We’re so happy to be sharing our big day with William and Kate

BIG DAY Athena Murphy and Mark Lane are marrying today at St John's Cathedral in Portsmouth.     Picture: Malcolm Wells (111305-731)
BIG DAY Athena Murphy and Mark Lane are marrying today at St John's Cathedral in Portsmouth. Picture: Malcolm Wells (111305-731)
Nigel Morgan and Dave Cutts, with centre, Oli Poole

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WEDDING bells are ringing today – but not just for Royal couple William and Kate.

For as the nation celebrates Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton, bride Athena Murphy, 28, and groom Mark Lane, 28, will be tying the knot at St John’s Cathedral on Edinburgh Road, Landport.

The pair booked their big day before Prince William announced his wedding date – and the coincidence was a happy accident.

Mark and Athena had hoped to get hitched on Sunday – which will be four years to the day since they got together – but the cathedral was too busy with its services, so they opted for today.

Athena, who grew up in the Philippines before moving to Portsmouth at the age of 15, said: ‘We were so excited when we heard that the Royal wedding was going to be on the same day.

‘Mark’s mum called us up straight away, she was over the moon.

‘But it has created a few issues – because it’s a holiday now all the businesses are shut and it has been harder to get the things we need.

‘Luckily we had already booked most things, like my hair and stuff, so they were happy to still do it because we had already paid for it.’

After the traditional Catholic ceremony, the newlyweds, who live in Algiers Road, Baffins, will make their way to a reception party on Hayling Island and enjoy home-made Philippino and British food.

The pair met through their work at the Carphone Warehouse, shortly after Athena had left the Royal Navy. Mark had been temporarily posted to the same store as her, and within months they were a couple.

Mark, manager of Gunwharf’s Carphone Warehouse, said: ‘We went for a meal in Chichester for our first date. I didn’t know that night that Athena was the one, but it was only a few months before I realised I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.

‘And it’s so special that on the day we make that commitment, Prince William and Kate will be doing the same because it means that not only our family will remember the date, but the whole of the country will too.

‘We feel really lucky to share such a special occasion with the Royal family because not many people get to do that.’