William and Kate want 8,000 to attend 'people's wedding'
Published 20/11/2010 | 05:00
Prince William and Kate Middleton want their wedding to be a "people's ceremony" with as many ordinary members of the public invited as possible.
The couple have told royal aides that they do not want the congregation to be made up entirely of "the great and the good" and will send invitations to people from all walks of life.
The prince and Ms Middleton, both 28, have now agreed on a venue, which is understood to be Westminster Abbey, and settled on a preferred date.
However, it will not be confirmed until it has been cleared with Queen Elizabeth, the Church of England, the Metropolitan Police and key guests, such as the heads of Commonwealth countries.
The couple are understood to have agreed to reconsider their original choice of a March wedding because of concerns about the weather.
The queen and the Prince of Wales are close to finalising details of who will pay for the occasion, according to insiders. Each is expected to contribute millions from private finances. One of the key considerations in the choice of venue was the scope for throwing open the service to members of the public, rather than restricting it to "official" guests.
A royal source said: "It's certainly something that is on the couple's minds. They are keen that people from different walks of life should have a chance to take part, rather than having a congregation made up entirely of the great and the good and people who have titles.
"We're not talking about a public ballot or some sort of lottery for tickets, but Prince William is patron of a lot of charities, for example, and he will certainly want to make sure that those organisations feel involved in the day."
The couple are also keen to invite members of the public who work hard for their local communities.
Westminster Abbey has room for 2,000 people, but space can be made for up to 8,000 with the addition of temporary seating and galleries. Prince William's parents invited 3,500 people to their wedding at St Paul's Cathedral in 1981.
Meanwhile, the Prince of Wales has indicated for the first time that the Duchess of Cornwall could become 'Queen Camilla' when he ascends to the throne.
Until now, the prince has always stuck to the line that his wife will be known as Princess Consort when he is king. But asked on US television if the duchess would become queen, the prince, who seemed taken aback by the question, said: "That's, well, we'll see, won't we? That could be."
Aides insisted the prince had been caught off guard. (© Daily Telegraph, London)