In less than a month, on April 29 2011, Prince William and Kate Middleton are to be wed at Westminster Abbey; the first royal wedding at this venue was that of King Henry I and Scotland’s Princess Matilda, more than 900 years ago. We have no historical records to indicate what music adorned their wedding ceremony.
Almost 88 years to the day prior to the upcoming nuptials, the Duke of York and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon were wed at the Abbey. They marched out to Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March”, as well as “Marcia Eroica” by C.V. Stanford. Hymns during the ceremony included “Praise My Soul The King Of Heaven” by Henry Francis Lyte, and “Lead Us Heavenly Father Lead Us” written by James Edmeston for the Children of the London Orphan Asylum.
The 1947 Wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten again included the Henry Francis Lyte hymn, as well as “The Lord’s My Shepherd.” They walked out to the Wedding March as well.
In 1981 Charles and Diana employed the hymn “”I Vow to Thee, My Country,” chosen by Diana; this was also played at her funeral. The estimated global audience of 750 million saw them walk out to Elgar’s “Pomp And Circumstance,” often associated with graduations in North America.
The weddings of Princess Margaret and Princess Anne (Margaret’s niece) included the timeless “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise.”
Royal couples often choose to showcase British composers. These would include Elgar’s – “Triumphal March from Caractacus” and “Pomp and Circumstance”, and Purcell’s “Trumpet Tune And Airs.” British Pop Icon James Blount (“You’re Beautiful”) will be performing at the royal wedding, but not singing; rather playing the organ, in an interesting twist.
Our wedding music samples album, released in May, 2011, features some of the songs from Kate and William’s wedding prelude and ceremony, including “I Was Glad When They Said Unto Me“,”Love Divine All Loves Excelling”, and “Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer.”