AN excited couple from Kate Middleton’s “ancestral home” are set to share their big day with the Royal pair.
Sharon Johnston and Andrew Browell, from Hetton, are tying the knot on April 29, having named the date for their nuptials ahead of Prince William and his bride-to-be.
Kate’s great-great-grandfather John Harrison toiled in a coal pit in the village before laying down his life for King and country in the First World War.
Now, a century later, his family has made the astonishing leap from pit to palace as the 29-year-old faces the prospect of becoming the future Queen of England.
But while William and Kate will have a 1,900 guests at their grand ceremony in Westminster Abbey, Sharon and Andrew have settled for a more manageable 50 at the George Washington Hotel, in Washington.
“Our wedding will certainly be a smaller affair, but it’s going to be just as special,” said Sharon. “I’m so excited.”
The pair intended to walk down the aisle on April 30, but their plans were thrown into chaos when a blaze (pictured) at the Quality Hotel, in Boldon, meant they had to find an alternative venue for their wedding.
“I just couldn’t believe it when I found out that the hotel was burning down,” said Sharon, 36.
“A friend called me to say she’d heard on the radio that the hotel was going up in flames.
“I just thought there wasn’t going to be a wedding any more.”
Luckily, the venue’s sister hotel came to the rescue, booking them in the day before their original chosen date.
It was only later that the Royal Wedding was announced on the same day.
“It was purely by chance that it was the same day at the Royal Wedding, but we were over the moon,” said Sharon. “We had a choice of a couple of dates, but chose that one because it was closest to our original choice.”
The couple are due to wed on Wearside at 11.30am, when William and Kate will also be exchanging their vows almost 300 miles away in London.
Sharon, a hotel room attendant and Andrew, 29, who works for a utilities company, have known each other for eight years, the same as the royal couple.
“It’s going to be a fantastic day,” Sharon added.