Royal wedding update: Archbishop in key role

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LONDON (AP) - The bride will arrive by car and leave in a carriage, as befits a newly minted princess.

Those key details and others about the upcoming nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton emerged Wednesday in advance of their April 29 wedding at Westminster Abbey.

Prince Charles‘ representative broke weeks of silence with a statement that Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will marry the couple in an 11 a.m. ceremony that will include several other prominent clergy.

The wedding of William _ a young Navy helicopter rescue pilot who is second in line for the throne _ and Middleton, his girlfriend and confidante for nearly eight years, is expected to draw a gigantic global audience via television and the Internet.

The palace also lifted the secrecy surrounding the processional route the newlyweds will take from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace _ information deemed vital to those hoping to get out early and catch a glimpse of the couple as they glide by in a horse-drawn carriage.

The parade route, likely to be thronged by well-wishers regardless of the weather, will take William and Middleton through the storied heart of ceremonial London, where so many joyous and solemn occasions have been marked.

Palace officials said Queen Elizabeth II, William’s grandmother, would host a reception at Buckingham Palace after the wedding ceremony, with guests drawn from the wedding congregation.

The reception guest list has not been released, but palace officials said it will be drawn from members of the wedding congregation who make up both the couple’s official and private lives.

The night of the wedding, Prince Charles is to host a dinner and dance at Buckingham Palace for family members and close friends of the newlyweds.

Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, told The Associated Press that he was surprised that Middleton has chosen to arrive at Westminster Abbey by car rather than in a carriage.

“It’s not unprecedented, but we automatically assumed Kate would be in the glass coach, as was the case with Diana and with Sarah Ferguson,” he said. “But obviously that was decided against. We don’t know why, it might have been seen as ostentatious.”

Other traditions have changed with the times, he said.

“In the old days there would have been a wedding breakfast for the immediate family, but this will be a much bigger reception, with many more people attending, a more inclusive affair,” he said.

In addition, he said, the queen is not hosting a ball a few nights before the wedding, as she would have done in the past, and instead Charles is hosting a gala event the night of the wedding.

“It’s slightly different,” he said. “Change is not necessarily a bad thing.”

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