Kate Middleton and Prince William will be wed in April at the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, aka Westminster Abbey. But it's not just famous Gothic church — it's a place of history and secrets!
A stone abbey was built on the site where Westminster Abbey stands in London around 1045–1050, but the building started shaping up to look the way it does now in about 1503. The towers were built in 1722 and 1745, and there is a secret attic! Lots of kings and queens have been buried there. The Life website has a gallery of images of the Abbey through the years.
Before Elizabeth became Queen, she married Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh, at Westminster Abbey in November of 1947. Somehow we doubt that Kate will have eight flower bedecked bridesmaids. But you never know!
When she became Queen, Elizabeth II had her coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey in June of 1953. More random ladies in flowers hanging about her.
Young Prince Charles attended the coronation and was bored out of his mind. That's his grandmother the Queen Mum on the left and his Aunt, Princess Margaret on the right.
In 1997, Princess Diana's funeral was held at Westminster Abbey. Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry walked behind the coffin.
Westminster Abbey is looking pretty good right now, because it gets cleaned. But as you can tell in this picture from 1962, it used to get filthy. Filthy!
Geoffrey Chaucer, William Blake, Robert Burns, Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charles Dickens, T. S. Eliot, John Keats, the Brontë sisters, Rudyard Kipling, John Milton, Laurence Olivier, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Jane Austen, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Dylan Thomas and William Wordsworth are among those buried or memorialized in "Poets Corner" in the Abbey.
Last, but most important: Westminster Abbey is haunted! According to a ghost story site we're sure is totally accurate,
The ghost of John Bradshaw who presided at the trial of Charles I walks Westminster Abbey's Triforium, occasionally surprising some of the thousands of tourists who flock there every day. In the South Cloisters, a marble seated statue of Daniel Pulteney holding a book has sometimes been known to turn a page or two.
And! There is a monk ghost named"Father Benedictus," who is "most often seen floating around the cloisters at five or six in the evening."
His spectral figure appears quite solid, and has been known to hold conversations with witnesses, many of who don't realise that he is anything more than mere flesh and blood. In 1900 he kept a group of visitors entertained for a good twenty-five minutes as he drifted around the cloisters and then backed slowly towards a wall where he melted into the fabric. In 1932 two American visitors even held a long conversation with him and later commented that they had found him to be extremely polite.
Sounds like he'll be the perfect wedding guest.
[Images via Life]