SHE is almost a royal so it makes sense Pippa Middleton will walk down the aisle today in a ceremony fit for a queen.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s younger sister, 33, will wed multi-millionaire hedge fund investor James Matthews, 41, in a stunning and elaborate countryside wedding in the county of Berkshire, west of London.
Those involved in preparations for the lush affair will be in a frenzy over the next few hours finalising the finishing touches for the so-called “society wedding of the year”.
On Friday lunchtime (9pm Friday AEST) a wedding rehearsal was held. Pippa’s parents Carole and Michael Middleton, and her brother James, were seen walking out of St Mark’s Church in Englefield.
The street leading up to the church has been blocked off from the prying eyes of a pack of local and international media, with a Range Rover and truck concealing the entrance. Local police and security are also guarding the area.
Earlier today, dresses were delivered to Pippa’s home in London as British media speculated she would wear a £40,000 ($70,000 AUD) gown designed by London couture king Giles Deacon.
The wedding dress is said to be a ‘contemporary’ and ‘progressive’ design with a classic twist.
In true royal fashion, Ms Middelton has pulled out all the stops and will make her grand entrance at St Mark’s Church in a horse drawn carriage.
But American actor Meghan Markle could rain on Pippa’s parade, the gorgeous girlfriend of Prince Harry is likely to steal the spotlight as a last-minute addition to the ceremony guest list.
Ms Markle, who stars in US TV series Suits, is set to attend her first public outing with other members of the Royal family after dating Prince Harry for 10 months.
The 35-year-old divorcee, who flew into London on Thursday, was originally only welcome at the reception but has now been invited to the ceremony, to take place in the small village of Englefield.
She joins the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, their children Prince George, 3, and Princess Charlotte, 2, who will fulfil duties as page boy and flower girl, tennis pro Roger Federer and former Made in Chelsea reality TV personality Spencer Matthews, James’ brother, on the high profile guest list. Spencer Matthews is the best man.
The wedding will be a tartan-tinged affair celebrating the groom’s Scottish heritage,
Pippa has selected the menu, which includes lamb plus recipes from her own cookery book.
A wealthy Russian pal is understood to have donated eight kilos of beluga caviar worth £40,000 (A$70,000).
The entertainment features a fly-past of World War Two planes, including a Spitfire, and Pippa’s mother Carole has reportedly apologised to locals in advance for the likely disruption.
The village, which is forecast for scattered thunderstorms, is being closed off from the public with only residents allowed access.
Security will be present around the vicinity, with Scotland Yard’s Royal Protection Squad leading the operation.
Local police will also be on hand.
It was all hands on deck at the church over the last few days with workers ensuring no stone was left unturned for the occasion, rumoured to be costing £300,000 ($525,000 AUD).
Sound system, catering and furniture trucks were delivering boxes while gardeners spent hours mowing the lawns and tidying the grounds.
Meanwhile at Bucklebury Manor, the Middleton family’s $8 million sprawling estate, a £100,000 ($180,000) glass marquee was assembled in the back garden on the lush property, where the reception will be held for up to 350 guests.
Workmen were spotted perfecting details inside the opulent marquee, with features including the £6000 ($11,000 AUD) luxury portable bathrooms decked out with marble and oak fittings.
Ms Middleton’s husband-to-be is the chief executive of Eden Rock Capital Management Group, a London-based hedge fund he co-founded in 2001.
They dated briefly in 2012 but parted ways, before rekindling their romance in 2015 and getting engaged in July last year.
Originally published as Pippa’s wedding has a Royal fervour