Why Wedding Bells Ring Softly for the Latest Royal Couple the Youngest Son of Queen Elizabeth II Will Tie the Knot Saturday in A

Article excerpt

For the first time in living memory in Britain, The Mall - the broad, brick-colored avenue leading from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace - will be open to ordinary traffic during a royal wedding.

The reason is that tomorrow's nuptials between Prince Edward, Queen Elizabeth II's youngest son, and Sophie Rhys-Jones will be happening 15 miles north of the British capital, at Windsor Castle.

So in the royal heart of London there will be no gilt carriages pulled by well-behaved horses, no red-jacketed guardsmen in gleaming brass helmets, to prevent cars using the thoroughfare that has seen the queen's other three children undertake marriages that all ended in tears. It is only one of many signs that the queen is content to see Edward and his bride, a public relations consultant, get married in what royal-watcher Harold Brooks-Baker says will be "a deliberately low-key atmosphere." Even the 75 million commemorative wedding stamps that went on sale in British post offices June 15 are an understatement. They are printed in black and white instead of color, and the young couple is wearing dark polo-neck sweaters. To ram the point home that the wedding is perceived as a family affair, rather than a state ceremony of the kind that marked the marriages of Prince Charles to Diana Spencer (to whom Ms. Rhys- Jones bears a striking resemblance), and Prince Andrew to Sarah Ferguson, there will be no military guards of honor. "The only uniforms the wedding guests will see will be worn by police officers," a Ministry of Defense source says. NOT everyone is happy about the scaled-down early evening ceremony. A reporter with the News of the World tabloid says: "A start time of 5 p.m. is just terrible for us. We won't have a chance to take photographs of the blushing bride before presses for our early Sunday editions begin to roll. …


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