Prince William and Kate Middleton – Royal Wedding Ceremony and Music
Kate Middleton, born Catherine Middleton, from Buckleberry, Berkshire, was wed to Prince William April 29, 2011. Attended by the British royal family in its entirety and almost 50 other royalty and heads of state from around the globe, including the Australian and New Zealand royalty, it was the most anticipated and viewed weIdding of the last century, and perhaps for decades to come. By some estimates the viewing audience was over 1 billion worldwide!
It was a breathtaking and historic 75 minutes from the time Kate entered Westminster Abbey until she exited as Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge with Prince William of Wales.
Following the ceremony, the newly married couple appeared on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the traditional kiss. It was a rather innocuous and sublime moment, though some television commentators were gushing about the unprecedented second and slightly more passionate kiss. For those of us watching, it was indeed meaningful, and quite interesting that they decided to kiss a second time… but honestly, the term passionate must have been uttered tongue in cheek, as there was most certainly the proper degree of decorum and reserve.
One of the intents of the ceremony was to demonstrate Britishness, as was accomplished beautifully by the inclusion of all English composers, and the singing of three much loved and traditional hymns.
Kate majestically and gracefully entered the Abbey to the strains of “I Was Glad When They Said Unto Me”, a lesser known orchestra and choir number from the pen of Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, an English composer probably best know for his “Jerusalem.” Sir C. Hubert H. Parry was born in 1848 and in addition to composing was a historian and teacher.
The couple seemed genuinely happy and as relaxed as could be expected, given the circumstances… there were occasional giggles and asides shared between the two of them during the ceremony.
Kate and William’s Royal Wedding Ceremony Music was composed by primarily British composers, naturally.
Four pipe organ compositions preceded the ceremony:
“Veni Creator Spiritus” From Master of The Queen’s Music - Sir Peter Maxwell Davies -
J. S. Bach’s Fanatasia in G
Sir Charles Villiers Stanford’s Prelude on St. Columba Opus # 28
Sonata for Organ Opus 28 (Allegro maestoso and Allegretto) from the creative mind of Edward Elgar
Seven Orchestral Compositions followed.
Serenade for Strings in E minor (Opus 20) by Edward Elgar
“Courtly Dance V: Galliard from Gloriana [Symphonic Suite] Opus 53a# 7, from the esteemed Benjamin Britten
Fantasia on Greensleeves by Ralph Vaughan Williams;
Farewell to Stromness [Sir Peter Maxwell Davies]
“On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring”, written by Frederick Delius
Touch Her Soft Lips and Part, by William Walton, yet another of the English composers featured in the wedding ceremony music.
“Romance for String Orchestra Op. 11″, a creation of Gerald Finzi, familiar to some for his settings of Thomas Hardy’s poetry.
The London Chamber Orchestra performed, led by conductor Christopher Warren-Green.
Percy’s “Canzona from Organ Sonata in C minor” was the last musical offering before the ceremony proper, on the massive Wesminster pipe organ.
The State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry played a bright and ceremonial fanfare to announce The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh.
Three processionals were next heard, Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry’s “March from The Birds” being the first.
The Procession of the Clergy was accompanied by Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Prelude on Rhosymedre.”
Kate Middleton was announced by a 5:36 rendition of “I Was Glad When They Said Unto Me”, the aforementioned choir and orchestra piece. The choir entered with great pomp and grandiloquence 43 seconds into this magnificent composition, which lyrics are comprised solely of the words of the 122nd Psalm. For a time, the orchestra was not heard, but only the choir and the great pipe organ, the pedaled notes practically shaking the foundations of the Westminster Abbey with their rich bass tones.
Three wedding hymns were employed:
Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer, a familiar sound to rugby enthusiasts, as it is heard regularly at Welsh rugby matches. Many would recognize it by the title “Bread Of Heaven.”
It is hard to say if it was happen chance or deliberate that it was included despite it’s use at the funeral for the Prince’s mum Diana.
Also sung was “Love Divine All Loves Excelling”, to the tune of Blaenwerm.
“Greensleeves” was the last of the 3 wedding hymns, another song from the English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Ubi Caritas was a somewhat unexpected choice as one of the choral numbers chosen for the royal wedding. It was written by Paul Mealor, a professor at the University of Aberdeen.
PROCESSION OF THE BRIDE, from the 122nd Psalm:
I was glad when they said unto me, we will go into the house of the Lord
Our feet shall stand in thy gates, O Jerusalem
Jerusalem is builded as a city; that is at unity in itself
O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee
Peace be within thy walls, and plenteousness within thy palaces
composer: Charles Hubert Hastings Parry
FIRST WEDDING HYMN “Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer”
Guide me, O thou great Redeemer,
pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
hold me with thy powerful hand:
Bread of heaven,
feed me till I want no more.
Open now the crystal fountain
whence the healing stream doth flow;
let the fiery cloudy pillar
lead me all my journey through:
be thou still my strength and shield.
When I tread the verge of Jordan,
bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of death, and hell’s Destruction,
land me safe on Canaan’s side:
songs of praises
I will ever give to thee.
After the blessing, another hymn followed:
SECOND WEDDING HYMN “Love Divine All Loves Excelling”
LOVE divine, all loves excelling
joy of heaven, to earth come down
fix in us thy humble dwelling
all thy faithful mercies crown
Jesus, thou art all compassion
pure unbounded love thou art
visit us with thy salvation
enter every trembling heart
Come, almighty to deliver
let us all thy life receive
suddenly return, and never
never more thy temples leave
Thee we would be always blessing
serve thee as thy hosts above
pray, and praise thee, without ceasing
glory in thy perfect love
Finish then thy new creation
pure and spotless let us be
let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee
changed from glory into glory
till in heaven we take our place
till we cast our crowns before thee
lost in wonder, love, and praise!
William Penfro Rowlands,
This is the day which the Lord hath made: we will rejoice and be glad in it.
O praise the Lord of heaven: praise him in the height.
Praise him, all ye angels of his: praise him, all his host.
Praise him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars and light.
Let them praise the name of the Lord.
For he shall give his angels charge over thee: to keep thee in all thy ways.
The Lord himself is thy keeper: the Lord is thy defence upon thy right hand;
so that the sun shall not burn thee by day: neither the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: yea, it is even he that shall keep thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in: from this time forth for evermore.
He shall defend thee under his wings.
Be strong, and he shall comfort thine heart, and put thou thy trust in the Lord.
written by John Rutter
“UBI CARITAS” by Paul Mealor, THE MOTET
UBI caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor. Exsultemus et in ipso jucundemur. Timeamus et amemus Deum vivum. Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero. Amen.
Wherever charity and love are to be found – God is there.The love of Christ has brought us together as one. Let us rejoice and be glad in him. Let us fear and love the living God; and let us love one another with sincerity in our heart. Amen.
FINAL WEDDING HYMN “Jerusalem”
AND did those feet in ancient time
walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
on England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
among those dark satanic mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
till we have built Jerusalem
in England’s green and pleasant land.
Charles Hubert Hastings Parry,
GOD save our gracious Queen
Long live our noble Queen
God save The Queen
Send her victorious
happy and glorious
long to reign over us
God save The Queen
The Choirs sang
BLEST PAIR OF SIRENS
at which time Kate, William, and the witnesses moved to the Shrine of St Edward the Confessor and signed the Marriage Registers.
The Procession of the Clergy moved to the “Great West Door”
BLEST pair of Sirens, pledges of heaven’s joy
sphere-born harmonious sisters, Voice and Verse
wed your divine sounds, and mixed power employ
dead things with inbreathed sense able to pierce
and to our high-raised phantasy present
that undisturbed song of pure concent
aye sung before the sapphire-coloured throne
to him that sits thereon
with saintly shout, and solemn jubilee
where the bright Seraphim in burning row
their loud uplifted angel-trumpets blow
and the cherubic host in thousand quires
touch their immortal harps of golden wires
with those just spirits that wear victorious palms
hymns devout and holy psalms
That we on earth with undiscording voice
may rightly answer that melodious noise
as once we did, till disproportioned sin
jarred against nature’s chime, and with harsh din
broke the fair music that all creatures made
to their great Lord, whose love their motion swayed
in perfect diapason, whilst they stood
in first obedience, and their state of good
O may we soon again renew that song,
and keep in tune with heaven, till God ere long
to his celestial concert us unite,
to live with him, and sing in endless morn of light.
Charles Hubert Hastings Parry John Milton (1608-74)
THE PROCESSION OF THE BRIDE AND BRIDEGROOM, Kate and William:
Processional was accompanied by “I Was Glad” by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry.
THE PROCESSION OF THE QUEEN
Toccata, from Symphonie Five
by Charles-Marie Widor
‘Pomp and Circumstance’ March # 5
arr. by Farrington
The royal reception featured the singing and songwriting of Ellie Goulding.