Royal Wedding Primer: A Commoner's Guide to William and Kate Landmarks
Keeping up with the saga that is Prince William and Kate Middleton has been exhausting to say the least. On April 29, the eyes of the world will be on London as the Prince and the common girl say "I do." It's a fairytale the likes of which haven't been seen since, well, William's parents, Diana and Charles, got together.
With the media storm that has been brewing since well before Wills proposed back in October, it's hard to keep all the details straight. So, we've put together a little Royal Wedding primer to help make sense of all the details of the big day. From the young couple's meeting to their posh first home, here's the lowdown on the wedding trail. And, when the nuptials are finally over and rooms are actually available in London again, let it be your tour guide to the epic that was.
Where it All Began: University of St. Andrews
Prince William enrolled at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland in 2001. Not surprisingly, female applications to the university skyrocketed afterward. But, Wills' future leading lady was already in his midst. Both lived in St. Salvator's hall in their first year. Apparently, when first introduced to Miss Catherine Middleton, William spilled his drink on himself. Smooth.
Lucky for him, he rebounded and the pair became close friends. As the story goes, William had eyes for Kate after watching her walk in a charity fashion show in that now famous sheer black dress (which was auctioned off in March). However, the relationship stayed strictly platonic, and Will and Kate even became housemates. But, of course, the two eventually gave into their desires and began dating in 2002. The rest, as they say, is history.
The Proposal: Kenya
For a while there, it looked like these two would never tie the knot. The relationship was touch and go for a while back in 2004 and 2007 when Will and Kate took a break. Though it was short lived, their courtship wasn't, lending Kate the nickname "Waity Katie."
Finally, in October 2010, William popped the question in Kenya. The pair were on holiday in Kenya with friends, but Will--that shifty character--managed to find time to sneak away. The low key event took place in a cabin on Mt. Kenya. In a television interview, Kate admits that she didn't see it coming. After seven years, she probably never saw it coming.
His Stag Party: Norfolk, England
William's stag party (British speak for bachelor party) is rumored to have happened at an estate in Norfolk on the east cost of England. The location is believed to be 800-year-old Heartland Abbey, owned by a friend. And, what it lacked in strippers it made up for in sport. Activities included skeet shooting, surfing and drinking games.
The Wedding Accommodations: The Goring Hotel
Those lucky enough to count themselves among Kate and Wills' closest friends and family will enjoy wedding accommodations at the Goring Hotel. At only 400 yards from Buckingham Palace, the Goring has already seen its fair share of Royal use. This weekend, its 71 uniquely decorated rooms will be put to use by out-of-town wedding guests. And, of course, the bride will have a suite.
The hundred-year-old hotel has a legacy of being some of the poshest accommodations in town. It was the first hotel in the world to feature central heating and a bathroom for every room.
Where They'll Say I Do: Westminster Abbey
William and Kate's nuptials will be a smaller affair than those of Diana and Charles, which were held at St. Paul's Cathedral. William and Kate will be the 16th royal couple to wed at Westminster. The first couple to do so was King Henry I and Princess Matilda of Scotland on November 11, 1100.
The hour-long service will be officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury (news broke in April that Kate will not "obey" William in her wedding vows). In a break with the Cinderella tradition, Kate will arrive at the ceremony by car. But, the newly married couple will process to Buckingham Palace in a good, old-fashioned horse-drawn carriage.
The Reception(s): Buckingham Palace
Immediately following the wedding ceremony, 660 guests will descend upon Buckingham Palace for a champagne reception hosted by the queen. Word on the street is that beer will not be allowed at the reception since its not fitting to serve it in front of the queen. At some point during the affair Prince William and the new Princess Catherine are expected to make an appearance on a palace balcony to share a kiss for their cheering subjects. Talk about wedding micromanagement.
A few hours later, a select 300 party-hardy souls will return to the palace for a dinner and dancing. And, with wild boy Harry helping to spearhead the plans, things might get a little bit crazy. Especially since his grandparents are turning over the palace keys for the night. They will be getting their royal beauty sleep at Windsor Castle while Buckingham is bumpin'. Harry is reportedly planning for the fete to carry on until the wee hours of the morning. He's even holding a breakfast at 6 AM for those who survived the night.
The Honeymoon Spot: Kenya and the Scilly Isles and Australia and the Seychelles and Mustique and Jordan...
And, heaven only knows where else! The newlyweds are going to be busy if they visit as many honeymoon locales as have been predicted. Especially since they only have two weeks in which to zigzag the globe and hit all these spots. William has but a short leave before he has to be back on the job with the Royal Air Force.
Most of these destinations have been visited by the couple before, so they'll have a lot to go by in making there decisions. But, the royal press office powers that be had to go and burst everyone's bubbles. They aren't going to report the honeymoon destination until after the fact.
The Royal Abode: Clarence House or Kensington Palace plus a home in Wales
Did you know that William and Kate are already living together? Kind of takes the suspense out of their post-marital living situation. The couple have been sharing a home on the Welsh island of Anglesey. William is stationed at a nearby Royal Air Force base as a search and rescue pilot. It looks like the two will stay out of Royal housing until 2013 when William's commission runs out. And, wouldn't you know, they are doing it without the use of servants, opting to live like normal couples their age. Crazy kids.
When William and Kate are in London, it is expected that they will live in Clarence House. This historic abode was built in 1837 Prince William Henry, Duke of Clarence aka King William IV. It is also where the Queen Mother lived from 1953 until her death, and is the current residence of Charles, Camilla, William and Harry. If living with your siblings and parents doesn't scream newlywed life, we don't know what does.
Some sources have the royal couple settling down at Kensington Palace, circa 1605, where William lived as a child. Wills reportedly prefers his childhood home, as does Kate who has taken a liking to Princess Margaret's former chambers.Buckingham Palace will come later on.
Want to follow the Royal Wedding parade route? Watch the tour below, or follow the royal route at AOL's Royal Wedding homepage.
For Even More Royal Wedding Coverage
- Royal Wedding Souvenirs: Reminders of Your Trip[AOL Travel]
- Royal Wedding Weekend Itinerary for Travelers[AOL Travel]
- A Handy Guide to the Royal Wedding[Lonely Planet]