Bahrain’s Crown Prince turns down invite for Prince William’s wedding ‘with deep regret’
Gulf’s first families make royal wedding guest list
But Bahrain’s Crown Prince turns down invite for Prince William’s wedding ‘with deep regret’
By Andy Sambidge
Prince William and Kate Middleton will marry this Friday at London’s Westminster Abbey
The Gulf’s royals families have been named among the guests set to attend the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton this Friday in London.
The list of invitations, announced by Clarence House, includes Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi who also has a meeting with US president Barack Obama on Tuesday.
But Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa said on Sunday that he has written to the Prince of Wales declining the invitation.
It was with “deep regret” that the prince had come to the decision, which was “out of his keenness to remain with His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, as Bahrain goes through the current conditions, and be at his disposal to answer all Royal orders”, state news agency BNA reported.
“I was hoping the Kingdom of Bahrain would have a high-profile representation at this glamorous event, thus reflecting the friendship bonding our countries. However, the current situation reigning in Bahrain prevents me from attending,” he added.
Other members of GCC royalty attending the wedding service at London’s Westminster Abbey include Sheikh Ahmad Hamoud Al Sabah, the interior minister of Kuwait and Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, minister of heritage and culture in Oman.
Also among a celebrity-loaded guest list are Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the emir of Qatar, and Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned plus Prince Mohamed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UK, and Princess Fadwa bint Khalid bin Abdullah bin Abdulrahman.
In total, more than 40 foreign royals are among the confirmed attendees.
Musician Elton John, footballer David Beckham and his fashion designer wife Victoria and actor Rowan Atkinson are also among the glittering line-up for the service at London’s Westminster Abbey.
The seating plan for the ceremony revealed for the first time that William’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth II and other senior royals will be the front row, together with Kate’s family on the other side of the aisle.
There are several heads of government including Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her New Zealand counterpart John Key, along with governors-general from 15 Commonwealth realms where the queen is still the monarch.
The wedding is expected to be watched by a worldwide television audience of around two billion.
Celebrities feature heavily on the guest list, and also include Guy Ritchie, the director and ex-husband of Madonna, and Australian Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe, whom St James’s Palace said William had met last year.
A number of William’s colleagues from his job as a search and rescue helicopter pilot for the Royal Air Force will also be attending, along with members of charities he supports.
Inside Westminster Abbey itself, only the bride and groom’s nearest and dearest will be able to witness the ceremony close up. Most guests will be behind the choir screen, a partition in the abbey which restricts the view of the altar to those behind it. They will have to watch on video screens to see the moment when William and Kate exchange their vows.