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Britain Prepares for the Upcoming Wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton

Aired April 16, 2011 - 14:30   ET


RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to London. I'm Richard quest at Westminster Abbey. Not long to go before the wedding of the century, Prince William to Kate Middleton. You may not have an official invitation. But don't worry. We'll show you everything that will happen on the big day.

After the ceremony Kate and William will get into the 1902 state land dough and go back to Buckingham Palace. It's a route that will take them through London's historic roads and past the city's famous buildings.


As you may know, Britain has been undergoing tough economic times. So this week the Rolls Royce is gone. But don't worry, we've got a very traditional form of London transport.

The royal processional route, please.

From Westminster Abbey, the newlyweds will pass the houses of parliament, big ben. Then with a nod and a wave, they'll pass the street where the prime minister lives, Downing Street. They turn through the arch and cross the parade, then left at the mall, where they'll see tens of thousands of well-wishers at St. James's park and outside St. James's palace.

They'll pass Clarence House on the right where Prince Charles lives until they reach the final destination, Buckingham Palace. Next to this is the place where this royal ride really begins.


Behind Buckingham palace we find the royal mews where they keep the limousines, the carriages, and the stable the horses that will be used for the wedding. Max Foster now takes us inside to give us a glimpse of transport royal style.


MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If you live in a palace, you need a garage to match. This is what's known as the royal mews behind Buckingham Palace. It's where the queen keeps her carriages, horses and cars. All eight state limousines will be used on the wedding day. Kate will be traveling to the Abbey in one like this but with a glass roof at the back. ALEXANDER GARTY, TRANSPORT MANAGER: It's actually designed with visibility in mind so you actually probably get a better view in the Rolls Royce than a closed carriage.

FOSTER: This was the car. It was attacked by protesters when Charles and Camilla were using it in December. It's been undergoing repairs. After the wedding Kate and William will leave the abbey in this carriage, the queen's favorite, also used by Charles and Diana on their wedding day. It is the 1902 State Land. If it's raining, the couple reverts to the glass coach which has a hard roof. Four other carriages like this one will be used to carry principal guests including, of course, the queen.

FOSTER (on camera): What's your biggest worry?

MARTIN OATES, SENIOR CARRIAGE RESTORER: If the wheel falls off, obviously I will lose my job. That's a bit of a worry.

FOSTER: So you're constantly checking the wheels?

OATES: Wheels are a big problem.

FOSTER: On the big day you'll notice bay horses, these brown ones and the grays. The Windsor grays only ever normally pull the sovereign, the queen. On the wedding day they'll also be pulling the bridal party.

FOSTER (voice-over): Preeminent amongst the grays is Daniel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Daniel is a very good, steady horse, doesn't worry about big noises or sudden movements.

FOSTER: Which is why Daniel has a key role pulling the bride and bridegroom. Kate isn't used to traveling by carriage, so she'll need some practice of the art in getting out gracefully.

TOBY BROWN, CROWN ENQUERRY: I think she will wish to practice getting in and out because obviously on the day she will be wearing a dress with a large train, and it's quite a difficult event to get into the carriage and get settled. So it all looks perfect, but I think she's very excited about it.

FOSTER: And so are all the staff behind the palace walls as they frantically prepare to make what is in all but name a full state occasion.

Max Foster, CNN, Buckingham Palace, London.


QUEST: Those carriages will make a most impressive site when they cross horse guard's parade. It's a rare, dramatic view of London. And with me in Karen Pierce-Goulding, one of London's famous blue badge guides from the institute of tourists guides. Karen, the carriages will come up white hall and through this way. KAREN PIERCE-GOULDING, "LONDON WALKS" TOUR GUIDE: Yes. I have to say on the way Kate will not be allowed to go through that archway because she's not royal yet. She'll have to go a different route.

QUEST: So when she's going to the abbey.

PIERCE-GOULDING: Not through the archway. She'll have to go another way around.

QUEST: When does she?

PIERCE-GOULDING: When she's married of course she's royal, so she's allowed through the archway along with her new husband. We think once they come through archway they'll probably turn right and go up the mall towards Buckingham Palace.

QUEST: There's lots of us to get to on the mall.

PIERCE-GOULDING: Yes. You can see every flagpole is being tested to make sure everything hoists and goes smoothly. There's a lick of paint going on everywhere. In fact, the whole place smells like paint.

QUEST: How long does it take to paint one flagpole?

PIERCE-GOULDING: Don't let my governor know this.

QUEST: You only have until April 29th.

PIERCE-GOULDING: We'll get the job done.

QUEST: Please do. I'll take Kate for you. Thank you.

After the break, more from the mall and the royals who live alongside.


QUEST: The mall with its flagpoles and Buckingham Palace at the end, tell me about it.

PIERCE-GOULDING: Well, it is the center of the royal village, if you like. Every single house that lines the route has world associations or did have. You've got this history and in spite having this lavish backdrop to an occasion like a royal wedding. And of course, this center piece is Buckingham Palace.

QUEST: To the viewers watching on the day, as the carriages come down the mall, what should they particularly look for?

PIERCE-GOULDING: I think St. James's palace will be looking spectacular. It has the medieval feel, all the battlements. The flag will also be flying. On a very sad occasion in 1997 this is where Princess Diana, her body was lane in state at the chapel royal. The walk for Prince William and Prince Harry on that day, a completely different atmosphere as I'm sure a lot of people will remember. Royal weddings used to be much smaller affairs. Really it's in the 20th century that they've taken on this huge pomp and circumstance, akin to a coronation these days. There's some wonderful stories about royal weddings that have gone wrong.

QUEST: Which ones have gone wrong?

PIERCE-GOULDING: Oh, my goodness. Prince Regent married Caroline of Brunswick in 1795. She had a bit of a problem with body odor. She was very difficult to be close to. And the prince really didn't want to marry her but was forced to because he was in terrible debt. He drank brandy for three days before the ceremony and cried throughout the vows. When Katherine becomes queen, she'll be the sixth queen.

QUEST: Katherine VI. And he will be William --


QUEST: Now for the royal headlines. Security is going to be a major challenge for the London police on the day. London security officials say they'll be thousands of uniformed police officers on the streets, covert officers dressed in plainclothes and special forces among the crowd along the processional route.

Members of Prince William's search and rescue units say all 27 of them have been invited to the royal wedding. They say they were very surprised and honored by the royal invite.

A couple in Somerset, England, said they found the image of Kate Middleton on their jelly bean. Check this out. They found this yellow and red speckled mango-flavored treat in a jar. Now they're selling it on eBay for nearly $1,000. This story and more on our website at

Coming up, plenty of perks to be sure in being a royal, but what's the downside after "I do" becomes "you can't"?


QUEST: So much of London is pomp and ceremony. It's often easy to forget the history and tradition that you see, underneath it there is real purpose that goes to the core of the British constitution. Max Foster now examines the role the royals play in the public life of Britain.


FOSTER: There's a reason why senior royals tend to end up in the military. They can't then be accused of cashing in on their positions like they would if they worked for a private company. In the past, Kate has worked as a buyer for a fashion chain and then for her parents' party planning business. But as a princess, she'll effectively be limited to charity work.

The right to choose a career is one of the freedoms Kate is giving up. Another is her right to travel, unable to go abroad without government consent. William has grown up with these restrictions and more. He didn't have the automatic right to marry who he wanted. He needed the approval of the queen and the government, and thankfully Kate isn't a Catholic. By law he can't marry a Roman Catholic and become king.

The British monarch is also supreme leader of the Church of England, so William's religious path was set even before he was born. Both William and Kate have also given up their right to privacy.

ROBERT HAZELL, CONSTITUTIONAL EXPERT: Prince William didn't choose this. He was born into it. It's his fate.

FOSTER (on camera): But he can reject it.

HAZELL: He could reject it, but he would then have to drop out of the line of succession and become a private person.

FOSTER (voice-over): Royals have been forced to choose between love and duty before. In the 1950s, the queen's sister Princess Margaret wanted to marry Captain Peter Townsend. The government couldn't give its approval because he was divorced. So Margaret, in order to keep her position, declined his proposal.

Max Foster, CNN London.


QUEST: And so to today's etiquette lesson, how to introduce people to each other. Who gets introduced to whom? For help we need the Roy family from Massachusetts. The fundamental role is simple. It's lessers to greaters, inferiors to superiors.

So who is superior here? Of course it's Lady Lu of the drain pipe. We start with Richard of nowhere. The rule is, remember, Lady Lu, may I present Richard of nowhere. Straightforward.

But things get complicated because suddenly arrives the duchess of Eastham. Now we have a difference the duchess is more important and senior to Lady Lu. Now it becomes your grace, may I present Lady Lu of the drain pipe? As long as you remember, lessers to greaters, inferiors to superiors, you can't go wrong. Unless, of course, you forget the names and then you're on your own.

In just a moment, they're not even married, and there's a movie out about Kate and William's love affair. Is it a royal wreck of a movie? After the break.


QUEST: The royal processional route passes by St. James's Park. William and Kate have said they want people to enjoy the day, so this will be packed. It's prime real estate.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) QUEST: For all of you who just can't wait tore the big day, there's a movie out about this royal romance. Don't get too excited as max foster explains, nothing beats the real thing.


FOSTER: They met by chance, and came from different worlds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hear you'll be joining us tomorrow?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm looking forward to it.

FOSTER: Against the odds --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing will come between us. I promise.

FOSTER: -- Lived their own fairy tale.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love you, too.

FOSTER: This is surely the movie a royal film expert has been holding out for.

RICHARD FITZ-WILLIAMS, FILM CRITIC: I've seen almost every film depicting British royalty but I've never seen anything as silly- looking as this. This is the small screen Equivalent lend of pond life.

FOSTER: I guess I got that wrong then. So what's so bad about this movie?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's like they've taken a story about two people and turned it into some cheesy Hollywood spin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not saying it is tacky, but I can see why some people might find it that way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It looks really cheesy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really cheesy and cheap.

FOSTER: But does there come a point where something is so badly reviewed it actually becomes good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you doing?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're just friends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a friendly kiss.

FITZ-WILLIAMS: It's also clear to me even from the trailer that the unknown whose play the principal roles are very likely always to remain unknown.

FOSTER: The movie is being sold to TV networks around the world, desperate for anything wedding related to the run-up to the big day. So is there any advice for viewers?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Keep your legs firmly together.

FITZ-WILLIAMS: I would suggest the royal wedding sick bag which you can buy for three pounds would be a good thing to have if you're going to settle down and watch this entire film.

FOSTER: Other film critics haven't gone quite so far. Still the reviews haven't been kind. So don't expect William and Kate the movie to be the award magnet of, say "The King's Speech." In fact, don't expect anything like "The King's Speech."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is the cheesiest thing I've ever seen in my life, ever. Straight to DVD.

FOSTER: Max Foster, CNN, London.


QUEST: And that is a look at the royal wedding for this week. I'm Richard Quest in London. Do come along next week for the ride. There's always room for one more.