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European royals making plans for William’s wedding

- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 25, 2011

LONDON (AP) - The invites for the royal event of the year aren't even in the mail, but some among the European blue-blood set say they have already been given a quiet tap on the shoulder.

Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia and the Romanian royals say they're among the hundreds of privileged guests expected at the wedding of Britain's Prince William and his fiance Kate Middleton in London on April 29.

Formal invitations to the widely anticipated event aren't expected to go out until February. But the Romanian royal family will be among those attending, its office told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia said in a statement posted to his website that he and his wife, Crown Princess Katherine, had also been invited.

"Their Royal Highnesses are delighted to attend the marriage and are very happy for the young couple," the statement said.

It wasn't immediately clear whether any other European royalty had already received an informal save-the-date for the wedding at historic Westminster Abbey. A British royal spokeswoman declined to comment on the guest list, which is still being finalized.

Neither Alexander nor ex-King Michael, who heads the Romanian royal family, are current heads of state.

Alexander's family fled the Balkans when the Nazis invaded in World War II, while Michael was forced to abdicate in 1947 as the communists tightened their grip on Romania.

But their announcements underscores the strong relationships still maintained among European royals, many of whom have been linked by decades of intermarriage.

They also highlight the links between Britain _ whose monarchist tradition still runs strong _ and ex-ruling families from countries whose relationship with their royals have been a bit more tangled.

Michael, for example, is a great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria, a third cousin of Britain's current monarch Elizabeth II, and a first cousin of Elizabeth's husband Philip, with whom he spent childhood summer vacations on the Black Sea coast.

Michael was also a guest at Queen Elizabeth's wedding to Philip in November 1947.

Alexander, whose family eventually settled in Britain during World War II, was born at a suite at London's exclusive Claridge's Hotel. He studied at British schools, joined the British army, and even married his current wife in London, in 1985. His best man was former King Constantine of Greece _ a distant relation of Philip's.

Elizabeth II, who attended Alexander's baptism at Westminster Abbey in 1945, is the Serbian prince's godmother.

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Associated Press writers Danica Kirka in London and Alison Mutler in Bucharest contributed to this report.

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Online:

The official website of the British royal family: http://www.royal.gov.uk/

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