Dan Kitwood/Landov
Tim Nudd
April 21, 2011 05:30 PM

The pomp and circumstance surrounding next Friday’s royal wedding may be chaotic, but at its core are two people who are approaching the day with near-perfect clarity.

So says the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, who will conduct the marriage ceremony of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey.

“I’ve been very struck by the way in which William and Catherine have approached this great event,” the archbishop says. “They’ve thought through what they want for themselves, but also what they want to say. They’ve had a very simple, very direct picture of what really matters about this event.”

The couple realize their vows carry unusual weight – they’re making a sacred promise to each other, and a royal pledge to the public.

“I think that they have a clear sense of what they believe they’re responsible to,” says the archbishop. “They’re responsible to the whole society; responsible to God for their relationship. And I think it’s impressive that they’ve had that simplicity about it, they’ve known what matters, what’s at the heart of all this, because I think they are deeply unpretentious people.”

The archbishop calls on everyone watching the wedding to truly engage with the event. “William and Catherine are making this commitment very much in the public eye, and they’re sensible, realistic young people,” he says. “They know what the cost of that might be. They’ve thought that through. And because of that, they will need the support, the solidarity and the prayers of all those who are watching.”

He adds: “We have to be witnesses in an active sense: the kind of witnesses who really support what’s going on. To be a witness is more than to be a spectator, and I hope that’ll be part of people’s experience at the time of the wedding.”

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