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Proving once again they are no longer flummoxed by technology, royal officials have announced they will stream the wedding live on YouTube, The Associated Press reports. The four-hour presentation will include the Westminster Abbey ceremony, the parade to Buckingham Palace and the balcony appearance with the eagerly-awaited and expected newlywed kiss.
In a YouTube first, a blog will appear alongside the video, providing commentary and historical information.
“The couple wish to strike a balance between a day that is sacred and intimate and a day that will be a cause for global celebration. To that end, they want the wedding to be as accessible to as many people as possible and that’s why they are communicating in this way,” a St. James’s Palace spokesman said. The palace also plans to post additional photos before the wedding on Flickr and expand coverage on the official royal wedding website. There is also an official wedding twitter hashtag, #rw2011.
Other royal wedding related news:
• Union Jacks have now been hung on Regent Street, one of the first tangible signs of the upcoming royal nuptials, The Daily Mail reports. Security sweeps are also underway. Police are inspecting manhole covers, drains, traffic lights, and lamp posts along the parade route. Overall, the security operation is expected to cost £20 million ($32.6 million). Scotland Yard is working with mental health personnel to monitor known royal stalkers. Police are also considering using stop-and-search powers on protesters April 29. The most significant security breach involving the royals came in March 1982 when a man broke into the Buckingham Palace bedroom of Queen Elizabeth. He chatted with her for about 30 minutes before his arrest.
• Kate Middleton now has a coat of arms. Michael Middleton, who appears to have a bottomless wallet when it comes to his eldest daughter’s wedding, has shelled out £4,400 ($7,200) for the design, which Kate will use precisely once. The coat of arms will appear on the back of the official wedding program, which will sell for £2 ($3.25) along the parade route. Proceeds will go to charity. After she is married, Kate’s coat of arms will be combined with William’s. However, other members of the Middleton family can use the lozenge-shaped insignia. It includes three acorn sprigs, representing each of the three Middleton children. The gold inverted “V” in the center represents Carole Middleton’s maiden name, Goldsmith. And the white chevronels above and below the inverted “V” symbolize mountains and the family’s love of skiing.
BBCNews has a comparison of Kate’s and William’s coats of arms. The criteria for obtaining a coat of arms is broad, BBCNews explains in another story. All one needs is “eminence” in local or national life. “Tests for eminence are very wide in that they include possession of a university degree or a professional qualification,” said Thomas Woodcock, Garter Principal King of Arms, a position created in 1415 by King Henry V. “A great many people in the country could, if they wish, have a coat of arms, but if we were to advertise too much it would debase our own currency.”
• Kate and William appear to enjoy surprising each other. For Kate, it’s keeping the wedding dress a secret from William. For William, it’s keeping the honeymoon destination a secret from Kate. The Sun reports the newlyweds are set to leave for their honeymoon on Saturday, April 30, the day after their wedding. “Kate wants to mix something active with the chance to put her feet up and relax. She also said she was keen to go somewhere hot, but would let William decide as a surprise,” a “source” said. One option allegedly under consideration is a horse trek in South America. Although Kate is said to be allergic to horses, the “source” counters, “Kate isn’t supposed to like horses, but that’s a bit of a myth. She has had a number of riding lessons since last summer.”
• As previously reported, the royal wedding is triggering renewed scrutiny of some long-running royal practices. The first is that the crown cannot pass to a Roman Catholic or someone married to a Roman Catholic. The ban dates to the 1701 Act of Settlement.
Then there is male primogeniture, which means that the oldest male offspring inherits the throne. (Elizabeth became Queen because she did not have any brothers, and was the eldest child of her father, George VI.) Changing the policy of male primogeniture would mean that if Kate and William’s first child is female, she would automatically inherit the crown, even if their next offspring is male. UK Prime Minister David Cameron said, “It’s right to discuss both sets of changes. Both changes should be made, in principle,” The Daily Telegraph reported. However, any change must be approved by all 15 Commonwealth states where the Queen is head of state. “It will take time. We ought to have proper discussions with other countries. She is their Queen after all,” Cameron warned.
One top Commonwealth official fully supports changing the male-preference policy. “You’d expect me, sitting here as the first female prime minister of this country, to say I believe in equal rights and equal opportunity for women,” Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was quoted in the Herald Sun.
Correction: Yesterday (April 18) it was reported that The Daily Mail had broken the story that Sophie Cranston is the designer of Kate’s wedding dress. That was incorrect. The story was first reported by Yvonne Yorke of The Huffington Post. I apologize to Ms. Yorke for the error.