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Dictates of a royal wedding guest list

Drawing up guest lists for weddings is a well-known global problem. Therefore, spare a thought for Will and Kate — an entire nation is poring over who’s been invited to the Royal Shaadi. Dipankar De Sarkar writes.

world Updated: Apr 28, 2011 13:46 IST
Dipankar De Sarkar

Drawing up guest lists for weddings is a well-known global problem. As anyone who has ever been involved in a Big Fat Indian Wedding will know, it’s the first test of how the ladka and ladki waaley will get on together later in life. Therefore, spare a thought for Will and Kate — an entire nation is poring over who’s been invited to the Royal Shaadi.

It’s on April 29 (in case you needed reminding) but already there’s a storm building up here on their guest list. Just as Britain beats the war drums to enforce democracy in Libya, the Crown Prince of Bahrain has excused himself from the wedding.

Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa had been warned off about the possibility of protests but, in excusing himself, he chose to attack the free British media’s criticism of his presence. He had been “saddened and troubled” by the reporting, he said.

Bahrain’s ruling family is blamed for the allegedly Saudi-backed crackdown on pro-democracy campaigners in Bahrain last month, in which seven people were killed. About 500 people have been detained.

Human rights campaigners will, however, go ahead with plans to protest the presence of Saudi Prince Mohamed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to the UK and the King of Swaziland.

That’s not all. The wedding invitation to gay pop icon Elton John — a close friend of Prince William’s late mother Princess Diana — has spurred rights campaigners to urge the couple to support the movement to legalise gay marriage.

“The royal couple are lucky,” said campaigner Peter Tatchell. “They have the option to get married. Gay couples don’t have this option. They are barred by law from marriage.”

William and Kate Middleton, who will swear lifelong allegiance to each other this week, are not likely to be impressed by King Mswati III of Malawi. The last absolute monarch of Africa has 13 wives. And he chooses them from among thousands of bare-breasted virgins at a Reed Dance held every year.