Why William won’t kiss the bride
LONDON--Even being the future king of England and the co-star of one of the most viewed weddings in history will not spare Prince William the frustration of being denied one typical marriage custom.
Sorry, William, you may not kiss the bride.
As he watches Kate Middleton walk down the aisle at Westminster Abbey on April 29, William will have the traditional groom's checklist stashed in his memory. He will surely mentally admire Kate's dress, nervously go over his vows one final time in his head, and prepare to listen to the solemn words of the archbishop of Canterbury in his final seconds as a bachelor.
But once the ceremony is complete and the rings have been exchanged, there will be no royal smooch at the abbey altar for the benefit of the 1,900 guests in attendance. Church of England protocol expressly forbids such behavior, especially in a hallowed site such as Westminster Abbey, one of the world's most famous churches.
"There will be no kiss during the wedding ceremony," explained the Very Reverend Dr. John Hall, the dean of Westminster and the man responsible for overseeing the spiritual life of Westminster Abbey. "We don't do that in the Church of England. That's sort of a Hollywood thing: ' You may now kiss the bride.' It doesn't happen here."
For the royal family, too, kissing, it seems, is serious business and must be undertaken only in appropriate situations. When William's mother, Princess Diana, wed Prince Charles in 1981, the pair also did not kiss in church. Instead they produced an iconic moment on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. As thousands of well-wishers screamed for the newlyweds to pucker up, Diana said to Charles: "Well, what about it?"
Photographs of the resulting kiss were splashed across the front page of every British newspaper and seen around the world. That balcony moment is due to be repeated by William and Kate, although this time it will be scripted and part of the carefully planned event.
There is even an allocated time for the kiss, 1:25 p.m. London time. Several publications reported this week that William and Kate have gone so far as to practice the act to ensure the camera angles are right for the international press.
Perhaps it is just as well there is to be no kiss in the abbey to distract William and Kate from the procedure of their big occasion. With eight days to go, the archbishop--the principal leader of the Church of England--added some welcome words of wisdom as they prepare for a day where every move will be scrutinized in minute detail.
"William and Catherine are making this commitment very much in the public eye, and they are sensible, realistic young people," said Archbishop Rowan Williams. "They know what the cost of that might be. They have thought that through. And because of that they will need the support, the solidarity, and the prayers of all those who are watching.
"I wish them every richest blessing in their life together and the courage and clarity they will need to live out this big commitment in the full glare--to live it out for the rest of us."