It's a VERY Royal Wedding: 40 crowned heads to attend William and Kate's big dayBy Katie Nicholl
Last updated at 2:49 AM on 20th February 2011
1,000 of William and Kate’s friends to attend (but there’s no room for the Obamas)
Close to 1,900 guests have been invited to Westminster Abbey on Friday, April 29 – and more than half will be friends of the couple, The Mail on Sunday has been told.
William and his bride-to-be have been allowed to invite more than 1,000 of their friends, by far the largest proportion of guests who will attend the service and the post-wedding breakfast at Buckingham Palace. Invitations were sent out via Royal Mail last Wednesday and Thursday.
Elegant: The Royal wedding invitation
Among the surprise invitees are the King of Jordan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the Sultan of Oman, the King of Bahrain, the Sultan of Brunei and the King of Saudi Arabia as well as the Emperor of Japan, the King of Malaysia, the King of Tonga and the King of Thailand.
Although the crowned heads have yet to formally accept, and the King of Thailand is said to be too ill to attend, a senior source within the Foreign Office described it as a high proportion of crowned heads for a wedding that is not being treated as a state wedding.
No invite: The Obamas have been invited for a state visit as a 'sweetener'
The invitations are on thick white card measuring 8in by 6in, bevelled, gilded and stamped with EIIR in gold which has then been burnished.
Classic and elegant, the black text on the invitation – which has been issued in the name of the Queen – reads: ‘The Lord Chamberlain is commanded by The Queen to invite. . . to the marriage of His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales, K.G., with Miss Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey on Friday, 29th April, 2011 at 11.00am.
‘A reply is requested to State Invitations Secretary, Lord Chamberlain’s Office, Buckingham Palace.’
Gentlemen are required to wear uniform, morning coat or lounge suit. There is no dress code for female guests, although ladies will be required to wear a hat for the wedding service.
Getting ready for the big day: Prince William and Kate Middleton
More than 200 members of the Government, Parliament and diplomatic corps have been invited. The Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition will all attend, along with key members of the Cabinet. Also invited are 60 governors-general and Commonwealth prime ministers.
The guest list, which Clarence House has said it will not release ahead of the wedding, also comprises approximately 80 guests drawn from the charities and organisations of which William is a patron as part of the couple’s intention for it to be a wedding for the British people.
Just 600 guests have been invited to the wedding breakfast hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace after the service. Crowned heads will attend along with the British Royal Family, Miss Middleton’s family and the couple’s friends.
A source said: ‘The wedding day has always been about William and Kate celebrating with their friends. It is what they have wanted from the start. There has been some surprise at the number of crowned heads who have been invited.’
The Queen, who made a state visit to Oman and Abu Dhabi last year, believes the wedding invitations will be good for diplomatic relations between Britain and the Middle East and will be a vital meet-and-greet opportunity for the couple, who are to undertake their first overseas tour to Canada in June.
As The Mail on Sunday has reported, the couple have invited 300 family and friends to an evening reception at Buckingham Palace.
There has been at least one high-profile omission from the Abbey guest list. The Duchess of York, who was last night hosting a 51st birthday party for her ex-husband Prince Andrew at Royal Lodge, Windsor, has been snubbed by the Royal Household.
A Palace spokesman said: ‘We are not commenting on individuals.’