Prince William pays tribute to Diana at wedding

LONDON - Britain’s Prince William made sure his mother Princess Diana in his own words didn’t “miss out” on the ceremony and celebrations for his wedding to Kate Middleton in Westminster Abbey on Friday.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Fri 29 Apr 2011, 10:08 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:01 PM

His bride wore Diana’s engagement ring, a hymn from his late mother’s funeral was sung at the service and guests for the wedding included Elton John — who sang “Candle in the Wind” at Diana’s funeral in the abbey.

Fourteen years ago, the eyes of the world watched as William, then 15, walked solemnly behind the coffin of his mother as it was taken through the packed streets of London to her funeral.

William wed Middleton in front of almost 2,000 guests and an audience of millions worldwide. But the one person conspicuous by her absence was Diana, who died in a Paris car crash in 1997. From the moment the couple announced they were getting married last November, William has deliberately ensured that Diana’s memory would not be forgotten, giving Middleton his mother’s large blue oval sapphire and diamond engagement ring.

“It’s very special to me,” William told reporters in November. “It’s my way of making sure my mother didn’t miss out on today and the excitement and the fact we are going to spend the rest of our lives together.”

The build-up to the day and the ceremony itself has been littered with reminders of Diana.

“The only downside (of the wedding) is the sad side,” said Joan Lunden, a U.S. TV host who covered Diana’s wedding in 1981 and is part of the Fox News royal wedding team.

“That thought of ‘Gee, I wish Diana was here’.”

Before the wedding, the couple were reported to have visited Diana’s resting place, an island at her family’s Althorp estate in central England.

“It was very important for William to take Kate to visit his mum just before their wedding day,” a source told the Daily Mirror newspaper. “It is tragic that she won’t be there to see the wedding and that she never got to meet his bride.”

Wedding address

The wedding address was delivered by the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, who knew Diana since her 1981 marriage to William’s father Prince Charles and was an executor of her will.

He also delivered an address at a memorial service to mark the 10th anniversary of her death.

One of the hymns chosen by the couple for their service, “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer,” was the final one to be sung at Diana’s funeral.

“I think it’s the most joyous result and I’m sure Diana would be very, very happy about it,” pop star John said of William’s upcoming wedding in a recent U.S. TV interview.

Diana was a royal outcast when she was killed aged 36, a year after she and Charles divorced.

However, her huge popularity both at home and abroad dwarfed that of the royal family and her early death generated enormous sympathy for William and his younger brother Harry, sentiments that have meant both retain much public sympathy to this day.

Two other guests at Friday’s wedding will also forever be linked to Diana and her untimely death — Charles’s second wife Camilla who he married in 2005 and Diana’s brother Charles Spencer.

Diana blamed Camilla for the breakdown of her relationship with heir-to-the-throne Charles, famously saying in a TV interview “there were three of us in this marriage.”

Spencer will be remembered for the scathing attack he launched on the House of Windsor at his sister’s funeral, promising William and Harry would not be stifled by the royals.

“I pledge that we, your blood family, will do all we can to continue the imaginative way in which you were steering these two exceptional young men so that their souls are not simply immersed by duty and tradition but can sing openly as you planned,” he said.

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