Royal wedding: Westminster Abbey seating plan revealed

Westminster Abbey Two thousand guests are to attend the ceremony

The guest list and seating plan for Prince William's wedding to Kate Middleton have been revealed.

Close family members are to sit nearest to the royal couple as they take their vows on Friday at Westminster Abbey.

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry will sit in the front row.

Celebrity guests include Sir Elton John, David and Victoria Beckham and Rowan Atkinson.

Miss Middleton's mother Carole will sit directly opposite the Queen, next to her husband Michael and her son James.

The remaining places on the Middletons' front row are yet to be confirmed.

Celebrity guests

Westminster Abbey is essentially two churches, said the BBC's Royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell.

Those sitting near the high altar will have the best view of the marriage while guests in the nave would see very little, he said.

Analysis

Democracy may not be an obvious subject on the minds of David Cameron and Nick Clegg, as they sit in their top hat and tails in the ancient abbey.

But it might arise when they glance around at their fellow guests.

Close by will be the senior representatives of two countries which have recently clamped down on pro-democracy protests - the Crown Prince of Bahrain and the King of Swaziland.

They are two of the 46 foreign royals who've been invited. There'll be six kings and five queens - all have titles, not all still possess thrones.

There'll also be reminders of the price of the pursuit of democracy. The sister of one soldier killed in Iraq; the widow of another who died in Afghanistan; and a Lance Corporal with burns to much of his body will be in the congregation.

The wedding will see 2,000 guests pack into the 1,000-year-old Abbey.

Among those attending will be Olympic swimming star Ian Thorpe, who recently announced that he was coming out of retirement to compete in London in 2012.

Prince William met the sportsman when he visited Australia last year and he is now a supporter of the swimmer's charity, Thorpe's Fountain for Youth.

Other sports personalities attending will be former England rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward, Sir Trevor Brooking, a Football Association colleague of the Prince who is the body's president, and Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas.

Service personnel also feature heavily in the guest list.

Squadron Leader Paul Bolton, from RAF Valley in Anglesey, North Wales, where the prince is based as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot has been invited.

Prince William has invited members of the families of two close friends and colleagues from Sandhurst who died on active service.

Holly Dyer, the sister of 2nd Lieutenant Joanna Dyer, who was killed by a bomb in Iraq in 2007, and Susie Roberts, the widow of William's Sandhurst platoon commander Major Alexis Roberts, killed four years ago in Afghanistan, will both be in the congregation.

Spencer family

Next to the Middletons will be members of the Spencer family including Lady Sarah McCorquodale, the sister of William's mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

Guide to the Royal wedding

Lady Anne Wake-Walker, Diana's aunt; Lord Fellowes and Lady Jane Fellowes, Diana's brother-in-law and sister; and Earl Spencer will be seated alongside her.

Foreign dignitaries and diplomats will sit in the South Transept which is directly to the side.

Forty-six foreign royals will be in attendance, including the Prince of Bahrain, whose country was recently criticised by Foreign Secretary William Hague for its human rights record.

Prime Minister David Cameron and other cabinet members and Ed Miliband, Labour leader will sit in the south side of the Abbey behind the choir.

Seated behind the choir will be faith representatives and friends of the bride and groom.

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