Will, Kat marry amid great pomp, show

Will, Kat marry amid great pomp, show

Will, Kat marry amid great pomp, show

Sealed with a kiss : Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall watch as Britain’s Prince William kisses his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the royal wedding in London on Friday. AP

 
Just 90 minutes after they completed their wedding service, the couple stepped onto a balcony at Buckingham Palace, flanked by the royal family, to greet an enormous crowd stretching along The Mall toward Trafalgar Square — a traditional moment at royal weddings. When they kissed for the first time in public as a married couple, a cheer went up from the crowd, and the prince blushed.

Then — also a recent tradition — the newlyweds peered skyward to observe a 66-year-old Lancaster bomber from the Second World War flanked by Spitfire and Hurricane fighter planes from the same era flying over the palace in salute. While they waited, the newlyweds kissed again, and the crowd roared.

In one brief morning, the ceremony brought a sense of pomp and pageant to Britain’s straitened circumstances, lifting the mood of many and seeming to strengthen the royal family’s enduring struggle against skeptics critical of its unelected and privileged status in a constitutional monarchy that offers monarchs little real power.

A little over one hour after Prince William, 28, and Middleton, 29, arrived at Westminster Abbey to be married, the newlyweds emerged on a red carpet onto the streets to a peal of bells, stepping into a 99-year-old, open, horse-drawn carriage. They had started the ceremony as a prince and what the British call a commoner. They emerged as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, their new titles granted earlier on Friday by Queen Elizabeth II.

As much as the ceremony itself, Britons and many others had been fascinated by the closely held secret of what Middleton’s wedding dress would look like. The curiosity was satisfied when she rode to the abbey wearing a creation by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen in white and ivory. Travelling in a Rolls Royce limousine escorted by her father, Michael Middleton, she wore a  delicate veil with intricate lace on the neckline and a diamond tiara lent for the occasion by Queen Elizabeth.

The ceremony — a British specialty in the choreography of royalty — was designed as much to celebrate their marriage as to inject national pride after years of discord and divorce within the queen’s family. Reveling in the pageantry after the ceremony in the abbey, the couple waved to jubilant crowds as their procession, escorted by equestrian guardsmen in scarlet tunics and silver breastplates, traversed the streets of London toward Buckingham Palace.

Their open landau was closely followed by a closed carriage for the queen and her husband, Prince Philip.

For a time, the streets more used to black cabs and trundling red buses echoed to the clip-clop of hooves from trotting chargers and antique carriages. Flanked by liveried footmen in gold and red tunics, the newly married couple smiled and waved, offering what some commentators have depicted as a more open and modern visage of the monarchy once dismissed as aloof.

On the final stretch of their brief, first journey as man and wife, the couple passed along the broad ceremonial avenue called The Mall leading to the palace, with the national anthem playing, the crowds cheering and, after fears of rain, a sliver of sunlight nudging past the clouds.

The wedding service had begun with a psalm and a hymn, “Guide me, O Thou Great Redeemer.” The couple stood side by side before the altar.

The service followed Anglican tradition, with the prince and Middleton both declaring “I will” to the wedding vows pronounced by the Most Rev Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual head of the Anglican denomination. Middleton did not pledge to “obey” Prince William, as was once usual, but instead to “love, comfort, honour and keep” him.

“I pronounce that they be man and wife together,” the archbishop said. The service continued with the hymn “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.” Some onlookers noted that while the prince placed a wedding ring on his bride’s finger, she did not reciprocate the gesture.

“With this ring I thee wed; with my body I thee honour; and all my worldly goods with thee I share,” William said, repeating the words of the archbishop.

Before the service, in ascending order of royal rank, Middleton’s new in-laws-to-be and members of her own family had driven to the abbey in a variety of Rolls Royce, Bentley and Jaguar cars, cheered on by crowds standing 10 or 15 deep along the way. Just before the bride reached the abbey, the queen arrived wearing a primrose dress and hat and accompanied by Prince Philip at the same place they were married in 1947 and where she was crowned in 1953.

Earlier on Friday, the queen announced that Prince William would assume three new titles to be shared with Middleton – the Duke of Cambridge, the Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus. A dukedom is the highest rank in British peerage.

Middleton will be known after her marriage as the Duchess of Cambridge, but she will also have the titles the Countess of Strathearn and Baroness Carrickfergus.

According to British protocol, she will not be able to formally call herself Princess Catherine because she was not born a princess.

“The transition of Middleton from a young woman from the Home Counties to being our future queen is the stuff of fairy tales,” said the  Daily Telegraph.

The man and wife

About Prince William:

* EARLY LIFE: Born William Arthur Philip Louis on June 21, 1982 at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, west London, he is the elder son of heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana and also second in line to the throne. After attending Mrs Mynors School, William became a pupil at Wetherby School in London and then Ludgrove School in Berkshire. He then attended Eton College. 

* HIS MOTHER DIANA: Prince William was 15 when Diana, Princess of Wales was killed in a car crash in Paris at the end of August 1997. William and his younger brother Prince Harry walked behind their mother's cortege at her funeral procession in London.

* MILITARY SERVICE: William joined the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as an Officer Cadet and was commissioned as an army officer in front of the queen at Sandhurst in Decemebr 2006 and joined the Household Cavalry as a Second Lieutenant. He graduated as a search and rescue Pilot with the Royal Air Force in September 2010.

* KATE MIDDLETON: William met Kate Middleton at St Andrews University in Scotland, where they both began studying in 2001. Intolerable media intrusion was cited by many sources as the reason they broke up in 2007, but they soon got back together to be married on April 29.

About Kate Middleton

* EARLY LIFE: The eldest of three children, Catherine Middleton was born on January 9, 1982 into a middle-class family from Berkshire, west of London.

* Her father Michael worked as a pilot and her mother Carole as an airline stewardess before setting up a mail order business selling party supplies.

* A ROYAL ROMANCE:She met Prince William at St Andrews University in Scotland in 2001, where she read history of art. The pair lived together in a house shared with friends.

* By April 2004, she was going on the annual ski trip to Switzerland with William, his father and his brother Harry, sending the paparazzi into a feeding frenzy.

* They briefly split up in 2007 after William was posted around the country as part of his military training.

* Critics in the tabloid press nicknamed Middleton “Waity Katie” after a marriage date failed to materialise and accused her of doing little with her life beyond waiting for William to pop the question.

* Britain’s press watchdog received complaints on behalf of Middleton in 2007 after photographers and TV film crews mobbed her outside her London flat.

* Engaged to William in November 2010 andd married on April 29.

Reuters

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