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Royal Wedding: Preparations for the Upcoming Royal Nuptials

Aired April 2, 2011 - 14:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Here's a quick look at this hour's top headlines before we get to a royal wedding watch special.

All right, workers at Japan's crippled nuclear plant are pouring concrete into a cracked shaft that's outside reactor two. Highly radioactive water is leaking out of that basin and into the ocean. They suspect one of the many pipes inside the reactor is leaking radioactive material.

Coalition airstrikes have hit several rebel vehicles in Libya killing at least 13 fighters. That is according to an opposition spokesman. NATO says it is also investigating a report that a coalition strike hit rebels in the eastern oil town of Al Brega.

And terrifying moments for the passengers and crew on a Southwest Airlines flight. A three-to-four foot hole opened in the Boeing 737's roof after takeoff from phoenix. The pilot was able to make an emergency landing at a military base in Yuma, Arizona. When the hole opened, some passengers panicked.

And I'll be back in a half an hour. Is it a good idea to move after you retire? We'll have an expert here to breakdown some of the retirement misfit 2:30 Eastern time.

Right now, Richard Quest and the special look at the upcoming royal wedding.

RICHARD QUEST, HOST: Hello and welcome to London. I'm Richard Quest. Join me as we start the countdown to this month's royal wedding. If we are going to be talking royalty, you and me, we better be traveling in style.

Hello, Rodney.

We have driven two hours west of London to the English county of Gloucester. It is a mile up the road behind high walls and locked gates where we have high-grove house, then country home of where Prince Charles, Prince of Wales resides. It is where Prince William and Prince Harry grew up with their father and late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

This is a quaint example of an English country town, right down to the souvenir shop which at the moment is selling memorabilia for the royal wedding. Now we need to return to London and visit the real home of royalty, Westminster Abbey, which has seen 38 coronations going back 1,000 years. This is where Prince William will marry Kate Middleton. The abbey has many mixed emotions for the prince.


MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If British-ness can be defined by the royalty, then this church is as British as they come. Westminster Abbey comes under the jurisdiction of the queen herself. She was crowned here as were all heads of state going back to 1066. Prince William's uncle Andrew was married here and William mourned here after the loss of his mother.

The couple told aides that they chose Westminster Abbey not only because of the 1,000-year-old history, but also because of its staggering beauty. Once she is inside the church, Katherine will come through with her father past the choir stalls. We expect her to come up here to the high altar where she will meet William and be married.

SARAH HAYWOOD, WEDDING PLANNER: When they both say "I do" and he proclaims them husband and wife, I suspect they will hear the cheer outside. Maybe that is the moment for them to acknowledge that around the world people have been watching with them. I would imagine even the most cynical among us, surely, when you see a couple exchange their wedding vows, your heart does melt a bit.

FOSTER: Westminster Abbey is steeped in history. For William and Kate, that means family history. Their wedding will be a personal event in the most public of settings.

Max Foster, CNN, London.


QUEST: Now for this week's etiquette and style guide. One of the first things Kate will have had to learn is how to get in and out of an official limousine. It is not as easy as it sounds. Rodney, we need help here. The temptation is just to sort of come out and launch yourself out in an ungraceful fashion.

RODNEY: That won't do it. That is not the way we suggest. That is better. You will spring yourself to the edge of the seat and turn. You walk out of the car. It is much easier and more graceful.

QUEST: You can carry on with your engagements. Now getting back in again, because you don't want to launch yourself back in. We launch ships. Not ourselves.

RODNEY: You do the same in reverse. You walk in and you turn and you sit.

QUEST: Head first?

RODNEY: Yes. Head first. Step up. Walk in and turn and away you go. That was much better.

QUEST: I think it was. Home now, please.

RODNEY: OK, sir. QUEST: Back on the road from William's home at High Grove to Kate's at Bucklebury, a distance of about 55 miles, an hour on the road, for the couple, a journey of a lifetime, after the break.

Here is what our friends at have unveiled in our special wedding blog. Kate Middleton's oval blue 18 carat sapphire ring is the talk of the world. Invitations have been appearing everywhere. A TV shopping network has made one in silver within their words, "oval pressed diamondique for the low price of $54.60." The real thing? Perhaps not.


Welcome back. I'm Richard Quest now in Bucklebury. One of the quaint villages where Kate Middleton grew up. It has the pubs up the road, the church yard with the daffodils. Here, the local people, not surprisingly, are excited about royal arrivals.

What do you make of it all? Because you are going around and showing people these places. It is a bit odd.

CHARMION GRIFFITHS, TOUR GUIDE: It is very odd. But I'm delighted.

QUEST: It can actually be quite difficult to find your way around these small English villages between Bucklebury and upper Bucklebury, you could be going around for hours. Peach's Stores has taken the royal wedding to its heart. It is the only place in Britain where you can get these special candy sweets, hearts and rings. And for the owner, they really made a connection with the royal couple. Max Foster explains.


FOSTER: First of all, your reaction when you got the invite?

HASH SHINGADIA, SHOP OWNER: Absolutely overjoyed. You can't discover the feeling when you get it. Brilliant.

FOSTER: You have known Kate for years now. Tell us about the Kate you know.

FOSTER: Really she is from the village and she comes in here to do her shopping, very approachable. One of the things is my wife made her curry a little while ago which she enjoyed. I think she came in one day and my wife was cooking. She said it smelled lovely. I brought some down. I called my wife. She came downstairs, gave her some to take away.

FOSTER: She liked it?

HASH SHINGADIA: Yes. Good response.

FOSTER: Tell us about William. What is he like? HASH SHINGADIA: Shocking the first time I saw him. You don't expect him to walk in. It was lovely. He came to the counter and talked to us. We said how are you? He was fine, very approachable.

FOSTER: I know William has a favorite product.


FOSTER: And I notice you have some in the fridge.

HASH SHINGADIA: Yes. We made sure because the first time he came in, that was one of the first products he wanted. We always make sure we carry it in stock.


QUEST: The busy local shop which seems to have royal approval. If Kate needs any reminder of what she is getting into, she needs to look no further and the post box, the royal mail. At the bottom, "Gr," King George. Then it will be "Wr."

How many of the royals have you seen around here?

VIVIAN WARD, BUCKLEBURY RESIDENT: They do see the Middletons, but not in the village down here. They live in Upper Bucklebury.

QUEST: And as everyone knows, there is a great difference between Bucklebury and Upper Bucklebury.


That is the private driveway that leads down to where Kate's parents live. For Carol and Michael Middleton, it is a new way of life as well as they get to grips with royal etiquette.

Coming up, you heard the inevitable comparisons between Diana and Kate. It is what you haven't heard. The bits only a royal biographer would know.

First, we need to get to grips with royal speak 101. Once William and Kate get married, she will officially become "her royal highness." The exact title she will take will not be known until a few days before the wedding.

When William becomes king, Kate's title will become "queen consort." She is not a queen in her own right because she is not in the genetic line. So she will not rule if anything happened to her husband.

Throughout royal history, there have been many queen consorts. Perhaps the most famous queen consort in history Anne Boleyn, who was married to King Henry VIII. She could not produce a male heir to the throne and she was beheaded for adultery. How times have changed at the palace.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) QUEST: Now this week in royal wedding news. Weeks away from his wedding William had a visitor. It was his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. He gave her majesty a personal tour of the rescue helicopter, which he operates in her name.

William's best man, Prince Harry is in Siberia dragging a 200 pound backpack to the Arctic Circle. Speaking of brain freeze, an English sports betting firm is offering 38 to 1 odds that Prince Harry will forget to take the couple's rings to Westminster Abbey on their big day. But it turns out he only needs to worry about Kate's ring. Prince William will not wear a wedding band. That is what the couple wants.

There could be no finer place than the village of Bucklebury for us to begin our discussion about the royal wedding. Joining me here is CNN's royal expert Mark Saunders. Mark, we are in April. The momentum is now building.

MARK SAUNDERS, CNN ROYAL EXPERT: We are facing something in the modern times. This is a modern royal wedding. We have a collision of celebrity and monarchy and tradition. We cannot lose the fact William is Diana's oldest child.

QUEST: To that extent, how is Kate being prepared for that? At the end of the day, she is not being brought up for the weight of attention that is now arriving upon her.

SAUNDERS: We know she has been with William for several years. They have been living together. So she knows her husband-to-be. It is not like Princess Diana who was the worst prepared queen to be in history. Kate is probably the best prepared.

Kate as a person, when she was dating him and when I first met Kate, it was on a polo field. The only way I could describe her was charming. Now I would feel, what do I do? Do I have to bow? She has taken on a very regal look.

QUEST: The wedding itself. Let's turn to lighter issues. We now know the abbey. We know the guest list. We know the parties. We know the cars and carriages. We even know the cakes. Who is driving this bus at the moment? Is it Kate? Is it William? Is it the courtiers?

SAUNDERS: We are under this myth that William and Katherine are under the impression they are in charge. It is a very political thing. We hear Kate is designing the dress and so much. She is taking an active interest as is her mother. The event is a whole gang of people that are bringing this all together.

QUEST: Mark, many thanks. You and I have been talking about the real thing. When we come back in just a moment, we will meet the Kate-a-likes.


QUEST: I can't be on a royal tour without stopping for a picnic. After all, the sandwich is as English as the aristocracy itself. Although I have all of the accoutrements, I have now seen any royals. And even if you do, be careful, the Kate-a-likes are about.


NICK WATTS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Remember this? But what was happening the moments before? Yes, just like any other freshly engaged royal couple, they were being buffed up for the camera. Now, let's be honest here. This is not actually Prince William, although he is thinning on top. No, he is Simon from Australia.

SIMON WATKINSON, PRINCE WILLIAM LOOKALIKE: I'm a civil engineer. This is completely different, a completely different career for me.

WATTS: How long will it last?

WATKINSON: At least until the wedding, I guess. Perhaps beyond that for the honeymoon and when he becomes king, I might get a call back as well. I might have to lose a bit more hair by then.

WATTS: And this isn't Kate Middleton. It is Jodie from Essex. When she is nervous, she giggles.

JODIE BREDO, "KATE MIDDLETON" LOOKALIKE: I can't really say it myself. All of my friends and family say I look like her.

ALISON JACKSON, PHOTOGRAPHER: That is really great. Your smile is really great.

WATTS: The photographer has made a career by playing with our notions of celebrity. She shoots in the paparazzi style, peeking through the window.

JACKSON: We don't really know much about the royal family and what goes on behind the scenes. I'm trying to imagine what it might be. We sort of feel we know them, but we don't really know them.

WATTS: Glimpsing some of the contact sheets, you can see she let her imagination run. The intention is to amuse in the gentlest way. David Beckham's look alike checked out the mirror. His real name is Andy. His present for the groom with a pair of tiny football boots.

Elton John, Alfie, dropped by with his baby with the platform baby boots. And Elton didn't seem to be bonding with the baby. So as luck would have it, Kate was called upon for some practice nappy changing. Funny that.


QUEST: Time goes so quickly when we are talking royalty. Do join me next week when we will be hearing about Prince William's famous family history. And don't forget on the big day itself, April 29th I'll be there along with Piers Morgan, Anderson Cooper, we'll be at Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace. And you're invited too. It is a right royal wedding on CNN.