Dornoch Cathedral - Madonna's Wedding

On 22nd December 2000, the 17th century cathedral played host to a special  baptism; that of Madonna and Guy Ritchie's son.  Previously, they were married by the Rev. Susan Brown in nearby Skibo Castle.  Guests were then invited to their son's baptism at the famous cathedra, which was also performedl by the female minister, Reverend Susan Brown, who is now very high up in the Scottish Ministry, but still takes worship at the cathedral in Dornoch. 

Shortly after 6pm the stars began arriving: Gwyneth Paltrow; Stella McCartney in a frock coat; Sting and his wife Trudi Styler. Then, at around 6.30pm, Madonna and Ritchie sneaked into the cathedral under cover. It was only half an hour later, when the service was over and Madonna waved on the steps, that the waiting crowd of a few hundred were granted a glimpse.

The Rev. Susan Brown, who  married the singer and Mr. Ritchie today, baptised the couple's four-month-old son, Rocco - reportedly in Versace clothes - according to traditional Church of Scotland rites.

Inside the cathedral, Sting, whose wife introduced the couple, performed an aria. The previous evening he had been heard testing out the acoustics at the ancient cathedral.

Security for the event was tight. Madonna's security advisers stood guard over the celebrity throng; extra police officers were drafted to cope with the media scrum. From the early morning, they had their work cut out.

Preparations for the christening did not go entirely smoothly. As a thick fog descended on Inverness airport, planes carrying guests were diverted to RAF Kinloss, near Forres, Aberdeenshire, some 30 miles away.

Newlyweds Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston as well as Madonna's father and stepmother were among those believed to have been delayed.

Madonna, aged 42, married Mr Ritchie, who is ten years her junior, in a ceremony steeped in the groom's Scottish heritage.

Mr. Ritchie wore a kilt in the Hunting Mackintosh tartan and his bride's white Gothic-style dress was adorned with a sash of the same tartan. The bride was given away by her father, Tony Ciccone, and watched by her four-year-old daughter Lourdes.

Then guests were treated to a smoked salmon and haggis champagne reception followed by a ceilidh - a traditional party with singing, dancing and Scottish music.

Mr. and Mrs. Ritchie then retired to Skibo Castle, with their guests, before departing for their honeymoon in Sting's Grade 1 listed Tudor mansion in Wiltshire, England.

Dornoch Cathedral’s first service was held in 1239 and it continues today as a parish church. Originally Roman Catholic rites were observed but since the Reformation it has been part of the Church of Scotland. The Cathedral has many interesting features, not least the gargoyles on the exterior.

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