attention to the school’s cause.

Telegraph: Prime Minister David Cameron decided to put in a favor with the royal couple: He went out Monday to promote royal wedding street parties. It appears most of the attention to the royal wedding comes from London and the southeastern portion of the country, while only 20 street parties are planned in the whole of Scotland. With only 4,000 permits so far—compared with tens of thousands in 1981 when William’s parents were married—Cameron urged Britons to “go out and have fun” on April 29.

The Telegraph also breaks down the best royal wedding apps. The gossip magazine Hello!’s app comes out on top as a “basic picture-driven app that works especially well on the iPad.” Other top apps include the ITN Royal wedding and the Dress the Royals—Wedding Edition, which borders on “tasteless and disrespectful, but it will provide the more immature user with a giggle or two.”

Guardian:This probably isn’t the street party support David Cameron wanted. The anti-monarchy group Republic’s application for a street party was denied, the Guardian reported Monday. The Camden Council, which denied the permit, said the group needed to provide a better management plan and consult local residents.

The Daily Mirror: While most other publications focused on Kate during the soon-to-be-wed couple’s school outing, the Mirror focused on William’s tribute to his future wife. William gave a speech at the Academy to launch a new award program named after him, telling the crowd, “I know that I am very fortunate. I have the support of my family and friends, I do a job I enjoy … and I have Catherine.” William also thanked the Royal Air Force, which named an award in his honor, the SkillForce Prince’s Award, which will honor young people’s contributions to their communities.

Looking for the perfect song to celebrate the royal couple? George Michael will be releasing a song via Twitter for the royal couple. He would not reveal what song it is, but gave a few hints: “It was written in the seventies by a genius. The first word of the title is You,” Michael said.

The Mirror also has some dos and don’ts for the 650 guests: For instance, don’t mention Borat, as Kazakhstani oil billionaire Timur Kuanyshev will be attendance. The breakdown of the guests is as follows: 50 chosen by the queen, 250 by Prince Charles and Camilla, 100 by the Middletons and 250 friends of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

—Caroline Linton

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April 10: The guest list has been leaked—but who made the cut? In other news from the British press, one in three Brits wants Queen Elizabeth II to abdicate to make room for Prince William, and more people may be tuning in on the big day than originally thought.

Daily Mail: Is it too early to request a seating chart? The Daily Mail reports it has a copy of the royal wedding’s guest list, consisting of 350 people—250 from the royals’ side and 100 from Kate’s family. Some of the highlights: the Beckhams, Guy Ritchie (Kate’s sixth cousin once removed), and Rowan Atkinson. There are a slew of the Middleton relatives invited, as well as a number of her friends from work, university, and school pals from Marlborough. William has reportedly broken tradition and invited several of his aides to the reception, as well as his former nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke. But perhaps the biggest surprise on the guest list: Two of Kate’s rumored exes are invited, while four of Prince William’s ex-girlfriends made the cut.

In other news, the battle for Kate’s stylist is on. On the list of potential designers: Prime Minister David Cameron’s sister-in-law squares off against singer Bryan Ferry’s girlfriend, Amanda Sheppard, who is a friend of William’s. An aide says that although Kate has always chosen her own clothes—taking personal credit for her now-iconic style—that will all change when she is married. Buckingham Palace, of course, did not comment on the future princess’ stylist, only saying “that is private business.”

Telegraph: With the guest list making waves, the Telegraph has the details on the slighted ones: those who do not have a plus one on their invite. “It’s a nightmare,” said a friend of one of those unlucky couples where one person is invited and the other is not. “His wife was absolutely thrilled when the invitation fell on the doormat, but she couldn’t believe it when it made no mention of her.” Yikes.

Before the reception, though, there will be an iconic moment for photographers: William and Kate will share a “balcony kiss” at Buckingham Palace, royal sources tell the Telegraph. Prince Charles and Princess Diana of course shared a balcony kiss, as did the Duke of Duchess of York at their 1986 nuptials. Does that seem like bad luck? No worries, say royal insiders—William and Kate are receiving advice from the bishop of London, the Rt. Rev. Richard Chartres, who will give the address at their wedding as well.

The Sun: It’s a good thing for Prince Charles that the Brits won’t be voting for the next monarch: Only 41 percent of 2,000 people polled said they wanted Charles to be king, with the rest favoring William to take over. There also was bad news for Queen Elizabeth II: One in three wants her to abdicate within the next two years in favor of William. Many of those numbers come from people aged 18-34, an effect some are attributing to the “fairy tale” glow William and Kate’s wedding is taking.

The Mirror: Despite the news a few days ago that only a third of Brits will tune in for the royal wedding, at least they won’t be traveling to avoid it. Despite the wedding’s Friday date giving them an extended break, nearly two-thirds of Brits say they will stay home—and this survey found that of those staying at home, nearly-three quarters will watch from home. Nine percent said they will be celebrating with a street party.

—Caroline Linton

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April 8: Kicking off the weekend coverage: some royal wedding memorabilia. The Kate Middleton doll is ready, a royal wedding toilet seat cover is on sale, and a Spanish resort town begs the soon-to-be newlyweds to come for their honeymoon.

Daily Mail: If you want a princess doll, Hamley's has the doll for you. The Barbie-size Kate Middleton doll went on sale at the London toy store on Friday. Formally known as the "Princess Catherine Doll," it costs £35 and carries a clutch bag that's an exact replica of Middleton's and shoes that have a miniature Beatrix Ong label on the insole. But it might not be just for children: The doll's ring contains a real purple amethyst.

Daily Mirror: Want the tackiest royal wedding souvenir? While there have been tons of offbeat memorabilia for sale, this one might take the cake for the tackiest: a royal wedding toilet seat cover.

Britain's long-running drama EastEnders will be addressing the royal wedding: There will be a special episode on April 29 featuring a royal wedding street party. A source said, "There was no way the script writers could ignore the street party fever sweeping the nation. EastEnders was always going to mark the royal wedding with a bang."

The Guardian: It's not all roses for the Middletons these days. The family has contacted the Press Commission about possible harassment by photographers. While no official compliant has been filed yet, the Middletons said they have been followed throughout London and they want to alert editors to what is going on. St. James's Palace released a statement saying the "Middleton family and St. James's Palace remain grateful to editors for their restraint and adherence to the code over the past couple of months."

The Telegraph: In all the hype, you could be forgiven for forgetting that the royal family is the head of the Church of England, and William's wedding celebrates the future head of the church. After the high-profile collapses of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's marriage, as well as Prince Andrew and Fergie's marriage—both breakups involved infidelity in some way—the church has written a new prayer for the upcoming nuptials involving fidelity. The Church of England has advised that the fidelity prayer is intended for "all couples preparing for their wedding."

The Sun: Pushing forward with the scoops, the Sun reported Friday that the newlyweds have received an invitation from the Spanish tourist hotspot Benidorm, where many Brits vacation. The royal couple is expected to go to the Caribbean island of Mustique after the wedding, although Botswana in southern Africa has not been ruled out. The palace has not commented on Benidorm as a honeymoon option.

—Caroline Linton

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April 7: A royal feud (over a tiara!), the wedding route through town, and the nuptials’ whopping boost to the British economy.

Daily Mail: Come and knock on their door… it’s three’s company at Clarence House. Prince William and Kate Middleton will have a roommate after the wedding: Prince Harry. Yep, that’s right: The groom’s little brother will be bunking with royal couple while they decide where to live.

Meanwhile, The Daily Mail has the scoop on a potential royal feud. While Camilla reportedly plans to get all inked up with a henna tattoo for the big day, she wants Middleton to wear a traditional tiara—while Middleton wants to wear flowers in her hair. It’s about more than just tiaras, though: The wedding has a number of “middle class” touches that puts it out-of-sync with Camilla. There’s a floral cake made by Fiona Cairns, who makes cakes for supermarkets; a buffet lunch; and the guests travel around town by bus.

The Guardian: While an estimated 2 billion people will tune in worldwide for the royal wedding, British advertisers will not get to share in the glory as there will be no ads during the broadcast. The British Office of Communications ruled the couple must marry without corporate distraction, making the royal wedding one of the few events in British television history without ads.

The Sun: The Sun breaks down the wedding route through London, but admits there’s one important detail it (nor any press) doesn't know: Kate’s dress. Middleton has insisted she wants to keep all specs about her dress secret, in fear that Prince William will get a sneak peek.

Daily Mirror: Having a street party for the royal wedding? The Mirror reports that residents of streets with William, Kate, or Catherine in their names can throw a free street party for the wedding.

Daily Star: Perhaps America should consider appointing a royal family: According to the Daily Star, the royal wedding will provide a £3 billion (about $4.9 billion) boost to the British economy. It’s all part of the “triple whammy”: the Easter holidays, the royal wedding, and then the early May bank holiday. The vacation days will bring in revenue, but the tipping point will be the wedding memorabilia.

—Caroline Linton

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April 5: The British press is buzzing Tuesday with details into Kate Middleton’s past as a bullying victim—and a poll that shows only one in three Britons will tune into the royal nuptials. Plus, “exclusive” honeymoon details and the first royal wedding app.

The Telegraph: If anyone was wondering why Middleton asked guests to donate to an anti-bullying charity, the Telegraph gives the whole Mean Girls rundown today. Under the headline “ As Kate Knows, Girls Make the Best Bullies,” the Telegraph talks to Jessica Hay, a boarding school classmate of Middeton, who claims, as a 13-year-old, the future princess used to get pushed to the back of the lunch line—and nobody wanted to eat with her. Things reportedly got so bad that Middleton’s parents transferred her to Marlborough College, where she thrived.

Daily Express: How will Britons celebrate the royal wedding? Not with street parties or watching it on television, according to Tuesday’s Daily Express. Only one in three “patriotic” Britons will tune in, according to a survey from the dating site Zoosk.co.uk, with another two in ten saying they’ll hide out under the duvet and hope the day “will just be over.”

The Guardian: Even royalty isn’t above the law. Today’s Guardian offers an in-depth look at now might be the time for the nation to update its “outdated” royal marriage laws. For example, the Act of Settlement states that a royal drops out of the order of succession if he or she marries a Catholic, but the law says nothing about Hindus or Muslims. And of course: the Queen must give her consent before any member of the royal family marries, which banned Princess Margaret from marrying her lover in the 1950s.

Daily Mail: In the Daily Mail’s story on Kate’s struggles with bullying, classmate Hay (who was also quoted in Tuesday’s Telegraph) said the school’s mean girls “rounded” Middleton out because “she was quite a soft and nice person.” The Sun also picked up Hay’s quotes, saying Middleton was left “an emotional wreck” by the bullying. But the Mail also offers insight into Hay herself, who was interviewed for a new book called Kate by Sean Smith. Sources say Hay is “not and has never been friend” to Middleton and “many claims are just fantasies.”

Daily Mirror: Time to download your Royal Wedding app—available for only $1.19 from the Daily Mirror! For anyone interested in fantasizing about the wedding in storybook form, this is the app for you: ten chapters’ worth of picture galleries and an audio narration by royal correspondent James Whitaker.

The Daily Star: The Daily Star has a so-called exclusive about the next step for the newlyweds: the honeymoon! According to the Star, the couple will travel to the Greek island of Corfu, best known for “budget holidays” and as a “clubbing Mecca.” Sources said the pair will stay away from the cheap drinks and party hotspots—and will instead lounge on the richer, quieter parts of the island.

—Caroline Linton

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March 31: Deciphering the Dress Code

Those lucky enough to score an invite to the “I dos” will appreciate BBC’s rundown of what fits the dress code. The invitation states guests should wear "uniform, morning coat or lounge suit," but that means little to a commoner’s ears. Here’s the truth: For men, military dress is only appropriate if they are members of the armed forces. Otherwise, a black or grey morning coat with a black or yellow waistcoat will suffice. (Not much leeway there for colors—will confirmed guest Elton John be forced to tone down his signature bright hues?) And to avoid committing an accessory faux pas, please carry gloves matching your waistcoat. Women are recommended to wear matching high heels with a "smart" day dress—a suit or dress with a jacket will do nicely. Men should bring their best top hats to wear outdoors, but women's hats are not mandatory—although we imagine the queen’s is going to be killer.

—Caroline Linton