Friday, July 1, 2011

The royal wedding showdown: Monaco vs. the UK

Royals, celebrities, high fashion and big crowds – it can only mean one thing; a Royal Wedding. We compare the upcoming Monaco do to UK’s celebrations.…

Monaco’s Royal Wedding has been rocked by rumours that Prince Albert’s bride-to-be Charlene Wittstock tried to do a runner.

Hot on the heels of our own Royal Wedding April, the couple are set to get married in a lavish two-day wedding extravaganza in Monaco tomorrow on Saturday, but the story goes that swimmer Charlene tried to return to her native South Africa after learning about a secret love child belonging to her fiancé, who already has two illegitimate children.  Some reports claimed that Charlene had her passport confiscated so that the Prince's entourage could persuade her to stay.

The palace have fervently denied any such incident though, so assuming that there will be a happy ending and the wedding goes ahead a planned, how will it fare against Prince William and Kate Middleton fairytale do? Let’s find out.
Above: Charlene Wittstock and Prince Albert  
The bride
‘Commoners’ (neither of them are actually particularly common) Catherine ‘Kate’ Middleton and Charlene Lynette Wittstock both met their princes in 2000. Quintessential English rose Kate (she’s all fresh, glowy skin, shiny brown locks and classic British fashion) and Prince William became love’s young dream when they met at St Andrews University, while African South swimmer Charlene (tall, blonde, athletic with low key elegance) met Prince Albert at a swimming competition she was in, and has been credited with taming the notorious playboy, twenty years her senior. Both couples got engaged last year.
The dress
Kate’s (predicted) £25K wedding gown has been hailed as a success by viewers and fashionistas alike, and deemed the perfect tribute to Alexander McQueen, designed by the late designer's successor Sarah Burton. Its lace bodice and high-waisted, full-skirted silhouette made it remarkably similar to the late Grace Kelly’s wedding dress; Prince Albert’s mother who married her own Prince of Monaco in 1956. Whether or not Charlene will be paying homage to her mother-in-law is unknown, but fashion insiders are predicting something slightly more fuss-free. Georgio Armani - known for elegant gowns with simple silhouettes – is designing the frock, and Charlene’s trademark style is understated glamour. 

The venue
Historic landmark Westminster Abbey was the venue for the UK Royal Wedding, chosen by the couple for its staggering beauty, its thousand years of royal history and its relative intimacy despite its size, all of which could also be said for the Palace of Monaco – Prince Albert’s official residence and his and Charlene’s wedding venue. The civil ceremony will take place in the Throne Room, whilst the religious ceremony will happen in its Main Courtyard.

The schedule
An busy day for our royals: there was the service, followed by a procession for the newlyweds and the Royal Family. The Queen’s lunchtime Reception at Buckingham Palace followed, during which the couple stepped out onto the balcony for the much anticipated kiss. Then dinner and dancing at Buckingham Palace, in an evening do hosted by The Prince of Wales. Sound tiring? Then check out Monaco’s programme; a press event on the beach and special stadium concert by the Eagles on the Thursday will kick off the extravaganza, with a civil wedding on Friday 1 July, a buffet on Palace Square, a reception on the Port followed by a large concert and unique show from Jean Michel Jarre. Saturday 2 July sees the religious ceremony, the procession and then the official dinner on the Opéra terraces, followed by fireworks and the opening of the Ball in the Opéra.
Above: William and Katherine on their wedding day 
Wedding guests
1900 guests attended Westminster Abbey, with 600 attending Queens Lunchtime reception – which sounds epic enough, but we’re being outdone on that front by the Monaco camp, who are leaving their palace gates open to enable approximately 3,500 people to attend the religious ceremony. However, in terms of viewers the UK take some beating - an estimated 2 billion tuned in worldwide. Also, for the ceremony all the men must don white ties and women have been asked to wear modest outfits with covered shoulders. 

Famous faces

Clarence House insisted ahead of Wills and Kate’s bash that it would not be a star-studded affair, but it wasn’t short of celebs, with the Beckhams, Elton John, Rowan Atkinson, Guy Ritchie and Joanna Lumley amongst the guests, as well as famous Royals. Meanwhile, no one from the Monaco camp is denying the fact it is expected to be a A-list bonanza, with Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Mel Gibson, Chanel designer Karl Largerfield, supermodels Karolina Kurkova and Naomi Campbell, and former James Bond actor Sir Roger Moore all invited. They’re also believed to have invited 21 heads of state – including France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and his pregnant wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, as well as a host of royalty from around the world. More famous guests that have recently been confirmed are Andrea Bocelli and Dame Shirley Bassey, plus royals including Prince Edward and Sophie.

The cost
The total estimated cost for the British Royal Wedding came in at around £20million (that’s expenditure alone – the figures get more complicated when you take into account loss to economy vs. profit from merchandise sales/ tourism), which dwarfs the €4 million (around £3.5m) price tag predicted in Monaco. With its impeccable planning and attention to detail, it’s fair to say the UK royal wedding went down without a hitch though. We’ve not long to wait to find out if the same will be said for Monaco’s big day.

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