William and Kate to have a 'ketubah' for the wedding

By Nathan Jeffay, March 10, 2011
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Prince William and Kate Middleton are to receive a ketubah-style document to mark their wedding.

Michael Horton, a British-born calligrapher who lives in Jerusalem, took a traditional ketubah text and "de-koshered" it so that it would be suitable to honour a church wedding. He also removed the husband-to-wife obligations outlined in a ketubah, so that his text could be purely commemorative.

He then inscribed it on a parchment from the strictly-Orthodox Jerusalem neighbourhood of Mea Shearim, using the same rabbinically supervised inks that scribes use to write Torah scrolls. The right-hand side of the parchment has the text, including the names of the bride and groom, in Hebrew; the left-hand side is in English.

At the top of the document Mr Horton drew the Ten Commandments, held by one lion on the right, which symbolises the biblical tribe of Judah, and on the left, another lion taken from Prince William's coat of arms.

Beneath the right-hand lion are Solomon's Temple and King David playing the harp; beneath the left-hand lion are Westminster Abbey, where the couple will be married, and the seal of William the Conqueror.

Mr Horton, renowned for the ornate ketubot, said: "For 40 years I have been doing marriage documents and a friend suggested: 'There's a big wedding coming up in London - why don't you do something for that?'"

The 63-year-old has a fondness for royalty. He said: "My grandfather was Commissioner for Crown Lands, and received the OBE in 1955, so I feel a special connection to the Royal Family."

Nevertheless, he will not be following the wedding on television, because he doesn't have one. The document took eight full days of work. He was due to present it yesterday to Matthew Gould, British ambassador in Israel, who said he would send it in a diplomatic bag to ensure that it gets there in plenty of time. "This is a lovely piece of art and a novel present for the Royal Couple," he said.

The Chief Rabbi's Office has confirmed that Lord Sacks will attend the wedding.

Last updated: 3:47pm, March 10 2011