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The State Dining Room

The plebes of the press have learned some details of the reception the Queen will hold for Kate and William after the ceremony. As the 900 guests devour canapés, they can wander through the grandest rooms of Buckingham Palace. The Telegraph has pictures of these rooms, including the Picture Gallery, where the wedding cake will be displayed below paintings by Canaletto, Rembrandt and Rubens. Mark Flanagan, the Queen’s head chef, will oversee food preparation for the throng. While Flanagan did not reveal the menu, he said each delicacy is designed to be consumed in two bites. “For a lot of people it will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he told BBC News. “Certainly from the kitchen side of things we try to encourage everybody to make sure nobody goes away saying ‘Wasn’t it amazing and didn’t you see the gents in red coats and the pictures – but the food wasn’t up to much?’ – that’s not what we’d like.”

In other royal-related news:

• The Royal Mail has unveiled its wedding commemorative stamps. Both are drawn from the official engagement portraits taken by photographer Mario Testino. The stamps are the first to mark a wedding of one of the Queen’s grandchildren, according to the The Press Association. The stamps will be released April 21, the Queen’s birthday, but can be ordered from the Royal Mail’s website starting April 7.  Travel for London is also observing the wedding. They’re issuing a special subway fare card that costs at least £10 ($16). Boris Johnson, London’s mayor, suggests the royal couple use the card. “I would also recommend the card to the happy couple as the cheapest, easiest way of getting around this city, especially as it bears their resemblance,” Johnson told The London Evening Standard.

• Without a peep from the press, both Kate and William have held their bachelor and bachelorette parties. William’s bachelor, or stag, party was held this past weekend. It reportedly was at the country estate of the father of Hugh van Cutsem, one of William’s longtime friends. Not only would a low-key celebration suit William’s style, necessity may have dictated a restrained affair. William had to return for duty as a RAF helicopter co-pilot on Monday, March 28, according to The Daily Mail. In a deft feint, it was first reported that Pippa Middleton, Kate’s younger sister, had reserved four London nightclubs for the bachelorette, or hen, party. Yet the reality is that Kate’s party was held at an unidentified friend’s house.  All that is known is that it happened sometime last week. It is also unlikely this was an alcohol-drenched gathering. One of Kate’s contemporaries at the University of St. Andrews told The Telegraph, “Kate would like a glass of wine, but she couldn’t really handle her drink. She would get giggly after a few glasses, and then she would stop.”

• To an American sensibility, it might sound a little strange to characterize protests during the royal wedding as a “threat to democracy.” Yet that’s precisely what Metropolitan Police Commander Bob Broadhurst called them, according to The Press Association. Broadhurst’s comments came in light of violence that accompanied an otherwise peaceful march of 250,000 in London Saturday (March 26) protesting government spending cuts. A few of the demonstrators occupied London landmarks such as Fortnum & Mason and the Ritz Hotel. It is likely the police will receive stop-and-search power for the royal wedding under the UK’s Terrorism Act. “I’m dealing with a security operation in a city under a terrorist threat. We will be putting in sterile zones, using counter-terrorist powers, closing roads and [using] stop and search powers,” Broadhurst told The Daily Telegraph.

• One of Kate and William’s last official public appearances before the wedding will be Monday, April 11, when they visit the Darwen Aldridge Community Academy, reports BBC News. The tuition-free school “harnesses entrepreneurship as a catalyst for social change.” William will also hand out an award and the couple will visit a local park to demonstrate the importance of recreational space. The entire visit is expected to last 90 minutes, according to the Lancashire Telegraph.

• Are you attending the wedding? Want to be more than a mere spectator? Then The Huffington Post is looking for you. “Send us your pictures, thoughts and impressions,” the website asks. AOL bought the site for $315 million earlier this month. No word if contributors will be paid for their submissions.


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By jimlyons