Prince William and Prince Harry will both give readings at the Thanksgiving Service for their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, on Friday 31st August 2007.
The Princess’s eldest sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, will also give a reading at the hour-long service being held at 12 noon in the Guards’ Chapel at London’s Wellington Barracks.
The service, to be conducted by the Reverend Patrick Irwin, Chaplain to the Household Division, will include two prayers specially written for the occasion by Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, as well as an address by the Bishop of London, The Rt. Rev. and Rt. Hon. Dr. Richard Chartres.
The arrangements for the service have been overseen personally by Prince William and Prince Harry, together with the Princess’s brother, Earl Spencer, and her two sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes.
The two Princes chose the Guards’ Chapel for the service because as Household Cavalry officers it is their regimental chapel.
The music during the service aims to reflect the Princess’s tastes, and includes some of her favourite pieces such as Rachmaninov’s “O Virgin Mother of God rejoice” taken from The Vespers. The choir will sing this piece in its original Church Slavonic – just as the Princess used to listen to it. Other anthems include Mozart’s motet “Ave verum corpus” and Faure’s “In paradisum”.
Four hymns are included in the service, with tunes from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. They are “Be Thou My Vision” to the traditional Irish melody “Slane”, “The Lord’s My Shepherd” to the very well known Scottish tune “Crimond”, “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer” to the Welsh classic “Cwm Rhondda” and finally, as a rousing climax to the Service, “I Vow To Thee, My Country” to the English standard “Thaxted”, the Princess’s favourite hymn.
The music will be led by the choirs of the Guards’ Chapel, the Chapel Royal and Eton College (Princes William’s and Prince Harry’s school), together with an Orchestra from the Royal Academy of Music, of which the Princess was President. The conductors will be Tim Horton, Organist and Director of Music at the Guards’ Chapel and Andrew Gant, Organist, Choirmaster and Composer of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal. Both musicians have written music for the service: Tim Horton has composed a choral Amen to follow the Blessing and Andrew Gant has arranged Sir Edward Elgar’s famous ‘Nimrod’ using the Agnus Dei text from the requiem mass.
Among the approximately 500 guests attending the service will be many chosen to reflect the Princess’s personal and working life. More than 30 members of the Royal Family will be present, along with 100 other family members, her godparents, 12 godchildren and all bridesmaids and page boys who attended the Princess’s wedding in 1981. Former members of The Princess’s staff, and over 110 representatives from her charities and other organisations with which she was associated, have also been invited to the service.
Notable figures in the guest list include The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown and former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Sir John Major. Some of the well-known friends of the Princess attending the service include Sir Elton John, Sir Cliff Richard, Mario Testino and Lord Attenborough.
The many charities being represented at the service will include the Landmine Survivors Network, Help the Aged, the Trust for Sick Children in Wales, The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Centrepoint, the British Lung Foundation and the National Aids Trust, as well as organisations such as Eureka! The Museum for Children, and the National Children’s Orchestra.
The flower arrangements, which will include growing English garden roses, go to several of the Princess’s favourite charities after the service, and rosemary for remembrance, have been organised by the Spencer family.