Royal invite list includes Arab royals but no Obama
With everything set for the royal wedding, we look at who is attending and who is left out.
Nobody wants an ex-flame at their wedding, or do they?
Showing their mature sides, both Kate Middleton and Prince Will have invited their exes to share their special day.
Middleton has invited her ex-boyfriend Rupert Finch, whom she dated at St Andrews before she started seeing William, and her Marlborough friend Willem Marx (inset), with whom she was rumoured to have had a relationship in the sixth form.
William has invited all his exes — Isabella Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe, whom William is said to have pursued during the summer of 2004, his close friend and rumoured former flame Jecca Craig, Arabella Musgrave, who dated William the summer before he went to St Andrews, along with William's first girlfriend, Rose Farquhar.
Davina Duckworth-Chad — once named as a potential bride for William — will attend with her husband, Tom Barber.
In a bid to stave off months of unrelenting digging by the world's media, St James' Palace released a list confirming the big names expected at Westminster Abbey on Friday.
There aren't many surprises with British royals, foreign royalty and heads of state from all over the Commonwealth, military and religious leaders making up the majority of the 1,900 people expected to attend the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
But while William, 28, acknowledges the importance of the tradition of inviting the dignitaries you would expect, he has demonstrated, just like his mother, he is just as comfortable with the modern world of celebrities.
English soul singer Joss Stone, Madonna's ex-husband and film director Guy Ritchie and comedian Rowan Atkinson, probably best known as the hapless Mr Bean, will be there.
Ritchie is simply listed as "a friend of Prince William and Miss Middleton" and "a well-established filmmaker, who directed Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and Revolver". Surely it must be a first for a Palace press release to print British cult film titles.
He was first introduced to the Prince by William Duckworth-Chad, whose sister, Davina, is a friend and former holiday companion of the Prince.
Sir Elton John, a good friend of Diana's, will be at Westminster Abbey with his partner, David Furnish, along with David and Victoria Beckham.
As president of the Football Association, the Prince has met the footballer on several occasions including working together as ambassadors of England's unsuccessful bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
More to follow
Others sportsmen include the Australian Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe, who met William during a royal visit to the Antipodes last year, former coach of the England Rugby Team Sir Clive Woodward, Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas and Sir Trevor Brooking, the Football Association's Director of Football Development.
Another familiar face (if you recognise her with her new nose) will be Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, the television presenter and socialite.
Martyn Compton of the Household Cavalry, who was injured in an ambush in Afghanistan in 2006 leaving him with no ears or nose, has also been invited.
And who thought the media would be left out in the cold? ITV journalist Tom Brady, who conducted Middleton and William's engagement interview, has been lucky enough to secure a place inside.
St James' Palace confirmed for the first time that Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa will be attending.
Around 40 other foreign royals from countries including Denmark, Norway, Spain, Thailand and Morocco will be in attendance.
One billionaire from the Forbes list is named. Galen Weston, the second richest person in Canada, worth $7.1 billion (Dh26.07 billion) and known in the UK as the owner of Selfridges, will be present with his wife.
The official list is just as interesting for who it leaves out.
While William's uncle Earl Spencer will attend with his latest fiancee, Karen Gordon, the peer's second wife, Caroline, Countess Spencer, who was kind and supportive to William as he grew up, will not be there saying it would be "awkward".
Joan Rivers, the American comedienne who is a friend of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall and attended their wedding reception at Windsor Castle in 2005, has not made the final cut.
Palace officials said only crowned heads of states are traditionally invited to royal weddings, and that political leaders who are not from the 54-member Commonwealth, such as US President Barack Obama or French President Nicolas Sarkozy, were not sent invitations.
Schedule and fly-by
According to the document, the events of the day are scheduled to begin on Friday at 8.15am, when the general congregation will arrive at the Great North Door of Westminster Abbey.
The bride and groom will leave for the Abbey at 10.51am and 10.38am respectively and the service will begin at 11am.
A carriage precession (the bit we all love) with the newlyweds will leave the Abbey at 12.15pm, arriving at Buckingham Palace 15 minutes later.
A special Royal Air Force fly-by will occur overhead just five minutes after the Queen and the bride and groom, together with their families, appear on the balcony at the palace.
A combination of vintage and modern RAF aircraft including legendary Second World War fighters a Lancaster Bomber, flanked on one side by a Spitfire and on the other by a Hurricane. A Windsor (diamond) Formation consisting of four modern fighter aircraft will follow.
Who'll sit where?
Any couple planning a wedding will tell you one of the biggest headaches of all is the seating plan. Well, imagine working it out for almost 2,000 people. The seating plan for Friday's ceremony at Westminster Abbey revealed the select few who will witness the ceremony up close.About 1,000 people will sit in the section of the abbey where views of the altar are restricted.
Queen Elizabeth II and other royal family members will sit in the front row across the aisle from the Middleton family. They will be closest to the abbey's sanctuary, where William and his bride Kate Middleton will stand.
The Middletons will sit with the couple's friends and Princess Diana's Spencer family.
By Kelly Crane
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