William and Kate express delight in being joined for "one of the happiest days of our lives"

By Ellen Tumposky
Updated April 28, 2011 08:30 AM
Credit: Mario Testino

Saying they are deeply touched, Prince William and Kate Middleton thank the public for the “incredibly moving” affection and kindness shown them during their engagement.

“We are both so delighted that you are able to join us in celebrating what we hope will be one of the happiest days of our lives,” the couple write in their official wedding program, released Thursday. Their message, signed “William” and “Catherine,” goes on to say: “The affection shown to us by so many people during our engagement has been incredibly moving, and has touched us both deeply. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone most sincerely for their kindness.”

The program features a new black-and-white portrait of the couple by famed fashion photographer Mario Testino. Both wear white open-necked shirts and big smiles.

Also included in the 28-page program are the details of the Friday’s 11 a.m. wedding service at Westminster Abbey, including what music will be heard. Among the selections: the hymn “Jerusalem” by William Blake and the traditional “Greensleeves.”

Such well-known hymns as “Love Divine All Love Excelling” and “Guide Me O Though Great Redeemer” – better known in modern Britain as the Welsh rugby anthem “Bread of Heaven” – are also on the schedule.

The bride will walk down the aisle to the choral anthem “I Was Glad” by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, composed for the coronation of William’s great-great-great grandfather Edward VII at Westminster Abbey in 1902.

The program also provides the wording to the couple’s vows. Kate, like Princess Diana in her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981, will not promise to obey her husband. Instead she will vow to “‘love, comfort, honor and keep” William. Because only Kate will wear a wedding ring, only William will say “With this ring I thee wed” as he slips the band on his bride’s finger.

The souvenir program can be downloaded on the official wedding site.