Looking for just the right officially-sanctioned words to utter as the royal wedding approaches? The Church of England can help.
Legoland built a display of their wedding. Stamps have been issued featuring their images. Neither of these things, alas — nor all the kitschy merchandise commemorating their union — can guarantee that Prince William and Kate Middleton will stay together (in fact, one poorly designed stamp suggests they won’t). But maybe a prayer.
(More on TIME.com: See pictures of wacky royal wedding souvenirs)
Today the Church of England, whose supreme head is Queen Elizabeth II, came out with the following, which, according to the Church, “can be used in private prayer, in groups or within public worship:”
God of all grace,
friend and companion,
look in favour on William and Catherine
and all who are made one in marriage.
In your love deepen their love
and strengthen their wills
to keep the promises they will make,
that they may continue
in life-long faithfulness to each other;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
As the Church makes clear, this is not just a prayer for the prince and princess-to-be, but for all who are engaged. And it’s not the only royal wedding prayer the Church has published. Schoolchildren have already been provided with one, which mentions just the royals and forgoes “life-long faithfulness” for “help them to look after each other always:”
we pray for Prince William and Catherine Middleton
as they get ready for their wedding day.
Keep them safe,
make them happy
and help them
to look after each other always. Amen
(These can be found on The Church of England’s website, which lists, among other “topical prayers,” “a prayer for those visiting our website”).
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Since the general royal wedding prayer was just posted today, though, the Catholics actually beat the Anglicans to it. On Monday, the Catholic Church in England and Wales issued the following:
we ask your blessing
upon his Royal Highness, Prince William and Catherine
as they pledge their love for each other in marriage.
May your love unite them through their lives.
Grant them the strength to serve you, our country and the Commonwealth
with integrity and faithfulness.
Through Christ our Lord.
So, it seems, despite the fact that the law of the land makes it illegal for a Catholic to become King or Queen, no hard feelings. AFP quotes Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, the leader of England and Wales’ Roman Catholics, as saying the 300+ year-old law did not “weigh heavily on the shoulders” of Catholics. Wonder, though, how all those prayers might weigh on Will and Kate. (via Reuters)
(More on TIME.com: See our complete coverage of the royal wedding)