x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

The Instant Expert: The Royal Wedding

Get the lowdown on the latest British royal wedding with our Instant Expert.

WHAT'S GOING ON? Where have you been? Wills, the son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana and second-in-line to the British throne, proposed to his long-term girlfriend, Catherine (Kate) Middleton. This has now been the biggest news item since, well, his father proposed to Lady Di. The couple met at the University of St Andrews in 2001 and have been together pretty much ever since. They split up briefly in 2007, a time that Kate now calls very "difficult".

WHEN IS THE WEDDING? The date is set for April 29, at Westminster Abbey in London, where both the Queen and the Queen Mother were married. Princess Diana's funeral was held there, although she is buried on an island at her family's estate. Wills, 28, presented Kate with the late princess's engagement ring. "It is very special to me and Kate is very special to me now as well. It is only right the two are put together," explained the young prince. The British prime minister David Cameron has announced there will be a public holiday on the day of the wedding.

WHO IS KATE? "It could have been me!" millions of girls across the UK are wailing. Kate, also 28, is just an ordinary girl, from an ordinary family. Her mother was once a trolley dolly, for heaven's sake. Gone are the days when Royals had to marry aristos. For anyone keen to join the Royal Family, Prince Harry is still up for grabs.

IS HER MAJESTY AMUSED? Parallels have inevitably been drawn with Diana, but most pundits predict a happy ending this time, apart from one very grumpy Bishop Pete Broadbent, who says the royal marriage will last only seven years. Kate has been warmly welcomed into the royal fold and is unlikely to rock the boat with antics such as Fergie's famous toe-sucking incident. Although there was that see-through dress she wore at a university fashion show that reportedly caught the undergraduate prince's eye.

WHAT WILL SHE WEAR? An announcement is expected shortly, but she will most certainly go British. The favourite is Phillipa Lepley, a London-based bridal couture designer. But Vivienne Westwood has also been mooted, and a long shot is Diana's wedding dress designer, Elizabeth Emanuel.

HOW SOON WILL SHE BE QUEEN? If the great British public has anything to do with it, sooner rather than later. Most would rather see Wills accede to the throne when the Queen's reign ends than Charles. Poor old Charles. Is he the new Waity Katie?

Four of the best British royal weddings ...

PRINCE CHARLES AND LADY DIANA SPENCER July 29, 1981, at St Paul's Cathedral. Watched by more than 750 million viewers on television. Diana's wedding dress cost £9,000, or £22,000 (Dh127,000) in today's money.

PRINCESS MARGARET AND LORD SNOWDOWN May 6, 1960, at Westminster Abbey. Margaret had wanted to marry the divorced commoner Peter Townsend, but the government told her she could not unless she gave up her royal status.

QUEEN ELIZABETH AND PRINCE PHILIP November 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey. The couple are both second cousins once removed and third cousins. They received 2,500 wedding gifts from around the world.

THE DUKE OF WINDSOR AND WALLIS SIMPSON June 3, 1937, at Château de Candé in the Loire Valley. The Duke had been King Edward VIII but gave up his throne to wed the American divorcée.

... and one that never happened

QUEEN ELIZABETH I The "Virgin Queen", born September 7, 1533, experienced the execution of her mother by her father, which may have influenced her not to marry. She was also worried that if she wed and her husband became King, he would take away her control of England.