Security officials in the UK are planning to erect “a wall of steel” around the royal wedding, The Daily Express reports.
The 1,900 guests will have to pass through nine separate security checks. Small groups of guests will arrive three hours before the ceremony at various points dotted around central London. From there, they will be bussed to Westminster Abbey. Cell phones and cameras are banned. Those with hearing aids or other medical equipment must submit signed forms. Uniformed police along the parade route will survey the crowd, supported by 35 sniffer dogs and rooftop snipers. And a team from the UK’s Special Air Services (SAS) will be standing by.
Officials not only fear a “terrorism spectacular,” such as the 9/11 attack in the U.S. or the 2008 attack in Mumbai, but they fear that a “ragtag group of demonstrators” could somehow get out of control. Such was the case in December when the Rolls-Royce carrying Prince Charles and Camilla was set upon by a group protesting tuition hikes.
In other royal-related news:
• British lawyers have some advice for Kate and William: sign a prenuptial agreement. The Associated Press notes that the royal family has been plagued by unsuccessful marriages. Three of the Queen’s four children have been divorced, and William’s maternal uncle, Charles Spencer, has been divorced twice. “It’s an absolute statistical no-brainer that a prenuptial agreement would be highly beneficial in this case,” said divorce lawyer James Stewart, who handled the dissolution of the marriage of Madonna and director James Ritchie. The report says that William’s assets include his share of the Queen’s estimated $467 million estate and the estate of his late mother Princess Diana, reportedly worth about $34 million. Prenuptial agreements are not unknown among royals. While Prince Charles allegedly did not sign a prenuptial agreement with his second wife, Camilla, Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria signed one with her husband, Daniel Westling. The pact permits him to walk away from the marriage with half of the couple’s household possessions — and nothing else.
• How sedate was William’s bachelor party? Well, William and his pals spent part of the weekend playing chess, according to The Daily Express reports. The gathering was at Hartland Abbey, The Sun reports. (It was previously reported the stag party was at the country estate of the van Cutsem family.) The Abbey, built in the 12th century, was the setting for the BBC’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. The Abbey is now owned by Sir Hugh and Lady Jane Stucley. Their son, George, is one of William’s close friends. After a hearty breakfast on Saturday, March 26, the revelers shot clay pigeons while sipping vintage port. The Abbey has a private coastline, and so the celebrants decided to go surfing. It was apparent that William was not raised near Waikiki. Another surfer, Jordan Clark, 17, was in the water at the same time as the frolickers. “I didn’t realize who it was at first but then George Stucley came over to me and said, ‘Can you watch out for these lads as they don’t really know what they are doing?” Clark told The Daily Mail. “I looked over and realized it was William. They weren’t very good. They were just paddling about having a laugh.”
• The New Zealand Post is not having an easy time of it. First, it had to recall some of its royal wedding stamps because it printed William’s birthday incorrectly. Now the Post is being ridiculed for the stamps it issued on behalf of the tiny Pacific island nation of Niue. A photo of Kate and William runs across two stamps. The perforation runs down the middle. Using the stamps would tear the royal couple. Then there’s the problem that the stamps have different values. The “William” stamp is worth $3.40NZ ($2.60U.S.), while the “Kate” stamp is worth $2.40NZ ($1.84). But Ivor Masters, New Zealand Post’s stamps and coins general manager, defends the design, pointing out that it was approved by the Queen. “That particular design of the royal wedding was particularly innovative,” Masters told Australia’s Herald Sun. “If you think of how many of those stamps would actually be used for postage, the real focus is on collecting memorabilia.”
• President Obama did not the make the cut for a wedding invitation, but an entire retinue of service personnel from the tony Caribbean resort of Mustique will attend. Carole and Michael Middleton, Kate’s parents, visit the playground of the rich twice annually, according to The Daily Mail. Kate and William have also visited nearly a dozen times. Other celebrities drawn to the island’s exclusivity and privacy include Hugh Grant, Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Elton John and Kate Moss. The island was first made famous by the late Princess Margaret, the Queen’s younger sister. Weekly rental for a four-bedroom villa can cost $32,000. The Mustique contingent includes the island’s tennis coach, equestrian manager, yoga instructor and beach-side bar owner. A royal “insider” sniffs, “I am sure the Mustique guests are honored to be invited and in due course may want to show their appreciation to the Middletons.”
• This is the consequence of having a U.S. company run by a Brit. The venerable Dunkin’ Donuts chain will sell a special 89-cent ”Royal Wedding Donut” from April 24 to April 29. Boston.com reports that the company’s British born-and-raised CEO, Nigel Travis, is “especially excited for the big day.” The heart-shaped jelly donut has vanilla icing and chocolate drizzle. Any similarity to the heart-shaped jelly donut Dunkin’ Donuts offered on Valentine’s Day is purely coincidental.