Royal wedding: Final night as plain Miss Middleton in historic suite

28 APRIL 2011

In the Belgravia hotel suite where Kate Middleton is spending her last night as a commoner hangs a slice of history - a prototype of Queen Victoria's silk bridal gown and tiara.

The artefact is a fitting reminder of the life of public duty ahead, and fortuitously also one of the great royal love stories of previous ages. It's well known that Victoria doted on her husband Prince Albert.


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Guests at the Goring Hotel have included Queen Mary, George V's wife, who would take afternoon tea there, and it was also a favourite of the Queen Mother.

During the Queen's coronation in 1952 it virtually became an annexe to Buckingham Palace.


The hotel's link to the royal family was perhaps one of the reasons that the Middleton family personally chose the 71-room establishment as their sanctuary before the their daughter's high-profile transformation into Britain's future Queen.

The bride-to-be and her family - parents Carole and Michael, and younger siblings Pippa and James - are staying together on the top floor in a newly-refurbished five-bedroom suite overlooking a quiet internal garden square.


It's highly unlikely that William's future wife will get much sleep before her big day.

There will be no time for lie ins. A team of people are coming in early to assist the 29-year-old bride.

James Pryce, a senior stylist at the Richard Ward salon in Chelsea, is the man responsible for creating Kate's 'natural' wedding look. While he works on the bride's tresses, his boss Richard, a celebrity favourite, is in charge of Carole and Pippa's hairdos.

"We've had many practice runs - and not just with Kate," Richard told the Daily Mail.

"The one rule is by the time she gets to the end of the altar her husband must recognise her."


Her wedding dress designer, whose name has still not been revealed, will help fit the bride into her gown and make any last minute adjustments.

David Emanuel told how he personally bundled Diana into the Glass Coach because her yards of taffeta wouldn't fit.

The florist in charge of Kate and Pippa's bouquets, will stop by to hand over the floral arrangements.

While it is usually a bride's prerogative to be a little late to her wedding, Kate has no such luxury.

With the royal wedding timed to the last minute by the Lord Chamberlain, the bridal party would have been under strict instructions to 'get to the church on time'.

When the late Princess of Wales asked if she was allowed to be tardy, he told her: "All right, I give you three seconds."

So Carole and Kate's younger brother James, 23, will leave the Goring for Westminster Abbey not a minute later than 10.20am, followed at 10.48 by Pippa with the bridesmaids and page boys.

Then, at 10.51am, William's future wife will leave the Goring on the arm of her proud father Michael to make the half-mile trip to the Abbey – and her future as the consort of the Queen's grandson.


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