It's time to wrap things up. The royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton is only a day away. There are some who will cheer this fact as it means an end to all of the hoopla. While an estimated 2 billion other people around the world, enjoying all of the happy news, can hardly wait for it to start. And that's just the people watching it on the telly. There are millions more who have been camping out in downtown London for days to secure a front-row seat for the royal wedding parade.
So, as Big Ben counts down the final hours, here is a recap of the royal wedding highlights since the office of the Prince of Wales at Clarence House sounded the trumpets to make it official that Prince William of Wales and Catherine Elizabeth Middleton are engaged to be married on April 29.
It's longer than your average blog but rather befitting of this historical event:
Office/Copyright 2010 Mario Testino. This is one of two official portrait photographs taken Nov. 25, 2010, in the Council Chamber in the State Apartment in St James's Palace, London, and released by Clarence House Press Office on Sunday Dec. 12, 2010, to mark the engagement of Britain's Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
Days after the announcement, Michael and Carole Middleton, the parents of Catherine Middleton, make a statement on the engagement of their daughter to Britain's Prince William, outside their home near the village of Bucklebury, England. In joining the royal clan, Catherine is going from her family business to Britain's first family, nicknamed The Firm. The Middleton clan is blessed with strong ties and commercial savvy, which will help her succeed in her role. Catherine's parents, who went from airline employees to owners of a successful small business, afforded their children access to Britain's loftiest social circles. Michael Middleton was a flight dispatcher and Carole Goldsmith a flight attendant before they married and, in the 1980s, set up Party Pieces, a business selling balloons, candles, streamers and other mail-order party supplies.
Once the engagement was announced, everything kicked into gear including the production of royal wedding gifts to commemorate the momentous engagement and wedding. Artisans and craftsman have created everything from tea towels and gold coins to china dishes and comic books.
Among the unique items is this Lego model of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, second right, at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, inside a scale model of London's Westminster Abbey. On display at The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, England, the model took four builders, all members of the Brickish Association, eight weeks to construct. It weighs in at more than 132 pounds, and features 200 different LEGO elements, including nearly 1,000 arches.
It has been a grand time to be a British gift shop owner such as Stephen Church, fifth-generation co-owner of Church's China, headquartered in Northampton, England. After the wedding is over, Church said the commemorative pieces will be available for a short time, then most likely retired. Read full story, China to bowl you over
Everywhere in London people found a way to broadcast the news. This street art image by Rich Simmons portrays Britain's Queen Elizabeth II spray painting the words "Will + Kate" in a love heart outside the Opera Gallery in London, April 1.
In this Aug. 31, 2007, photo, Britain's Prince Harry greets guests for the Service of Thanksgiving for the life of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, at the Guards' Chapel, in London. It was no surprise that Prince Harry, younger brother of Britain's Prince William, will be the best man at the wedding tomorrow.
One wedding detail that remains a secret is Catherine's wedding dress. In this undated photo released by the Royal Collection on April 21, a white satin dress decorated with a pattern of British and Irish flowers, tied together with a lovers knot was worn by Princess (Victoria) Mary of Teck when she married Prince George, Duke of York (later King George V) in 1893. As speculation continues as to the design of Catherine's wedding dress, a precious collection of historic royal wedding dresses worn by royal brides during the last 200 years has just undergone more than 1,000 hours of conservation treatment by conservators from Britain's Historic Royal Palaces. The wedding dresses belonging to Princess Charlotte (1816), Queen Victoria (1840), Alexandra of Denmark (1863), Princess Mary of Teck (1893), Princess Margaret (1960) and Princess Alexandra of Kent (1963) are usually carefully stored at Kensington Palace but have been made available to the media and are viewable on the Historic Royal Palaces website.
While the wedding wheels turned, Britain's Prince William continued to carry out duties associated with the royal family. In this photo taken April 1, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is escorted by her grandson, Prince William, during a visit to RAF Valley, Anglesey, Wales, where he is stationed as a search and rescue helicopter pilot. The Queen, accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, unseen, toured the airbase meeting staff and families, watched a fly past and was given a guided tour of a Sea King search and rescue helicopter by Prince William.
Vivienne Bartels, 7, learns how to curtsy in front of a cardboard cutout of Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton during the 'A Princess Tea Party' event, at a posh London hotel, April 2. Dozens of girls in frilly dresses attended a "princess boot camp" ahead of tomorrow's royal wedding. The pint-size wannabe princesses learned how to walk straight, drink tea with decorum and curtsy.
Carriage restorer Dave Evans cleans the Glass Coach at the Royal Mews in central London, one of the carriages to be used for travel to and from the wedding. If it is raining heavily, as it was this morning, the newlyweds will ride in this fully covered coach after the wedding service. Built in 1881, it has traditionally carried royal brides to their weddings. Diana rode in it, as did Sarah Ferguson. Catherine has chosen not to ride in it to her wedding. Buckingham Palace said she prefers to take a car.
Workers built a media stand outside Westminster Abbey in London in preparation for Friday's wedding and the arrival of journalists and photographers from all over the world.
Husband and wife Scott and Catie Anchin from Washington, D.C., talk to The Associated Press, April 26 on The Mall in London, back dropped by the Queen Victoria Memorial, as the tourists scoped out the best spot to stand for Friday's wedding. For hardcore fans of the British monarchy, sitting glued to the telly with popcorn just doesn't cut it for an occasion such as a royal wedding. Part of the crowds is where to be for this happy occasion.
Terry Hutt, fan of the British royal family, sits outside his tent near Westminster Abbey in central London. He was one of the first people to arrive for the event and will sleep on the street to hold prime position for the wedding.
On Wednesday, workers carried an English field maple tree into Westminster Abbey in London in preparation for the royal wedding.
According to organizers, the wedding rehearsal for the ceremonial role that Britain's army, navy and air force personnel will play during the royal wedding went without a hitch.
The post-wedding soiree hosted by Queen Elizabeth II -- taking place at the State Dining Room, Buckingham Palace -- is a dream come true for many people. Besides the excitement of attending the royal wedding, guests have the opportunity to wander through Buckingham Palace, an opulent attraction in its own right.
Most of us have a wedding certificate or license. This is Britain's Queen Elizabeth II's historic formal consent to Prince William's forthcoming marriage to Kate Middleton, shown by the Crown Office at the House of Lords in London. Under the Great Seal of the Realm, the Queen signed an elaborate notice of approval that proclaimed, in transcribed calligraphy, consent to the union of "Our Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales, K.G. and Our Trusty and Well-beloved Catherine Elizabeth Middleton."
Today's MuseHe felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began. ~ Leo Tolstoy