Clarence House today announced - rather early on compared to other royal weddings - who will be Prince William of Britain’s and Kate Middleton’s attendants at their wedding in Westminster Abbey on 29 April.
Prince William’s best man will as expected be his younger brother Prince Henry (“Harry”). It is something of a royal tradition that brothers act in this capacity for British princes getting married - however, the term used has traditionally been “supporters” rather than best man/men. The supporters at Prince Charles’s first wedding were his younger brothers Andrew and Edward, whereas Prince Edward also acted as supporter at Prince Andrew’s wedding in 1986.
Kate Middleton has likewise chosen her younger sister Philippa “Pippa” Middleton to be maid of honour. Neither the late Diana, Princess of Wales nor Queen Elizabeth II had a maid of honour at their weddings, so this is something of an invention for a royal wedding.
The Queen on the other hand had a number of somewhat older bridesmaids lead by Princess Margaret, whereas Princess Diana was accompanied by several children acting as bridesmaids and page boys. Kate Middleton will be accompanied by six children as she walks down the aisle of Westminster Abbey: Lady Louise Windsor, the daughter of the Earl and Countess of Wessex and as such Prince William’s cousin; the Hon. Margarita Armstrong-Jones, granddaughter of the late Princess Margaret and thus Prince William’s second cousin; Grace van Cutsem, who is Prince William’s goddaughter and daughter of his good friend Hugh van Cutsem; Eliza Lopes, granddaughter of Prince William’s stepmother the Duchess of Cornwall; William (“Billy”) Lowther-Pinkerton, son of Prince William’s Private Secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton; and Tom Pettifer, who is Prince William’s godson and the youngest son of Alexandra “Tiggy” Pettifer (née Legge-Bourke), who was hired by Prince Charles as some sort of “nanny” or personal assistant to his sons in the 1990s.
What stands out from this list is perhaps the inclusion of the Duchess of Cornwall’s granddaughter as a nice touch and symbolising how even the British royal family has become a “modern” extended family with step-siblings and the like. Also noticeable is the absence of any of Prince William’s relatives on his mother’s side, such as his uncle Earl Spencer’s two children from his second marriage, who are of the right age. One may also note that all the bridal children are primarily connected to the groom rather than to the bride, but this is apparently a result of the fact that there seems to be no children of suitable age in Kate Middleton’s family.