Pippa Middleton's 'public' wedding: the loophole that will keep it 'private'

The ceremony of Kate's younger sister is actually, by church ruling, a 'public' event that parishioners can attend

It recently came to light that Pippa Middleton's wedding to fiancé James Matthews is actually a "public" event, which means that parishioners of St Mark's Church are, by law, allowed to attend. The Church of England ruling states that "a marriage is a public ceremony which at the least all parishioners (including those whose names are on the electoral roll) are entitled to attend".

Pippa and James will say "I do" in the small country church in Berkshire next month, but understandably the church ruling may cause some concern for the wedding organisers, not to mention the bride and groom. However, the document, entitled Celebrity Marriages in Anglican Cathedrals and Churches, does contain a certain loophole that would ensure that Pippa and James' wedding remains a private affair.

Pippa Middleton and James Matthews pictured outside the church they will marry

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The ruling notes that parishioners may be denied entry if "a genuine question of safety or security arises". This usually refers to health and safety measures, such as the church becoming overcrowded. However, given that Pippa's star-studded guest-list includes members of the royal family – her sister Kate, second-in-line to the throne Prince William, third-in-line and fourth-in-line Prince George and Princess Charlotte, and fifth-in-line Prince Harry – one would imagine that the royal family's presence is classified as a "genuine question of safety or security". The palace will no doubt have extra security measures in place for the royals, in particular George and Charlotte, who are aged three and one.

The interior of St Mark's Church in Berkshire

Even with the ruling, it also seems unlikely that droves of parishioners will turn up at the church uninvited, given that Pippa and James have made every effort to keep their wedding a private, low-key affair. The couple have, after all, chosen St Mark's Church – a small, quaint country church located on the privately owned Englefield Estate – and not an easy-to-access place of worship.

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