William & Kate A to Z

26 fun and surprising facts
about the biggest royal wedding
since Charles and Di!

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Meet Dr. Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Church of England who will officiate William and Kate's wedding. A published poet and Simpsons fan, Dr. Williams follows in a long line of archbishops (he's the 104th) who've traditionally married the monarchs-to-be. Another claim to fame: Dr. Williams shares a birthplace (Swansea, Wales) with an Oscar winner, Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Find out more about the man of faith here.

Once the royal manor of 11th-century king Edward the Confessor and a station for troops during World War II, the quaint but affluent village 55 miles west of London where Kate Middleton grew up last made headlines in 2008, when Prince William landed a helicopter there to visit his girlfriend. Watch a guided tour of the place Kate calls home – and meet some of the town folk, who weigh in on its most famous resident's upcoming wedding to the future king of England.
Take a tour of Bucklebury.

Though she goes by Kate, Catherine Elizabeth Middleton shares a name with an illustrious group of women, including five previous queens of England! The name (meaning pure in Greek) gained popularity during the Crusades and since then, many great Kates have made their mark on history – among them Catherine de Medici, Catherine the Great and Catherine of Aragon, a wife of Henry the VIII.
Meet other great Kates in history.

If tradition is to be carried down, William will receive a new title on his wedding day – a royal protocol observed when his uncles married: Prince Andrew became Duke of York when he said "I do" to Fergie in 1986, while Prince Edward earned the title of Earl of Wessex when he wed Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999. Many titles are still up for grabs – from the Dukedom of Sussex ( a front-runner) to the Duke of Cambridge – and it will be up to William's granny, Queen Elizabeth, to determine where he presides.
Which dukedom is fit for Prince William?

With friends and hangers-on vying for an invite to what's to be sure the wedding of the year, the beloved talk show queen has a legitimate claim for an invitation: She's related to Kate Middleton! Sure, they are distant cousins – 15th! – but family is family, so says The New England Historic Genealogical Society, who traced their ties.
Find out how Kate and Ellen are cousins!
Photos: The royal guest list

The much-maligned dessert has a storied history, reportedly dating back to ancient Egypt, when it was placed on the tombs of loved ones going into the afterlife. Filled with fruits and nuts – symbols of fertility – it was even outlawed briefly in the 18th century for being sinfully rich, but the ban was short-lived as Victorian-era Britons demanded their cake during tea hour. Now, the sweet treat has become a wedding reception favorite among English couples, and Will and Kate could be the next to bite into it!
More on England's nutty fruitcake tradition here.

Kate Middleton may be allergic to horses, but the princess-to-be could very well carry a horseshoe charm sewn onto the hem of her dress as a symbol of good luck – just as Diana had onto hers – when she weds Prince William. Or perhaps she'll carry a silver sixpence, as in "something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in your shoe," a practice that originated in Victorian times.
See more quirky, Old English wedding traditions here!

Now the most eligible royal bachelor on the market – and third in line to the British throne! – Prince Henry Charles Albert David Windsor is not only William's brother but also his best man. And he's been living up to both roles, in championing Kate Middleton ("I get a sister," he's said) and in continuing his late mother Diana's charitable works, all while serving his country as a lieutenant in the British Army.
See what makes William's little brother the ultimate Prince Charming!
Photos: Royal bachelors around the world.

The London-based designer of Kate Middleton's must-have, blue engagement dress has always maintained she designs clothes for real women – and apparently, for real-life princesses-to-be! Ten years after launching her label, Brazilian-born Daniella Helayel's signature draped jersey dresses have won over a Hollywood fan base that includes Madonna, Gwen Stefani and Scarlett Johansson. But it was Middleton's blue dress, which sold out almost instantly, that turned the label into an international household name.
Photos: Shop Kate's ISSA looks for less!

Since the reign of Queen Victoria more than 160 years ago, Garrard has been the official crown jeweler. Though Queen Elizabeth distanced the royal family's ties to the esteemed London jewelry house in 2007, reportedly after being less than impressed with the company's racy new image, William and Kate could have their wedding rings made by jewelry house. After all, Garrard made the late Princess Diana's iconic sapphire engagement ring – the one that's now sparkling on Kate Middleton's finger.
Learn more about the royal family jewels.

The country where William popped the question to Kate Middleton during a romantic fishing trip on Lake Rutundu is near and dear to the future king. "Africa is my second home," he has said of the continent where he spent his gap year and took his fiancée on safari early in their courtship.
See the spot where the Prince proposed!

Traditionally friends or relatives, ladies-in-waiting serve as a right-hand woman to a royal, and for Kate, it seems her sister Pippa would be the perfect choice. The younger sibling, 27, will be Kate's maid of honor on the big day, but her responsibilities would expand once Kate becomes a princess, including traveling and attending official engagements with her. If Kate does secure Pippa as her lady-in-waiting, she'll be in good company: Both Princess Diana and Camilla Parker Bowles enlisted their sisters for help.
Kate's lady-in-waiting: Who will she choose?

Will and Kate's favorite nightclub for Polynesian fun was once managed by the Prince's wingman Guy Pelly, who's also planning the royal bachelor party. But the Dover Street nightspot isn't the only exclusive London club frequented by the couple – they've partied till the wee hours at Chinawhite, Volstead and Boujis, the club in which the pair went on a secret date following their brief split in 2007.
Get Prince William and Kate's favorite club playlist here.

Instead of one of the many royal residences at his family's disposal, Prince William and Kate Middleton have made their home in a four-bedroom farmhouse in this quaint, sheep-laden region complete with a gastro pub and a Tesco supermarket where locals often catch a glimpse of the down-to-earth couple. And they'll be seeing more of the young newlyweds – the Prince has another two years to complete his duties as a helicopter pilot with the Royal Air Force.
Take a tour of North Wales.

A front-runner to design Kate's wedding dress, Bruce Oldfield is an established name among the royal and high society set. Plus, the 60-year-old couturier to William's late mum Diana has been backed as the perfect choice to design Kate's gown by none other than Elizabeth Emanuel, who outfitted the Princess of Wales on her wedding day 30 years earlier. Further fueling rumors that Oldfield could be The One: Kate's mum Carole and sister Pippa were spotted at one of his stores.
See the buzz on Bruce Oldfield and his role in the royal wedding.

For two decades, the Irish milliner has enchanted Hollywood and real-life royalty, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Lady Gaga, Kate Middleton and Princess Beatrice, with his fanciful headpieces. While William and Kate will be the main event on April 29, the side show will most certainly be the parade of head-turning hats – from futuristic discs and a riot of floral toppers to a butterfly colony – adorning the heads of their wedding guests, a custom still observed by Britons for weddings and worship.
See the pageantry of royal mad hatters here!
See Kate's wardrobe of hats here!

At 84, she is Britain's oldest monarch, having ruled the throne since February 1952, when she was just 25 years old. But don’t be fooled, the octogenarian – who is known for her ingeniously discreet communication tactics – is very much in touch with modern times. You can find Her Majesty social networking on Flickr, YouTube, and yes, even Twitter.
Learn more fun facts about the Queen of England.

Not invited to William and Kate's wedding? The average commoner can still celebrate the occasion – with the first-ever Royal Engagement coin issued by the Royal Mint to commemorate the young couple's betrothal. While critics argue the likeness of Kate Middleton on the £5 coin bears little resemblance to the actual princess-to-be, the design received the royal seal of approval from Prince William and Her Majesty the Queen. Luckily for Kate, it's a limited-edition coin.
From coins to crockery, see how England's commemorating the royal wedding!

Known as the U.K.'s "top match-making university," is it a wonder the future king and queen fell in love there? The Scottish burgh is where they spent nights out at local pubs and a pizza joint, and also enjoyed dates under aliases at a boutique hotel restaurant. That occasion had Kate playing by the rules of many a college girl: Despite dating a British royal, when it came time for the check, the couple went dutch!
Get an inside look at William and Kate's Scotland.

When Kate Middleton walks down the aisle of Westminster Abbey to marry Prince William, she will certainly look the part of royalty. But no royal wedding attire is complete without a crown jewel befitting a princess-to-be. Queen Elizabeth and William's late mum Diana both wore stunning tiaras on their wedding days – and it's likely William's granny will at the very least loan (if not gift) one of the many glittering headpieces in the Windsor vault to his future wife.
Vote! Which tiara should Kate wear?

Prince William has been an usher at some of his best friends' weddings, but sadly for them, they won't get the chance to return the favor. That's because the role of helping ceremony guests to their pews at Westminster Abbey will go to a 10-member group of paid Gentlemen Ushers, a tradition that dates back to the 15th century.
Learn more about the Queen's Gentlemen Ushers here.

For the ultra-modern among us hoping for self-penned vows in which William and Kate utter intimate, personal promises to one another, there will be disappointment. The couple will pick one of two sets of traditional vows on their wedding day: old verses from the Book of Common Prayer of 1662 or the not-so-old ones in The Book of Common Worship, which is widely used today in the Protestant Church of England.
Get the scoop about William and Kate's wedding vows.

The Abbey has held close ties with the British monarchy since the days of King Edward the Confessor, who founded the 11th-century Gothic church. It's been the site of many glorious royal coronations, burials and weddings, with the earliest dating back to 1100, when King Henry I married Princess Matilda of Scotland. Queen Elizabeth, her daughter Princess Anne and son Prince Andrew all married at Westminster, so it's fitting that her grandson, Prince William, will follow in Windsor suit.
See 5 things to know about Westminster Abbey.

Xoxo! With the biggest royal wedding since Charles and Di taking over London, leave it to Nottingham, England's largest beer company, Castle Rock Brewery, to toast the happy occasion in its own way – with a new, limited-edition ale! The royal tipple is described as "elegant, tasteful and British to the core" – much like Will and Kate. We'll drink to that!
Raise a pint to Will and Kate's wedding kiss!

Don't call her that! When Kate becomes an official royal on her wedding day, the proper way to refer to her will be Her Royal Highness, or HRH – a "style" that commonly precedes the names of princes and princesses in the British monarchy. So, as of April 29, Kate will take on a much longer name: HRH Princess William of Wales, while informally, she'll be Princess Catherine. Here's hoping she registers for some new stationary!
Introducing Kate Middleton: HRH Princess William of Wales.

It was here that William and Kate debuted their PDA during a weeklong Swiss Alps ski vacation at the resort town Zermatt in March 2007 – but just a month later the couple split. Relive the pair's famously private courtship and brief public breakup and see how, eight years after meeting as coeds at St. Andrews University in Scotland, they're making it all official.
Photos: William and Kate's fairy-tale love story.