WEDDING WATCH: Prince William arrives at the abbey
LONDON (AP) -- As Prince William and Kate Middleton tie the knot, Associated Press journalists are hunting down the most interesting details, from Westminster to points around the globe. Here's the latest on the big event.
BREAKING: Prince William arrives at Westminster Abbey for his wedding to Kate Middleton.
London Mayor Boris Johnson is getting creative (and a bit romantic) with his wedding gift for William and Kate: a tandem bicycle.
"I'm very proud to be invited," he said. "I'll be going to Trafalgar Square later to give a toast to the royal couple."
ABBEY ARRIVALS: British Prime Minister David Cameron has arrived at Westminster Abbey for the royal wedding. Catherine Walker, who designed the dress for the mother of the bride, has also arrived.
The royal wedding is getting plenty of attention from nations that used to be part of the British Empire. Here are some highlights from AP journalists reporting from around the Commonwealth.
— New Zealand: Kiwis are celebrating the fact that Kate Middleton's father's godmother comes from their country.
— Hong Kong: A well-known wedding designer is welcoming the big day in Chinese-language TV commentary.
— Australia: The wedding hoopla has raised the prickly issue of whether the country should dump the British monarch and become a republic.
ABBEY ARRIVALS: Elton John and David Furnish have arrived at Westminster Abbey for the royal wedding. So has former British Prime Minister John Major.
Crowds in London are cheering absolutely everyone who drives along the procession route, reports AP's Rich Matthews, who is on the scene. Not long ago, a sanitation truck rolled by and the crowd went crazy with cheers and screams.
The driver played along, with a bit of a royal wave.
Paisley Dodds, AP's chief of bureau in London, is taking a moment to think about hats. Here's a preview of her story.
Floppy, feathered, flouncy and expensive — hats were in full force Friday with guests lining up outside of Westminister Abbey for Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding.
Some looked like dinner plates. Others were so large they covered faces. One woman wore a bright red fascinator that resembled a flame licking her cheek.
ABBEY ARRIVALS: Soccer star David Beckham and his wife Victoria — aka Posh Spice — arrive for royal wedding.
AP's Rich Matthews has spotted a hint of American-style royalty in London: paper crowns, being handed out by Burger King. A Whopper, your majesty?
We know about kings and queens, princes and princesses. But a lot of royal titles have been bandied about today. Which one's more important than which?
Here's a rundown of some of the other key titles, from the highest level of seniority to the lowest: duke, marquess, earl, viscount, baron.
Along the wedding procession route on the Mall, AP's Fergus Bell talked to Alison Burtt, who used to work for Coutts Bank — and who says she opened a 16-year-old Princess Diana's first bank account.
"We're royalists. We couldn't come and do this when the kids were small, so we are doing it now," she said. "Working for the royal bank, you kind of have to be a royalist."
And for the uninitiated in all things London: The Mall isn't pronounced the way many might think. Say the name Al, but put an M in front of it.
ABBEY ARRIVALS: Chelsy Davy, Prince Harry's on-again, off-again girlfriend, has arrived at Westminster Abbey. Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe also shows up.
Just spotted on the TV coverage: a man in the crowd wearing tails and a formal plaid pants and vest. Are you wearing your plaid ensemble?
AP's Cassandra Vinograd — CassVinograd on Twitter — tweets from just outside Westminster Abbey: One downside of (hash tag)royalwedding mania? Getting around London! Tube packed with flag-waving, tiara-wearing folk.
AP's Caryn Rousseau in Chicago will be reporting Friday on royal wedding festivities in the U.S. Here's some of what she says is planned:
— Full English breakfasts and British-themed parties are planned all around the country.
— Colbie Caillat will be singing at a live viewing party in New York's Times Square.
— At Walt Disney World in Florida, about 250 guests have been invited to wear prince and princess attire.
— Various restaurants and bars are hanging Union Jack bunting and hosting watch parties. Royally themed drinks will include "The Windsor Knot" and "The Bitter Queen."
— Of course, many others will gather in private homes in the states. Expect lots of scones and cucumber sandwiches.
Jennie Bond, one of Britain's foremost experts on the royal family — and a paid consultant for The Associated Press this wedding day — said there was a hint that Prince William was going to be named the Duke of Cambridge.
"The queen went to visit Cambridge the day before yesterday so a lot of people thought that was how it was going to be."
Bond called the title "a personal gift from the queen, a mark of her esteem for her grandson."
BREAKING: Royal wedding guests have begun entering Westminster Abbey.
It's titles aplenty for Prince William. The queen has named him the Duke of Cambridge, the Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus.
Big news on wedding garb! Well, small news. It's not about the dress.
Prince William will be wearing the scarlet tunic of an Irish Guards officer, AP's Gregory Katz reported Friday. Royal experts are saying his choice of ceremonial military dress signals his desire to reinforce his image as a dedicated military man, rather than the club-hopping party boy he was once characterized as.
BREAKING: Buckingham Palace says Prince William and Kate Middleton will receive the titles of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Some headlines from the British newspapers:
— The Times of London: "To marry her prince"
— Daily Mirror: "Happiest day of our lives"
— The Guardian: "Two people will marry today — with 2 billion people watching"
— Daily Express: "Today William and Kate invite the nation to ... celebrate our happy day"
— The Sun: "Mum would be so proud"
— Daily Mail: "Smile that says the waiting's over"
— Financial Times: "Hand in marriage: Farewell to single life"
— The Independent: (Under several wedding-related photos) "Not interested in the Royal Wedding? Turn now to page 6"
AP's Jonathan Shenfield and Andrea Foa are working the crowds on the streets of London. Here's some of what people are saying near Buckingham Palace and along the Mall.
— Ingen Elise Kolste, consultant from Norway: "I love them. I think they are very good. When I saw William shaking hands with all of the people, he seems so like his mother and this is a good thing to be."
— Julie Lischer, visiting from Atlanta: "We have celebrities. Hollywood, that is kind of our royal family and it is not the same and we are just so happy for Will and Kate and having followed them from growing up, it's just very exciting."
— Anna Jones, who works in a shop in Straffordshire, England: "We are so excited to be here — we think we got one of the best spaces."
Forget about the dress (for now). Let's start with accessories:
Kate's wedding ring was made out of Welsh gold by the Wartski company, which has long ties to the royal family.
AP's Gregory Katz reports that Welsh gold, which is valued for its quality and scarcity, has been used in royal weddings since 1923. It has been worn by Queen Elizabeth II, as well as the late Princess Diana.
As you may have heard by now, that's the only ring in the ceremony — William has decided not to wear one. At least he'll never have to worry about losing it.
A 1902 State Landau — one of the royal carriages — will be carrying William and Kate from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace, the palace said Friday morning. That means they'll have the top down — actually, it doesn't have a top — so they may catch a raindrop or two if the weather turns south.
Is it too early to talk about beer? Not on royal wedding day. AP's Fergus Bell, who's roaming Trafalgar Square, says he saw people wheeling crates of beer to the bar tent.
Cheers, wedding watchers.
It's cool and cloudy in London at the moment, but the Met Office, Britain's national weather service, says there will be "sunny spells developing." But scattered showers are possible, so if you're in town, bring your brolly. (For the uninitiated, that's an umbrella in these parts.)
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