herald

Friday 17 August 2018

Family affair as Harry and Kate's sister get roles in royal wedding

Key supporting roles in the royal wedding of the year -- if not the decade -- were handed out, with Prince Harry named as his brother's best man and Kate Middleton's sister Pippa chosen as maid of honour.

Prince William and his fiancee also named brides-maids and page boys for the big event, including two three-year-olds who will be asked to be on their best behaviour during the globally televised ceremony.

The announcements by St James' Palace made it clear the April 29 wedding at Westminster Abbey will be a family affair that emphasises the tight bonds between Britain's youthful princes and between Middleton and her younger sister, the stylish, 27-year-old Pippa Middleton, whose formal name is Philippa.

In the past, royal grooms have usually chosen more than one best man, or supporter as they are sometimes called. But the 28-year-old Prince William has made clear that Prince Harry (26), offers all the support he needs -- so both children of the late Princess Diana will have integral roles in the ceremony.

"It's unusual to have only just one man," said Joe Little, of Majesty magazine. "All of the queen's sons -- Charles, Andrew, Edward -- had two supporters at their wedding. But obviously William doesn't feel the need to have more than one supporter and it's by no means a hard-and-fast rule."

The recognition of Prince Harry's key role in his brother's life is one more step in the redemption of his once-tattered public image.

Harry had been derided as a carrot-topped party boy with questionable taste after he was photographed in 2005 wearing Nazi paraphernalia at a costume party, and after he was disciplined by his father, Prince Charles, for smoking marijuana. But he has gained a measure of respect recently for his military deployment in Afghanistan.

Harry's on-again, off-again relationship with Chelsy Davy has also sparked speculation about a possible second royal British wedding in the not-too-distant future.

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