April 23, 2011 / 3:35 PM / 8 years ago

Abbey bells to ring three hours for royal wedding

Dean of Westminster John Hall walks through Westminster Abbey in central London in this November 23, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Files

LONDON (Reuters) - The 10 bells of London’s Westminster Abbey will chime for more than three hours following the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, St James’s Palace said on Saturday.

Ringers at the abbey where the couple marry on Friday will perform a full peal of 5,000 changes, or sequences of bell chimes, with none repeating.

A peal of this length is only rung on special royal or national occasions and was last performed for the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s marriage to Prince Philip in 2007, a spokesman for the abbey said.

The ringers will follow two methods or patterns of chiming which allow them to complete the peal without having to memorize all 5,000 changes.

The palace said the chimes for the royal wedding will combine two methods called London and Bristol to result in a peal of Spliced Surprise Royal.

The ringers, all volunteers, are members of the Westminster Abbey Company of Ringers, which currently includes architects, bankers, lawyers and civil servants.

The bells will also be rung for up to half an hour before the service.

Reporting by Tim Castle

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