Kate Middleton will complete her transformation from middle class commoner to a woman who will one day be Queen.
She will wake up this morning as a middle-class commoner from a small Berkshire village, but by midday Kate Middleton will have completed her story book transformation into a woman who will one day be Queen.
The moment for which she has spent almost all of her adult life preparing will finally arrive when she makes her three-minute walk down the aisle of Westminster Abbey watched by two billion people worldwide.
Up to a million people are expected to line the streets of London for the royal wedding, the most anticipated royal event in 30 years, on what the bride and groom described as “one of the happiest days of our lives”.
Many of the best-kept secrets of the ceremony were finally revealed yesterday when St James’s Palace published the order of service online so that millions of people can join in at home.
Miss Middleton will vow to “love, comfort, honour and keep” the Prince, but will not “obey” him, following a precedent set by Diana, Princess of Wales.
And Prince William sprang a surprise by choosing to wear the distinctive red tunic of the Irish Guardsm, of which he is Colonel, rather than the dress uniform of the RAF, in which he is a serving officer.
The Prince chose the Irish Guards uniform because it is the unit in which he holds the most senior rank, despite never having visited the Irish Guards or worn the uniform before.
Television viewers will have to wait until 10.51am today, however, for their first glimpse of what will, by the end of the day, be the most famous dress in the world when Miss Middleton steps out of the Goring Hotel in Belgravia in her bridal gown.
Although the design of the dress has remained under wraps, there was a huge clue yesterday to the identity of the dressmaker as Sarah Burton, of the fashion house Alexander McQueen, arrived at the hotel.
Miss Burton, who has been the bookies’ favourite for months, tried to hide her identity by covering her face with a large fur-lined hood, but was clearly identifiable as she dashed into the building.
Miss Middleton got her first sample of the atmosphere building up in the capital when she arrived at the Goring, to spend her last night as a spinster, at 5.40pm.
Accompanied by her mother Carole, 56, and sister Pippa, 27, she was greeted by huge cheers from a crowd which had waited all day in the hope of catching sight of the future princess.
Wearing a navy blue polka dot dress, cream cardigan and navy wedges,she smiled broadly and waved to the excited onlookers.
Earlier, hundreds of people who were preparing to spend the night in tents pitched along the Mall received an unexpected visit from the Duchess of Cornwall, who stepped out of Clarence House for an impromptu walkabout to thank the campers for making so much effort.
Miss Middleton visited Westminster Abbey for one final rehearsal, described as a final run-through for the young bridesmaids and page boys, but also a chance for the bride to make sure her journey up the aisle is perfectly in time with the music the couple have chosen.
In a personal message, signed “William” and “Catherine” in today’s order of service, the couple took the opportunity to thank the public for their “kindness” during the build-up to the ceremony.
“The affection shown to us by so many people during our engagement has been incredibly moving, and has touched us both deeply,” they wrote.
Last night while the Queen and other senior members of the royal family attended a pre-wedding party at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in London, the Prince and Miss Middleton dined privately at Clarence House with the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry, before Miss Middleton returned to her family at the Goring.
The final royal secret to be released today will be the titles by which the couple will from now on be known.
Prince William is expected to be granted a Dukedom, with the titles Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Clarence among the possible choices.