x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

1,900 on guest list for UK's royal wedding

Foreign leaders, church officials, royals from around the world, friends and family on guest list for Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding

LONDON // Prince William and Kate Middleton have invited 1,900 guests to their wedding in April, palace officials said Sunday, filling Westminster Abbey with a vast array of royals, diplomats, family and friends.

Gilded invitations issued in the name of Queen Elizabeth II were sent out by post on Wednesday and Thursday, with the monarch's EIIR cypher and the text die-stamped in gold.

When the couple became engaged in November, Kate said that marrying into the royal family was "quite a daunting prospect" -- and the list of dignitaries who will be attending the wedding ceremony on April 29 is nothing if not daunting.

In a reflection of William's position as second in line to the British throne, the list includes foreign leaders, church officials, diplomats, royals from across the world as well as their own friends and family.

However, not everyone will get to attend the party after the church service -- only about 600 people have been invited to a lunchtime reception at Buckingham Palace, hosted by the queen.

An even more select group of 300 has been invited to dinner followed by dancing hosted by William's father Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.

Although palace officials declined to name individual guests, they revealed that more than 1,000 will be drawn from William and Kate's family and friends, including most likely friends from St Andrews university, where the couple met.

About 50 members of the British royal family have been invited -- although it emerged this weekend that the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, is not among them -- in addition to 40 members of foreign royal families.

A further 80 guests will be drawn from Prince William's charities, which include homelessness charity Centrepoint, the Tusk Trust conservation charity and the Royal Marsden Hospital, where his late mother Diana was also a patron.

Then there will be 200 members of government, parliament and the diplomatic corps, as well as 60 governors-general and prime ministers from Commonwealth countries, and 30 members of the British military.