Royal wedding: Recessional music revealed

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Oxford University Press has confirmed that an abridged version of William Walton’s ‘Crown Imperial’ march will be the recessional music played when Prince William and Kate Middleton walk back down the aisle at Westminster Abbey after their wedding on Friday morning.

The piece was composed in 1937 for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth’s uncle Edward VIII, but he abdicated before the coronation ceremony in favor of marrying Wallis Simpson. The coronation went ahead as scheduled but with Elizabeth’s father King George VI swearing to ‘cause law and justice, in mercy, to be executed in all of his judgments.’


‘Crown Imperial’ is one of Walton’s most popular pieces for orchestra and was played at Queen Elizabeth’s coronation as well as the wedding of Prince William’s uncle Prince Edward and his wife Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999. The Elgaresque style of march disappointed contemporaries of Walton (1902-1983), who regarded him as a much more avant-garde composer. His cantata ‘Balshazzar’s Feast’ and Viola Concerto are much more indicative of his natural style.

The AFP reported Thursday that the prelude music (seating the 1,900 guests will take nearly three hours) will include pieces for organ by Bach, Elgar, Walton and Hubert Parry, Gerald Finzi and Peter Maxwell Davies, the current Master of the Queen’s Music.

Music from Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding, Diana’s funeral and Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles’ wedding will be included.

Although there hasn’t been a choral processional since Princess Anne’s wedding in 1973, there is some indication that Kate and her father will walk the 318 feet to the altar to the anthem ‘I Was Glad’ by Parry.

Be sure to return to Culture Monster on Friday for a full report on the wedding music.


Wedding music fit for a prince and his bride

The story of King Edward VIII, who gave up the throne for American divorcee Wallis Simpson

-- Marcia Adair