Make me best man or I'm not coming': Key wedding role for William's brother (but no wild stag night)By Fay Schlesinger
Prince William named his rumbustious brother Harry as his best man yesterday, but banned him from arranging a raucous stag night.
The groom-to-be broke with royal protocol by abandoning the traditional label ‘supporter’ used by his father and uncles – Harry is understood to have joked that he would refuse to participate unless he was awarded the ‘best man’ tag.
Kate Middleton, meanwhile, has asked her sister and confidante Pippa to be maid of honour at the Westminster Abbey wedding on Friday, April 29.
It's no joke: Harry is understood to have joked that he would refuse to participate unless he was awarded the 'best man' tag
Harry, 26, has recently returned to his old habit of tumbling out of nightclubs looking dishevelled on nights off from training to be an Apache helicopter pilot at RAF Middle Wallop, in Hampshire.
The gatekeeper: Kate Middleton has asked her sister and confidante Pippa, 27, to be maid of honour
Friends said suggestions for William’s stag night had ranged from another saucy burlesque act to exclusive use of close friend Guy Pelly’s club Public, a regular celebrity haunt.
But William, 28, is thought to have insisted on a ‘private’ and ‘more mature’ long weekend outside the capital.
Options include a shooting party on a friend’s estate, or an ‘outdoor pursuits’ weekend including activities such as quad biking and archery, with an evening spent at a pub.
Foreign jaunts have been ruled out for both the stag and hen nights because of the complex security involved and the risk of a public backlash over costs, it is understood.
And the royals are keen to avoid the controversy provoked when William flew a Chinook to his cousin Peter Phillips’s stag night on the Isle of Wight at taxpayers’ expense.
Yesterday William and Kate used Facebook and Twitter to release details of their bridesmaids and page boys.
Pippa, who is Kate’s closest ally and ‘gatekeeper’, will be tasked with looking after her dress and calming pre-ceremony nerves.
The ambitious Edinburgh graduate has worked as a party planner and is employed by her parents’ mail order firm Party Pieces, where she runs the online magazine Party Times.
The bridesmaids will be Prince Edward’s seven-year-old daughter Lady Louise Windsor, Princess Margaret’s granddaughter Margarita Armstrong-Jones, eight, the Duchess of Cornwall’s granddaughter Eliza Lopes, three, and William’s goddaughter Grace van Cutsem, also three.
Keeping it local: Foreign jaunts have been ruled out for both the stag and hen nights because of the complex security involved and the risk of a public backlash over costs
Choosing Harry as best man came as no surprise – but William has overturned royal tradition by having only one person and eschewing the term ‘supporter’.
Prince Charles had his two brothers as supporters in 1981 and Prince Edward did the same in 1999. Prince Andrew had one man – Edward – in 1986, but still called him a supporter.
William is thought to consider the supporter label outdated.
Princess Diana’s nephew the Honourable Louis Spencer,16-year-old son of Earl Spencer, is expected to be a ‘groomsman’, similar to an usher.
Louis, who has the title Viscount Althorp and is heir apparent to his father’s £100million estate, has been handed the key role in a move designed to make Diana’s relatives feel included in the ceremony.
It will mark his first foray into public life. Friends said the ‘quiet’ teenager has lived in the shadow of his gregarious sisters – Lady Kitty, 20, and 18-year-old twins Lady Amelia and Lady Eliza – and father Charles.
Another groomsman is expected to be William’s friend Will van Cutsem, 31, a property investment manager.