A British couple had an unexpected celebrity guest at their wedding reception - pop queen Madonna.
Madonna, who was in Rome to play a concert at the Olympic Stadium, was eating at the five star hotel that Neil and Imogen McCarthy of Cardiff were having their post-nuptial buffet.
At first guests politely ignored the singer and her husband Guy Ritchie who were having a quiet candle-lit dinner for two.
But when the star discovered a British wedding party was on the terrace she stopped, joined them for a chat and wished them good luck.
Neil and Imogen’s surprise happened at the luxury Hotel De Russie in central Rome where they had booked a wedding reception for 70 guests who had flown in specially from Britain.
The reception’s disc jockey Valeria De Luca immediately recognised the singer as she walked in and put on her smash hit Hung Up, which according to witnesses infuriated the star.
Waiters ushered Madonna and Guy to a secluded corner table and guests at the wedding carried on with their dinner as word spread that she was nearby.
Luca Iacovello, of Rome based J-Musicweb, who supplied the turntables and DJ, said: “When Madonna walked into the reception with her husband everybody recognised them.
“The DJ put on one of her records, Hung Up, which she wasn’t happy about but all the party at the wedding behaved with typical British reserve.
“If it had been an Italian wedding and Madonna walked in there would have been mass hysteria, but no-one raised an eyelid although everyone knew she was there.
“Madonna and Guy had their dinner and the wedding party continued and at the end Madonna walked up and congratulated the couple and wished them luck for their wedding.
“It was completely unexpected and was an added bonus for their wedding day.”
The McCarthys, who are currently on their honeymoon, were unavailable for comment.
Jason Harding, general manager at St Davids Hotel in Cardiff, where Imogen works, said: “I can confirm Imogen is a member of staff and got married in Rome at the weekend.”
He added: “This is the first I have heard about this – we shall have to ask her all about it when she gets back.”
A spokeswoman at the Hotel De Russie in Rome said: “I can confirm that Madonna and her husband had dinner at our terrace restaurant.
“I can also confirm that at the same time there was a wedding reception taking place with a British bride and groom, but I cannot say anything else.
“I have to respect the privacy of our clients both famous and not famous.”