Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The final countdown: Middletons move to London with their finery in last minute preparations for the big day

By Daily Mail Reporter

Nervous? Kate Middleton leaves her family home with a protection officer

With less than 48 hours to go, preparations for Friday's royal wedding are now at fever pitch, with family, military and security staff making last minute adjustments for the big day.

As hundreds of members of the armed forces had a dress rehearsal of the drill ahead of Friday's ceremony, the family of the bride and groom were spotted making final preparations for Friday.

Kate Middleton herself was seen driving out the family home in Bucklebury, Berkshire - for possibly the last time as a single woman - earlier today, accompanied by a protection officer.

Two days to go ... Kate's sister Pippa and mother Carole drive away from their family home in Bucklebury

Showing no sign of nerves, the bride-to-be, dressed in a demure cream suit, was without her future husband, who is believed to be in London.

Her family was also on the move today, heading for the capital - together with all the essentials for her wedding to Prince William.

A suspiciously long dress bag, together with hat boxes and other finery, belonging to the Middleton family were seen moving into the luxury Goring Hotel.

Just around the corner from Buckingham Palace, the five-star establishment will be home to Kate's family and friends, who will decamp there for the wedding.

Kate's mother, Carole, and sister Pippa, were seen driving out of their £1m home, seeming in high spirits, smiling at photographers and both dressed in classic navy outfits.

But for Her Majesty the Queen it was business as usual.

Looking dazzling in bright blue ensemble, and a hat with jaunty red trim, she went to Cambridge for a lunch and reception to mark the 500th Anniversary of St John's College.

Most of rest of the Royal family were keeping under the radar, with Prince Andrew preparing for Friday at Royal Lodge in Windsor with daughters, Eugenie and Beatrice.

The Duchess of Cornwall is believed to be at Clarence House, while her husband, Prince Charles, is up in Scotland.

He is opening the newly refurbished Dumfries House for the 2011 season in Ayrshire.

The Princess Royal is set to attend a Joint Services Dinner in London while the Earl of Wessex has a series of engagements in Oxford.

Careful with that: The Middletons wedding wardrobe is moved into their temporary home ahead of the wedding celebrations

There's more? Bags and a hat box follow the wardrobe into the hotel

An early morning rehearsal, timed to the minute, saw soldiers, sailors and airmen parade through the streets of London.

With a worldwide audience of billions, military leaders know the eyes of the world will be on them.

A music rehearsal is scheduled to be held today with clergy and broadcasters due to take part in a full dress rehearsal tomorrow at the abbey.

St James's Palace confirmed today that Prince William will spend the eve of his wedding having a private dinner with his family.

The second-in-line to the throne will enjoy his last night as a free man in the company of the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall and best man Prince Harry.

By the time the royals sit down around the table on Thursday evening at Clarence House, their official London home, all the preparations should be in place for William's big day.

Charles and Camilla will miss a dinner being held for British and foreign royals at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Hyde Park, central London, but will attend a drinks reception beforehand.

The private pre-wedding event will be a chance for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh to catch up with their royal counterparts from overseas.

Those said to be attending include the Duke of York and his daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and Zara Phillips and her fiance England rugby star Mike Tindall.

A St James's Palace spokesman said: 'The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will be having a private dinner with Prince William and Prince Harry on Thursday evening at Clarence House.

'As such, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will be able to attend the drinks reception at the Mandarin Oriental hotel, but not the dinner.'

David Cameron sent his best wishes to Prince William and Kate Middleton today, telling MPs the 'whole world' was looking forward to the ceremony.

'People across the country and indeed across the world are getting excited about the events on Friday,' Mr Cameron said.

'I'm sure the whole House will want to join me in sending our best wishes to Prince William and Catherine Middleton ahead of their wedding this Friday and to wish them a long and happy life together.'

However, in a stark reminder of the scale of the security problems faced by the services, a bomb scare saw an area of Whitehall near to the Abbey cleared.

In addition, radical group Muslims against Crusades, staged a protest against Prince William. They held up 'wanted' posters proclaiming the second-in-line to the throne as a 'modern day Nazi'.

Radiant: The Queen arrives at St John's College Cambridge for a lunch and reception to mark its 500th Anniversary, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh

However, the extremists who had threatened disruption at the royal wedding said today they have agreed to stay away amid fears they could be targeted by attacks.

Muslims Against Crusades announced they have abandoned protest plans as they were heckled by passers-by in an impromptu press conference outside Parliament.

Campaign spokesman Abu Abbas, 22, called on all Muslims to stay away on the big day.
'We believe the main issue is security for our people,' he said.

Scare: A bomb scare near to the Abbey in Whitehall


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