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Bishops welcome a royal wedding

18 November 2010

by Ed Thornton

SENIOR church figures offered their congratulations to Prince William and Kate Middleton after their engagement was announced on Tuesday.

A statement from Clarence House on Tuesday said that the couple “became engaged in October during a private holiday in Kenya” and that the wedding would take place in London in the spring or summer of next year. The venue is still to be announced, but Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, and the Guards’ Chapel have all been mentioned in press reports.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, a Lambeth Palace spokesman said, was “delighted”. So was the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Revd Vincent Nichols. “I assure them of our prayers and best wishes,” Archbishop Nichols said. Speaking in the House of Lords on Tuesday, the Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Revd Nicholas Reade, ex­pressed the “great delight” of the bench of bishops.

The Evangelical Alliance, in a statement on Wednesday, said that the royal wedding would “lift the spirits of the nation as well as bring a welcome boost to our economy”.

The wedding-insurance manager of Ecclesiastical, David Simms, said that the announcement would “act as a powerful advertisement for a traditional British wedding”.

“As it’s likely Prince William and Kate Middleton’s marriage will take place in a traditional venue, this could . . . encourage a big move back to church weddings from some of the other venues now marketing themselves,” he said.

The Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd James Jones, speaking on Radio 4’s Thought for the Day, said that “one of the first sources of tension” for an engaged couple was “the invitation list. . . Don’t imagine that the royal couple will be immune to this, however big the church they choose.”

He said that the engagement ring that the Prince had given Miss Middleton — the same as his father, the Prince of Wales, had given his mother, Lady Diana Spencer — was “the pledge of a person, all that they are and all that they have”.

“There’ll be many changes in the years ahead for this young couple, whom destiny will, one, distant day, crown King and Queen. Meanwhile, many will hold them in their prayers, asking God, in the words of the Prayer Book, ‘to pour upon them the riches of his grace, that they may please him both in body and soul and live together in holy love until their lives end’.”

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