Kate will keep her prince waiting 45 minutes at altar
Published 16/04/2011 | 05:00
The countdown to the British royal wedding began in earnest yesterday when Kate Middleton attended a rehearsal at Westminster Abbey, exactly a fortnight before the big day.
Ms Middleton was said to be "relaxed but excited" as she was guided through the service by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Rev John Hall.
Prince Harry, who will be his brother's best man, was also present at the half-hour "walk-through" for the bridal party along with Ms Middleton's sister, Pippa, who will be maid of honour, and the bridesmaids and page boys.
St James's Palace has issued a minute-by-minute timetable for the wedding day on April 29, which shows that Prince William will have to wait at the abbey for 45 minutes for the arrival of his bride-to-be.
The royal party managed to slip into the abbey at 8.45am via a side entrance away from the gaze of tourists, who were told the building was temporarily closed for the rehearsal.
A witness inside the abbey said Ms Middleton, who was dressed casually, arrived with Prince Harry.
Despite Ms Middleton's recent admission to pre-wedding nerves, the witness said: "They were not worried, they all seemed quite excited. Catherine was very relaxed."
It was confirmed yesterday that Ms Middleton would spend her last night as a single woman at an exclusive London hotel with family and friends.
The Goring -- a favourite with the wealthy and famous for decades -- has been booked up by the Middletons' wedding party.
Yesterday's rehearsal will be the last time the pageboys and bridesmaids have a chance to practise walking down the aisle. Other rehearsals for musicians and ministers, including the bishop of London and the archbishop of Canterbury, will be held in the coming days.
Ms Middleton and Prince William, who could not attend the rehearsal because he was on duty with the RAF, will attend a rehearsal together a week before the wedding.
A spokesman for the abbey said: "There was a walk-through of bridesmaids and pages this morning at the abbey, at which Catherine Middleton and Prince Harry were present."
A royal source added: "This was one of numerous rehearsals which have taken place behind closed doors, some of which have taken place at the abbey and some of which have been done at Clarence House.
"The final, full rehearsal with the bride and groom and the archbishop will take place in the week before the wedding."
The timetable for the day suggests that if Ms Middleton was intending to follow the tradition of being late, she might have to think again.
The bride and her father Michael will leave their hotel at 10.51am precisely, according to the schedule, giving their Rolls-Royce state car nine minutes to make the short drive to the abbey. By the time she arrives at 11am, the prince will have been inside the abbey for 45 minutes, having left Clarence House at 10.10 with his brother.
After the service, the carriage procession will leave the abbey at 12.15pm and arrive at Buckingham Palace at 12.30pm, with the couple appearing on the balcony at 1.25pm for an RAF fly past.
The service will be relayed to crowds lining the route by speakers, in addition to screens in Hyde Park and Trafalgar Square. (© Daily Telegraph, London)