Royal wedding sealed with a kiss
LONDON - She took the words right out of his mother’s mouth.
In a ceremony certainly heard-about around the world - possibly viewed by two billion humans - Kate Middleton went from commoner to Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge with the same style of vow Prince William’s mother chose 30 years ago.
The bride - wearing a Alexander McQueen gown that would have been studied to be copied and sold before the wedding ceremony was even finished Friday morning - promised to “love, comfort, honour and keep” her husband.
The word “obey” - as it was with Diana in her marriage to Prince Charles - was left out.
Middleton also didn’t have to promise to “serve” her prince.
William, who has now taken on the title of duke, repeated the same vows.
The exchange was part of a service that was marked by a combination of old values and traditions, with modern tones and the very new world vows.
Set to bells and choirs and pipes and the grand organ, it also included a prayer for the gift of children, said by Middleton’s brother James.
The day here in London began under a cloak of a special protective barrier - including a fabric screen and security detail.
Not really sheltered from view as they had hoped, Kate Middleton left her suite at the five-star Goring Hotel, and made her way to Westminster Abbey.
She was met - not only by her groom, Britain’s elite, celebrities including Elton John and ordinary people who found a Willy Wonka-like invitation in their mailbox - but also by thousands and thousands of well-wishers who gathered outside this fabled church.
And all were checked by 5,000 London police officers.
While it’s been speculated how many people around the world may have seen the wedding, it will be almost impossible to ever know the true number.
But it’s clear, what they saw was not just an affirmation of the love of two people, but also of royal pride and place in the 21st century.
A Hollywood epic could hardly compete as the House of Windsor pulled out every very special effect in their chest.
But the most interesting moments were the human ones, including the way the bride’s hands shook, and how her husband had a hard time putting the ring on.
Inside the church, six English field maples and two hornbeam trees formed the centerpiece of a display that reportedly cost $80,000. It also included blossoms, azaleas, rhododendron, beech, wisteria, euphorbias and lilac.
Even as it was still going on, the first royal wedding of the social media age meant people were exchanging the vows electronically before they were said between the couple.
And the tweets continued onto the streets, as the bride and groom - followed by other members of the House of Windsor - travelled from the church to Buckingham Palace.
Along the crowded route, people who had travelled from around the world - including many Canadians - cheered as if they were watching relatives.
Police reported no major incidents during the ceremony or during the ride down the flag-lined streets.
Though most of London was busy watching out for ‘the kiss’ on the palace balcony.
The sky grew even brighter as they came out to the roar of the crowd.
The pair - usually not the most public of the royal clan - was happy to give the people of the kingdom what they wanted.
The two brief kisses were met with cheers that rang from the palace to local parks to inside homes.
While there was great joy, this was serious business.
The footage of the ceremony itself may be repeated many times down the line from this day, but not on comedy shows. Rules set down by palace officials have dictated the footage can’t be used in parody or satire shows.
But the wedding has made such an impact here, that it’s even been covered extensively by the notoriously anti-royal-pomp paper, The Independent.
In 1988, the birth of the Duke and Duchess of York’s first child got a one-sentence nod, buried deep inside the publication.
There is little doubt the couple has felt a strong sense of love by most people across the UK.
Especially from a crowd allowed to walk right up to the palace gates.
While usually the Archbishop of Canterbury would write an official message on the wedding program, the one handed out to 150,000 people in and outside the church (though it costs around $3 on the street) includes a thank you from Prince William and his bride. “We are both so delighted that you are able to join us in celebrating what we hope will be one of the happiest days of our lives,” it reads in part.
“The affection shown to us by so many people during our engagement has been incredibly moving, and has touched us both deeply.”
It’s signed by both of them.
While the wedding is over, scores of block parties are still taking place across the UK today.
And then, like after every great bash, someone is left to tidy up the joint.
Here in London, that will be left up to a large trash team, who will fan out across the city, to clear up as much as 140 tonnes of litter left behind by the now famous nuptials.