The security headaches for Britain's royal wedding

Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:54pm EDT
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By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) - From Islamist and Irish republican militants to anarchists and crazed stalkers, British police appear to be facing a huge array of possible threats when Prince William marries Kate Middleton next week.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to throng the streets of London to cheer the bride and groom as they head to and from Westminster Abbey on April 29th.

But not all among the crowds may be wishing the couple the well. With the eyes of the world on London and dignitaries from around the globe in attendance, the event is seen as a prime target for militants, extremists and lone obsessives.

"You've got the people who are publicity seekers, people who try to get on stage when there's a major international event going on," said Brian Paddick, a former senior London officer.

"You've got the people obsessed with the royal family. Perhaps some people who think this is their last chance to save William for themselves. Then you will have the most sinister, you will have people perhaps thinking about a terrorism spectacular," he told Sky News.

With Britain currently at its second highest threat level of "severe," meaning an attack is considered highly likely, the threat from militants is the most serious concern for police.

Security services have foiled a number of plots since the deadly July 7, 2005 attacks on London's transport system although police say there is no evidence militants have earmarked the royal event.

COVERT   Continued...

<p>Police officers carry out security checks on drains and lamp posts along the Mall ahead of the Royal wedding in London, April 14, 2011. REUTERS/Anthony Devlin/POOL</p>