Around 1,900 guests will witness Prince William and Kate Middleton exchange wedding vows on April 29, palace officials said Sunday, filling Westminster Abbey with an array of royals, world leaders, family and friends.
Gilded invitations issued in the name of Queen Elizabeth II began dropping onto doormats in Britain and abroad after being sent out on Wednesday and Thursday, with the monarch's EIIR cypher die-stamped in gold.
AdvertisementWhile names of the guests were not released, the list of dignitaries due to attend the wedding on April 29 is likely to meet Kate's expectations that marrying into the royal family would amount to "quite a daunting prospect."
In a reflection of William's position as second in line to the British throne, the list includes foreign leaders, church officials, diplomats and royals from across the world.
More than 1,000 guests will be drawn from William and Kate's family and friends, including most likely friends from St Andrews university, where the couple met, St James's Palace revealed.
Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip will be at the head of the royal family group filling the pews, along with William's father Prince Charles and his best man and brother Prince Harry.
Kate's parents Michael and Carole Middleton will also have front row seats along with sister Pippa, her maid of honour, and her brother James.
However, not all the guests have been invited to a lunchtime reception following the ceremony and an even smaller group will attend dinner followed by dancing at Buckingham Palace.
Guests received the invites in pale brown envelopes in the past few days.
Below the royal cypher are the words: "The Lord Chamberlain is commanded by the Queen to invite [name] to the marriage of His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales K.G. with Miss Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey on Friday, 29th April, 2011 at 11.00am."
Guests are to reply to the office of the Lord Chamberlain, one of the top officials in the royal household, who is overseeing many aspects of the wedding preparations.
The card also sets out dress requirements as "uniform, morning coat or lounge suit."
Following the wedding ceremony, about 600 people have been invited to the 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 Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.
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.