By JONATHAN PETRE
The Westminster Abbey verger who became an internet sensation after cart-wheeling down the nave following the Royal Wedding has been rebuked by senior staff.
Sources at the Abbey said the man was feeling ‘fairly chastened’ after his impromptu display of acrobatics was caught on film.
Although he is unlikely to face any formal disciplinary action, Abbey staff have warned him not to speak publicly about the incident.
Flipping good time: Verger Ben Sheward lands with a smile after the wedding went without any hitches
While the Abbey has refused to identify him, sources have disclosed he is Ben Sheward, who lives in South London.
The sources said Mr Sheward is believed to have worked at the Abbey for ten years, and he has previously been pictured welcoming new choirboys by sharing sweets with them.
According to some sources, he has studied music in New Zealand and is an expert on the composer Edward Elgar.
Splendour: Only an hour earlier, the new Duchess of Cambridge was was being walked down the aisle
Mr Sheward waited until some 1,900 guests had left the Abbey before seizing his chance to cartwheel down the red carpet that William and Kate had just walked along for the first time as a married couple.
In the clip, the black-cassocked verger is shown strolling down the carpet.
As a number of apparent stragglers from the wedding service look on, he embarks on one cart-wheel, smiles, and then squeezes in at least one other before disappearing out of shot.
ITV cameras caught his antics, which were beamed to millions of viewers around the world, ensuring the unsuspecting verger became an international celebrity
Spectacle: As well as billions who saw it on TV, thousands watched the occasion from outside the Abbey
The clip had already attracted 100,000 internet hits yesterday, and comments on various websites had come from as far afield as the United States and Australia. One said: ‘I think this self-publicist should be sacked!’ Most, however, praised him.
A Westminster Abbey spokesman said: ‘The verger, like all of us, was very pleased the service had gone according to plan, and was expressing his exuberance.’ He emphasised that the incident occurred some time after the wedding had finished.
Sight to behold: Prince William and Kate emerge from the Abbey... it was enough to make one man cart-wheel
The Royal Wedding - Cartwheeling Verger