DETAILS have been announced of the North’s society wedding of the year, which is set to take place this weekend.
Lady Melissa Percy, the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland’s youngest daughter, is to be married to Thomas van Straubanzee, a friend of Princes William and Harry, at St Michael’s Church in Alnwick on Saturday at 5pm.
Lady Melissa, 26, lives in London where she works as a tennis coach at the prestigious Queen’s Club.
Mr van Straubenzee, 30, a chartered surveyor who runs property agency Van Han in the capital where he also lives.
The couple will be married at the church which has been the Percy family’s spiritual home for generations, located a minute’s walk from their Alnwick Castle home.
The Vicar of St Michael’s, The Reverend Paul Scott, will officiate and the Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Rev Martin Wharton, will conduct the marriage and give the address. Around 500 guests are expected to attend. Rev Scott said yesterday: “We are especially looking forward to welcoming the bride and groom to St Michael’s on Saturday.
“St Michael’s is the family church for the Percys and it seems to me extremely appropriate that this is where they should be married.
“Having just been in Alnwick a year, it is quite a highlight. I just hope it is a fine sunny day like it is today, that will make all the difference.”
The bride will arrive at St Michael’s escorted by her father in a carriage that was restored three years ago and which was used to transport the third Duke of Northumberland as King George IV’s personal representative to the coronation of Charles X in France in 1825.
It was further used at the coronation of King Edward VII.
Lady Melissa will be wearing a dress by British fashion designer Bruce Oldfield with flowers by Hexham florist Caro Dickinson, who has also decorated St Michael’s and the castle.
The bride will be attended by her sister, Katie Valentine, who married in the same church two years ago, and Chelsy Davy, said to be an ex-girlfriend of Prince Harry.
Lady Melissa will have 12 pages and bridesmaids.
Following the service the bride and groom will return to the castle in the carriage where a reception will be held in the State Rooms followed by dinner in a marquee.
A celebratory firework display will take place at around 10.45pm with the Pastures beneath the castle open to the public and the accompanying music to be relayed to crowds there.
A number of local firms have been employed as contractors or suppliers for the event, including town businesses Dreadnought Coaches, The Hogs Head Inn and Alnwick Marquees, and Flowers Unlimited of Hexham. There will be road closures with Bailiffgate shut from 8am to 6.30pm for parking and from 3.30pm until 6.30pm for vehicle access.
In due course, Lady Melissa’s dress will be displayed alongside her sister’s in the castle’s Coach House.
We are especially looking forward to welcoming the bride and groom to St Michael’s