Pippa Middleton's upcoming spring wedding to fiancé James Matthews has been dubbed the celebrity nuptials of the year, with members of the royal family and society's crème de la crème expected to attend. The bride's sister Kate is on the star-studded guest list, as is her husband Prince William and the couple's children Prince George and Princess Charlotte. However, the wedding, which will take place at St Mark's Church in Englefield, could attract some extra guests in the form of local parishioners.
Church ruling states that "a marriage is a public ceremony which at the least all parishioners (including those whose names are on the electoral roll) are entitled to attend". This means that, by law, all residents of the parish of Englefield, which surrounds St Mark's Church, have the right to attend Pippa's wedding as it is a church service in their public place of worship. And while the small, 13th century church is located on private land, Englefield Estate, it is understood that parishioners still enjoy the right to attend what is a public service, as they do every Sunday and other days of the week.
There is one catch though. Members of the public can attend the ceremony only if "there is available seating or standing room unless a genuine question of safety or security arises". This refers to a health and safety measure, to be enforced if the church becomes overcrowded.
The ruling can be found in a document published by the Church of England in February, entitled Celebrity Marriages in Anglican Cathedrals and Churches. It also goes on to state that non-parishioners and any member of the public can attend any church wedding – but only to raise "genuine impediments to the formalisation of the marriage".
While the ruling still stands, it's unlikely that droves of parishioners will turn up to Pippa's wedding next month on Saturday 20 May. Locals understand that Pippa, 33, and James, 41, want to celebrate their marriage in private and the palace will no doubt have extra security measures in place for members of the royal family, including youngers Prince George and Princess Charlotte.