Abbey wedding may help William heal sad memories

ITN News

by ITN News

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Holding the royal wedding at Westminster Abbey will go some way to banishing Prince William's sad memories of the historic building used to stage his mother's funeral.

As a teenager the royal walked behind the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales as it was led to the ancient place of worship in September 1997.

But now William and his fiancee Kate Middleton have plumped for the Abbey as the venue where they will exchange wedding vows, his feelings associated with the building may change.

The place of worship is a fitting setting to host the event as its French Gothic walls which tower above worshippers have welcomed kings and queens for more than 700 years.

The present Abbey was begun by Henry III in 1245. It has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of 17 monarchs.

The first ceremony at the Abbey saw William I crowned King on Christmas Day 1066.

And the most recent was a televised event where the Queen, Elizabeth II, took her seat on the coronation chair in 1953 and took the coronation oath.

Many royal weddings have been held at the Abbey during the 20th century.

The Queen's parents, Prince Albert - later George VI - and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Queen Mother, exchanged their vows there in April 1923.

Just after the Second World War the monarch, then Princess Elizabeth, married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, later the Duke of Edinburgh, on November 20 1947.

The ceremony was fairly simple reflecting the post-war austerity Britain was experiencing as the nation recovered from the huge efforts of defeating Hitler's forces with its Allies two years previously.

To be able to have a wedding dress the Queen had to collect clothing coupons like any other young bride.

Princess Margaret, the monarch's sister, married Antony Armstrong-Jones, later Earl of Snowdon, at the church in May 1960. Their marriage was dissolved 18 years later.

The Princess Royal wed Captain Mark Phillips in November 1973. Their marriage was dissolved in April 1992.

The Duke of York walked down the Abbey's aisle with Sarah, the Duchess of York, when they were married in July 1986. The pair divorced ten years later.