The role of the Armed Forces in the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton

Published 01 April 2011

The Ministry of Defence is pleased to confirm the details and range of ceremonial Military Personnel who will play a key role in the formal elements of the wedding of HRH Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton on 29 April 2011.

General Sir David Richards, Chief of the Defence Staff, said: “I am delighted that so many members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces have the opportunity to be part of The Royal Wedding. It is a huge honour for those servicemen and women taking part and one that they and their families will remember with great pride. They reflect the sentiments of the whole of the Armed Forces who share their pride in supporting this national celebration.

“For those in the Path Lining party it will be a particular and poignant honour as many will have served alongside Prince William, and I am sure they will take great delight in being among the first to see His Royal Highness alongside his new bride.”

The military elements involved are:

Queen’s Guard

The 1st Battalion Irish Guards will be providing the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace and the Tower of London throughout the day. The Guard will turn out for the departure of the Royal Family from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey.

Guard of honour

A Guard of Honour comprising three officers and 101 other ranks from the Welsh Guards will be positioned in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace for the return of the members of the Royal Family.

Street liners

More than 1,000 military personnel and military musicians will line the route from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace. They will be made up of officers and other ranks from:

Royal Navy:

HMS Astute, HMS Campbeltown, HMS Chatham, HMS Cumberland, HMS Daring, HMS Dauntless, HMS Diamond, HMS Edinburgh, HMS Gloucester, HMS Illustrious, HMS Liverpool, HMS Monmouth, HMS Montrose, HMS Neptune, HMS Northumberland, HMS Vanguard, HMS York, Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, elements from Fleet Headquarters and Defence Equipment and Support, Bristol.


Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards, 7 Company Coldstream Guards, F Company Scots Guards, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, 2nd Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment.

Royal Air Force:

RAF Benson, RAF Boulmer, RAF Chicksands, RAF Coningsby, RAF Cosford, RAF Cottesmore, RAF Cranwell, RAF Digby, RAF Fylingdales, RAF Halton, RAF High Wycombe, RAF Honington, RAF Kinloss, RAF Leeming, RAF Lossiemouth, RAF Lyneham, RAF Marham, RAF Odiham, RAF personnel from Permanent Joint Headquarters Northwood, RAF Scampton, RAF Shawbury, RAF St Athan, RAF Swanwick, RAF Valley, RAF Waddington, RAF Wittering, Queen's Colour Squadron, Defence School of Languages Beaconsfield, Joint Service Unit Cheltenham, Ministry of Defence Hospital Unit Northallerton, MOD Hospital Unit Peterborough, MOD Abbeywood, RAF personnel from the Defence College of Policing and Guarding, Southwick Park.

Bands and Musicians

Royal Navy:

The Royal Marines Band, Collingwood, located at Parliament Square.


On the forecourt of Buckingham Palace - the Band of Welsh Guards.

Along the route - the Band of Grenadier Guards at Marlborough Road; the Band of Coldstream Guards at Duke of York Steps; the Band of Scots Guards and the Corps of Drums, The Welsh Guards at Horse Guards; and the Corps of Drums, The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment by the Cenotaph.

Inside Westminster Abbey Eight Household Cavalry State Trumpeters, drawn equally from the Life Guards and the Blues and Royals.

Royal Air Force:

Along the route The Central Band of the RAF, located at Horse Guards Avenue/Whitehall.

Inside Westminster Abbey Eight RAF Fanfare Trumpeters.

Path lining outside Westminster Abbey after service

Personnel from each of the three Services will form a Path Lining party for when the couple leave Westminster Abbey. They are being chosen from a combination of those with a personal connection to Prince William, and those who have given an outstanding contribution to their Service.

Sovereign’s escort and Captain’s escort

The Life Guards and Blues and Royals of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment will form a Sovereign’s Escort for Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, and a Captain’s Escort for the Bride and Groom, as the wedding party travels to Buckingham Palace from Westminster Abbey. This will involve some 160 horses.


At 13.30 a flypast will take place over Buckingham Palace. This will consist of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight‘s Lancaster, a Spitfire and a Hurricane; followed 30 seconds later by two Typhoons and two Tornado GR4s in box formation.

Military involved on the day will wear their respective Service ceremonial clothing.

Other members of the Armed Forces have received invitations to attend the wedding service in a private capacity.