LONDON // News that Britain's royal wedding invites are in the post has touched off lively press speculation, with former England soccer captain David Beckham and the King of Bahrain tipped to be attending but not Barack Obama or Sarah Ferguson.
Royal watchers say Beckham, who worked with Prince William on England's failed bid to host the World Cup in 2018, and his ex-Spice Girl wife Victoria will be among the 1,900 guests at London's Westminster Abbey on April 29.
Other lucky recipients of invites include Prince William's ex-girlfriends Jecca Craig and Olivia Hunt and Kate Middleton's ex-boyfriend Rupert Finch, newspapers said.
Pop star Elton John, who was close to the prince's late mother Princess Diana and sang at her funeral, is also expected to be going, papers said. He told Reuters last month he did not think he would get an invite. Among the members of 40 foreign invited royals is the King of Bahrain, a decision criticised by British media as the island kingdom witnesses protests and bloodshed during its worst unrest for years.
However, US President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy miss out as the wedding is not classed as a full state occasion.
Ms Ferguson, ex-wife of William's uncle Prince Andrew who was married at Westminster Abbey in 1986, has also been left off the guest list, media said.
William's office refused to confirm who had been invited but newspapers reported that Queen Elizabeth and William's father Prince Charles had approved the guest list.
"The couple have made their own decisions about who to invite," an unnamed royal aide told the Sun tabloid.
"Prince William has led a fairly ordinary life in the military and the couple's guests reflect this."
Royal officials have confirmed that 1,000 guests are friends and family, 50 will be members of Britain's royal family, and 40 will be foreign royalty.
There will be 200 guests from the British government, parliament and diplomatic service, 80 guests from charities William is involved in, 30 people from the armed forces, and 60 senior government figures from Commonwealth countries.
About 600 people have been invited to a lunchtime reception after the wedding service at Buckingham Palace and 300 to an evening event hosted by Prince Charles.