Detailed preparations for the wedding between Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles are likely to have been taking place behind closed doors for months, experts said today.
With the date set for less than two months in the future (April 8), most of the arrangements should already have been finalised, according to wedding planners.
Event organisers and bookmakers also agree that Camilla Parker Bowles is likely to opt for a low-key coloured dress rather than traditional white for the Windsor Castle ceremony – which could end up costing more than £500,000 (€725,000).
Miranda Lewis of high-society wedding specialists Orchid Events said: “They will need a big team and they will have been thinking about it for months.
“They must be in quite an advanced stage of preparation. We do get people coming in at a late stage like this, but a wedding of this profile must have taken a lot of planning. It’s been in motion for some time.”
William Hill is offering odds of 33/1 against the future Duchess of Cornwall choosing a white dress, and make cream or natural the favourite at 1/3. Pink, pale blue and yellow are offered at 6/1, 8/1, and 10/1 respectively.
Particularly brave punters can also lay money at 66/1 on her stepping out in a patriotic mix of red white and blue on April 8.
Ms Lewis said she expected the bride to wear an elegant dress in a soft colour on the big day.
“I was thinking pastels but then that would be too similar to the Queen Mother. It will be a hint of a colour, maybe a kind of ochre. I’m sure it will be fantastic – she will look tailored and elegant.”
Charles and Camilla are likely to want a very different event from his high-profile wedding to Princess Diana, according to Ms Lewis.
“Everything is going to be such a marked contrast to Charles and Diana’s wedding. They will go down an understated route, and might not even have bridesmaids. They may just have maids of honour.”
The Prince may choose to wear a suit this time rather than military uniform, she added.
However, a lower-key wedding will not necessarily mean it is any less expensive.
Ms Lewis said: “They won’t get much change from £500,000 (€725,000). Everything will be of the highest quality. They could spend a fortune on flowers alone.” William Hill are also taking bets on the colour of the Queen’s hat at the event, with pale blue favourite at 2/1.
Spokesman Rupert Adams said: “Speculation is bound to be high about the royal outfits and we’re expecting a rush of bets from fashion fans.”