(Photo: Reuters / Adrian Dennis)
For billions of people all over the world, and for one woman in particular, the wait is almost over.
By 11:00 a.m. Friday (London Time), Catherine "Kate" Middleton will finally marry Prince William of Wales, the man of her dreams, officially entering into the royal family as “Princess Catherine.”
The on and off couple of eight years, who met while studying at the University of St. Andrews, will take their vows on April 29, at the Westminister Abbey.
The Dean of Westminister will officiate for most of the service, while Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will conduct the marriage ceremony itself. The Bishop of London, a close friend of the Prince, is also scheduled to give the sermon.
It’s no surprise that the royal wedding has globally garnered much attention from the media, capturing every single detail starting from the engagement to the actual wedding itself.
Likely to become one of the most-anticipated events of the year, many are excited to witness the highly publicized union of the happy royal couple.
So why does past American Idol contestant, Kellie Pickler feel sorry for the soon-to-be married couple?
“I feel so sorry that on the most important, most beautiful day of their life, it has to be just an open book to the whole world,” Pickler told Country Vibe. “I mean, they deserve to have their intimate ceremony with their loved ones, and it’s so sad that they get stalked by the paparazzi and the media the way they do. I couldn’t imagine.”
Pickler, who is a newlywed herself, admits that she wouldn’t do well with all the exposure. “You’re making a covenant with God, and it’s about you and your groom or your bride and God, and that’s it, and it’s such a shame that people will not give them their privacy.”
But the Archbishop of Canterbury shares a different view, believing that marriage isn’t only about two individuals.
“No individual exists alone,” he stated on his website. “People come to their weddings with family and friends around them. And of course with this particular wedding, they’re coming with friends and supporters all around the world, watching and witnessing.
“Every wedding then, sends a message to people. It’s two people declaring something, not only about themselves, but about what they most deeply believe, the values they must deeply hold to, declaring that to the whole world around them.”
Williams added, “A marriage is good news because it says something so deep about our humanity and it tells us that we can have grounds for hope that there are still people around us who want to spend their lives with each other, who want to make this great act of generous commitment to one another and so everybody around the world watching this will have some sense of the commitments that are possible.”
Understanding that Prince William and Middleton were making their commitment in the public eye, the Anglican leader encouraged viewers to prayerfully support the couple and be an active witness more than a spectator.
Praising the two as “deeply unpretentious,” Williams described what a pleasure it was to get to know the couple.
“I think they have a clear sense of what they believe they’re responsible to. They’re responsible to the whole society, responsible to God for their relationship, and I think it’s impressive that they’ve had that simplicity about it – they’ve known what matters, what’s at the heart of all this.
“Naturally, I want to wish William and Catherine every richest blessing in their life together. But I want to wish them especially the courage and clarity they’ll need to live out this big commitment ... to live it out for the rest of us.”
The archbishop concluded, “I hope they’ll be given the strength and the persistence to go on showing the rest of us what’s possible, for the whole of their life together.”
As over two billion people worldwide tune in to watch the royal festivities Friday morning, one can only hope that the eight-year courtship will only be a glimpse into a life-long holy matrimony.
The entire printed program for the royal wedding can be viewed online, detailing the ceremony, including the personal vows that will be exchanged. The lunchtime reception will be held at the Buckingham Palace, hosted by the Queen.
BBC and CNN will cover the ceremony and associated events live, as well as NBC’s Today, ABC, CBS, and Fox networks. The wedding can also be streamed live online on YouTube via The Royal Channel.
After the wedding, the couple intends to continue residing together on the Isle of Anglesey in North Wales, where Prince William is currently based as a Royal Air Force Search and Rescue pilot.