Wedding fever has reached epidemic levels as crowds gather at Westminster Abbey in London where the future King of England, Prince William, will marry Kate Middleton in a ceremony that will draw an estimated 2 billion TV viewers worldwide. Hundreds of thousands of people have gathered along the flag-lined streets of London to catch a glimpse of cavalrymen that will carry senior royal figures from the service. Some 8,000 reporters and support staff are in London to capture the occasion in words and images.
Die-hard fans camped out across the street from the abbey to ensure a front-row view of the royal couple and their guests, who started arriving at the Westminster abbey this morning. Among the early arrivals out of some 1,900 guests were soccer star David Beckham and his wife Victoria, Elton John, Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe and comic actor Rowan Atkinson, star of the film "Mr. Bean." Royalty from around the world, diplomats, politicians and friends of the couple are also attending.
Friday’s ceremony has been planned like a military operation. More than 1,500 soldiers, sailors and air crew will be on duty to line the couple’s procession route between the abbey and Buckingham Palace, just under a mile (1.6 kilometers) away.
An additional 5,000 uniformed and undercover police will be on alert for threats, meanwhile, three protesters who were planning on staging mock executions outside Westminster Abbey this morning have been arrested by police.