Prince William and Kate Middleton have been pronounced husband and wife at Westminister Abbey in London. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as they will now be known, made their vows in front of 1,900 guests and the eyes of the world.
All eyes were on the bride as she made her way towards the abbey. She showed few signs of nerves, smiling and waving at the crowds from her limousine and sat next to her father, Michael. The bride opted for a simple creation by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen with lace sleeves, a swagged train and a fine veil of chantilly lace. According to Buckingham Palace the dress “epitomises timeless British craftsmanship by drawing together talented and skilled workmanship from across the United Kingdom”.
Flanked by her sister and maid of honour, Pippa Middleton, who was wearing a long, cream silk gown, the bride was also accompanied by young bridesmaids Eliza Lopes, Grace van Cutsem, Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, and Margarita Armstrong-Jones, and pageboys Tom Pettifer and William Lowther-Pinkerton.
Prince William stood next to his brother, Prince Harry, and as his girlfriend of 10 years joined him at the altar the heir to the throne broke into a smile. Kate’s mother, Carole Middleton, wearing a fitted blue-grey Catherine Walker outfit, looked on with pride.
The wedding ceremony passed without hitch, with the only moment of tension provided as Prince William struggled to put the ring, fashioned from Welsh gold given to Prince William by the Queen, on his bride’s finger.
After the vows Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, declared: “I pronounce that they be man and wife together, in the name of the father, and of the son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”
In a prayer, written by the couple for the occasion, they said: “God our father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.”
As the couple left Westminster Abbey the crowds, some of whom had been camping for days for the moment, erupted into a fresh wave of cheers as they climbed into state landau carriages for the horse-drawn procession to Buckingham Palace. The married couple waved at crowds as they passed the crowds via Parliament Square, Whitehall, Horse Guards and the Mall. Despite fears of thundery showers, threatening grey skies produced no rain.
The couple joined the Queen who is giving a lunchtime reception at Buckingham Palace for 650 guests, described by the palace as “a private gathering for guests drawn from the congregation who will represent the couple’s official and private lives”.
At just before 1.30pm William and Kate kissed for the first time in public on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. The fleeting embrace sent the already ecstatic crowds wild, and was repeated during a flypast.
After more than five minutes of waving to the crowds, the couple walked hand in hand back through the doors of the palace. Earlier, stepping on to the balcony, Kate appeared to gasp “Oh my” as the royal couple saw the thousands of well-wishers lining the Mall before being joined by members of their family.
The Prince of Wales will give a private dinner, followed by dancing, for close friends and family.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010