Royals thank Sprowston hotel for offer to host wedding

When Prince William and Kate Middleton were looking at venues for their wedding, they had a number of glamourous and historic choices for the celebration.But one Norfolk wedding planner wanted to make sure the newly-engaged couple were considering all their options.

And, after sending a letter to His Royal Highness offering Sprowston Manor for the reception, Sarah Hyde received a reply saying thank you - but they would stick with Buckingham Palace.

Following the announcement of Prince William's engagement to Miss Middleton in November, the hotel and country club, on the outskirts of Norwich, decided to send a quick note.

Miss Hyde, Sprowston Manor's wedding co-ordinator, said: 'We wanted to send our congratulations from the hotel.'

But in with the letter, she also included a wedding brochure for the site, which is part of the Marriott chain, and an invitation to host the big day there. 'We said it would be an honour to help in any way we could for their special day,' she said. 'It was something we mentioned in the office and thought 'why not?'

'We have a fantastic venue so we thought Kate and William would love it too.'

The wedding planner sent the letter the day after the engagement was announced and, with no plans to follow it up with a call to the potential customer, thought no more of it.

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But now a polite response has been sent by Prince William's office at St James' Palace.

On behalf of the Prince, Claudia Holloway thanks Miss Hyde for the 'kind offer' to the couple but added: 'As you will be aware, it has recently been announced that Buckingham Palace will be the venue for the reception. Nevertheless, thank you for bringing Sprowston Manor to our attention.'

It means April 29 unfortunately remains free for the hotel, but has given the wedding planner a chance to come up with a reception fit for a future King.

Miss Hyde said Sprowston Manor would have offered the royal wedding party exclusive use of the hotel - 'that would have been key for security' - with the marquee and Suffolk Suite offering a good space for the event.

She has also given the menu some thought, coming up with some suitably royal dishes with a strong British feel for Prince William of Wales.

'For canapes, we could have offered Welsh Rarebit bites, mini Yorkshire puddings with roast beef or maybe a very British mini cream tea,' she suggested. 'We could have also done a Keir Royale to greet guests and maybe an Eton Mess for dessert.'

Prince William will marry Miss Middleton on April 29 with a ceremony at Westminster Abbey at 11am. The couple and guests will then travel to Buckingham Palace for the reception.