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Originally published April 29, 2011 at 6:19 AM | Page modified April 29, 2011 at 7:17 AM

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Celebrities, sports figures fill the seats at Westminster Abbey

The guest list for the royal wedding included soccer star David Beckham; swimming legend Ian Thorpe; actor Rowan Atkinson; director Guy Ritchie.

Associated Press

quotes We are going to be revisited by Princess Beatrice's hood ornament/fertility symbol... Read more


LONDON — It's a Who's Who of royalty, power and fame: David and Victoria Beckham, Elton John, Prime Minister David Cameron, the king of Norway and the cream of British nobility were among the hundreds of guests inside Westminster Abbey for Friday's royal wedding.

Olympic swimming legend Ian Thorpe was among the first to arrive. Soccer star Beckham, hair slicked back, looked solemn in the great medieval building, with wife Victoria, a dark dress hiding her baby bump, at his side.

Chelsy Davy, Prince Harry's on-again-off-again girlfriend, was watching as the prince stood with his brother at the altar. Tabloids have speculated endlessly about the state of her relationship with the younger royal — and her invitation to the abbey was seen as a sign the pair were still close.

Other guests: Actor Rowan Atkinson, a friend of Prince Charles best known for his "Mr. Bean" act, and Guy Ritchie, director of "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and ex-husband of Madonna.

Elton John, who sang a version of "Candle at Princess Diana's funeral, was not in his usual flamboyant style: He wore a morning coat and (relatively) discreet lavender tie.

Socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson arrived decked out in royal blue: dress, hat, and heels, the color offset by the brilliant crimson of the Catholic cardinals invited to the wedding. Cardinal Sean Brady's attendance was a first for an Irish churchman in his position.

The guests came in silver minibuses, Bentleys, and an antique Rolls Royce. They walked down a huge red carpet thrown out in front of Westminster abbey. Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie — daughters of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson — wore vertical hats that looked liked sculptures perched on their heads.

Pippa Middleton, Kate's sister, was the maid of honor. She was decked out in a light-colored, form-fitting gown, leading the pageboys and flowergirls into the abbey.

Diplomats and their partners from more than 180 countries trooped in about an hour and a half before the start of the ceremony. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was among the foreign dignitaries filing into the abbey.

Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Labour leader Ed Milliband, London Mayor Boris Johnson, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and former Prime Minister John Major were among the leading U.K. politicians in the crowd.

A number of famous people were left off the guest list, including President Barack Obama and most other world leaders. Also not invited were Britain's last two prime ministers, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, in what is seen by some as a snub to their Labour Party, which traditionally is not as strong a backer of the monarchy as the ruling Conservatives.

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