Already designated as a national holiday, Friday, April 29, 2011 is set for the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William at London’s Westminster Abbey. Possibly to avoid repeating the St. Paul’s Cathedral nuptials of William’s parents Charles and Diana, the couple decided on Westminster Abbey for its sheer beauty and size.
Westminster Abbey does have family ties however. Prince William’s grandmother Her Majesty the Queen and great grandmother were married in the church. It was also the site for the 1997 funeral for his mother Princess Diana.
Oozing with over 1,000 years of history Westminster Abbey was the built by Edward the Confessor in 1066 where he was buried just days after its completetion. Henry III rebuilt Westminster Abbey into its current Gothic style on the same ground 200 years later. The abbey has hosted the coronations of the 38 subsequent monarchs and is the final resting place for 17 of the rulers.
Of course the grand production will be televised and predicted to draw of a record breaking one billion viewers. Here are a few bits about Westminster Abbey to beef on before for the big day:
- Is a ‘Royal Peculiar’ meaning owned directly by the sovereign and not under the jurisdiction of the church
- Largest church in Britain
- Home to the Tomb of the Unknown Solider
- Buried in Poet’s Corner : Geoffrey Chaucer, Rudyard Kipling, Tennyson, Charles Dickens
- Oldest tomb: King Serbet who died in 616
- Houses 600 memorials and monuments
- Over 3,300 people are buried in, under and around the grounds; some even in a standing position
- Hosted 14 royal weddings
- The coronation chair from 1300 has graffiti on the back