Protocol, etiquette, decorum: the million invisible lattices that bind us together and hold us at suitable arms-length. Us Brits love to stand on ceremony, but even we sometimes need a little help in knowing which is the right fork for soup, and whether it's “ma'm” as in “jam” or “ma'm” as in “self-harm”.
Well worry no more with NME's complete question-and-answer all-you-need-to-know guide to braving the etiquette minefield that is the royal wedding.
What sort of footwear is appropriate to wear while I'm standing in front of the television at home, naked, saluting the Royal Couple with a fresh can of Diamond White?
Gents: Brogues (preferrably two-tone). Ladies: Heels, never flats.
In what ways does this ceremony differ from the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer?
In keeping with the austere spirit of the times, the royal couple have made it known that this ceremony will have little of the out and out flamboyance of the wedding of Lady Diana. Guests have been asked to donate to charity instead of giving wedding presents, and as part of the service there will be a five minute section where, after the exchange of vows, the Archbishop of Canterbury will invite the congregation to silently imagine what it might be like to shop at Tescos.
I am an American flying into town early tomorrow to witness the big day. Could you please tell me which room of Madame Tussauds the wedding is taking place in?
Certainly. Upon arrival at Heathrow, simply take the Picadilly Line to Wood Green, and ask one of the local 'street ushers' (the young men in puffa jackets whom you will see loitering on corners), whether they can direct you.
Where are the best vantage-points on the Mall?
The happy couple will pass by The Mall at 10:45am, followed at 11:10am by William & Kate. To catch a fleeting glimpse of them, your best tactic is to be 8ft tall and have arrived there a week ago.
I am the Syrian ambassador. What should I wear to the wedding?
Uh.. look, there was a memo sent out this morning. It should probably have arrived by now, no? Check your inbox again. Press 'refresh' if necessary. Keep checking.
I am an eccentric comedy Royalist of the sort that local news reporters wheel out every five years for just such occasions, before shutting firmly back into their sad little trinket-choked homes with a patronising pat on the back. Where can I go on the day to tell Jennie Bond about my 5000-piece royal thimble collection?
Jennie Bond will probably come to you, having already been supplied with the full list of potential assassins that MI5 have recently delivered to the London Met.
I am a music PR hoping to crowbar the Royal Wedding into my latest email announcement of the new single by Jim & The Joiners in the vain hope that some journalist out there will potentially read it. What's the appropriate protocol of address for telling everyone that my life isn't worth living?
“Your Majesties, My Lords and Ladies, Right Reverend Archbishop, His Worship The Mayor, before you all pop off to watch the Royal Wedding, I just wanted to check whether you've received the CD I sent you last week by an ace new band on Spotty Hedgehog records who've been generating a lot of brilliant buzz in their home town of East Cheam, and who have already drawn comparisons to Radiohead for their soulful, introspective songwriting...”
I am hosting a street party along the road where I live. At what point in the morning may I begin roping-off the Westway Flyover?
Unpatriotic elfin-safety types will tell you you're not allowed to close the Westway. If they had their way, you probably wouldn't be able to close ANY section of the A40 at all, and we'd all be saluting President Blair in the Islamic Republic Of The Speed Camera. Don't let 'em win. No, you do what you like, when you like. Rule Britannia!