Royally wedded

AP
Friday, April 29, 2011 5:37 AM
Last updated 10:26 AM
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LONDON - With a smile that lit up TV screens around the world, Kate Middleton swept down the aisle at Westminster Abbey to marry Prince William in a union expected to revitalize the British monarchy. Hundreds of thousands cheered as the future king and queen of England rode an open carriage to Buckingham Palace.

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Flower girl reacts lower right as newly married couple kiss.  AP
AP
Flower girl reacts lower right as newly married couple kiss.

With an estimated 2 billion people watching around the world, the couple managed to appear at times in their own private world. William whispered to Kate, who radiated contentment and joy, as they pledged their lives to one another with the simple words "I will."

The biggest secret of the day - Middleton's wedding gown - prompted swoons of admiration as she stepped out of a Rolls-Royce with her father. Against all odds, the sun broke through steely gray skies at that exact moment.

The ivory and white satin gown - with its low neckline, high lace collar, long lacy sleeves and a train over 2-meters (yards) long - was designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. Middleton's hair was half-up, half-down and decorated with dramatic veil and a tiara on loan from Queen Elizabeth II.

Jennie Bond, a leading British monarchy expert and royal wedding consultant for The Associated Press, called it a "fairy tale."

"It's a dream," she said. "It is a beautiful laced soft look which is extremely elegant. She looked stunning."

William wore the scarlet tunic of an Irish Guards officer, sending a strong signal of support for the armed forces and reinforcing his new image as a dedicated military man. The couple's first royal wedding present came from the queen: the titles duke and duchess of Cambridge.

Floods of well-wishers - as well as some protesters - packed central London, around Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and other landmarks beginning at dawn, despite cool temperatures and the threat of rain. Cheers erupted as huge television screens began broadcasting at Trafalgar Square and Hyde Park.

"Will, it's not too late!" read one sign held aloft by an admirer dressed as a bride.

Maid of honor Pippa Middleton wore a simple column dress and naturally styled hair, while best man Prince Harry was dressed in formal military attire. The flower girls, in cream dresses with full skirts and flowers in their hair, walked down hand-in-hand with Pippa.

The iconic abbey was airy and calm, the long aisle leading to the altar lined with maple and hornbeam trees as light streamed in through the high arched windows. The soft green trees framed the couple against the red carpet as they walked down the aisle, having recited their vows without stumbling before Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

The royal-couple smiled broadly as they were driven to Buckingham Palace in the open-topped State Laundau, a carriage built in 1902, escorted by four white horses and followed by scarlet-clad troops on horseback. The palace was holding two parties, one hosted by the queen for 650 guests, and an evening dinner dance for 300 close friends.

The queen and her husband have promised to go away for the evening, leaving the younger royals free to party the night away- and Harry to make his best man's speech away from his octogenarian grandparents' ears.

Plumage of Amazonian variety filled the cavernous abbey as some 1,900 guests filed in, the vast majority of women in hats, some a full two feet (half a meter) across or high. Some looked like dinner plates, and one woman wore a bright red fascinator that resembled a flame licking her cheek. A BBC commentator noted there were some "very odd choices" walking through the abbey door.

Most men, however, looked elegant and suave in long tails, some highlighted by formal plaid pants and vests. Others wore military uniforms.

The queen, of course, wore a soft yellow hat and coat dress, just like the bookies had predicted.

All the details - the wedding dress, her hair, their titles, the romantic kiss on the balcony, the honeymoon - were finally being answered. But the biggest question won't be resolved for years: Will this royal couple live happily ever after?

Will their union endure like that of William's grandparents - Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, now in its 64th year - or crumble in a spectacular and mortifying fashion like that of his own parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana?

Recent history augurs badly: The first marriages of three of the queen's four children ended in divorce. But William and Kate seem to glow with happiness in each other's company, and unlike Charles and Diana they've had eight years to figure out that they want to be together.

Still, the fate of their marriage depends on private matters impossible for the public to gauge, since any wedding is fundamentally about two people. Will their lives together, starting with such high hopes, be blessed by good fortune, children, good health, productive work?

Much will depend on whether 28-year-old William and 29-year-old Kate can summon the things every couple needs: patience, love, wit and wisdom. But they face the twin burdens of fame and scrutiny. Money, power, beauty - it can all go wrong if not carefully nurtured.

These are the thorny issues upon which the fate of the monarchy rests, as the remarkable queen, now 85, inevitably ages and declines.

Hundreds of street parties were under way as Britons celebrated the heritage that makes them unique - and overseas visitors come to witness traditions they've admired from afar.

Brenda Hunt-Stevenson, a 56-year-old retired teacher from Newfoundland, Canada, said there was only one thing on her mind. "I want to see that kiss on that balcony. That's going to clinch it for me. I don't care what Kate wears. She is beautiful anyway."

The celebration was British to the core, from the freshly polished horse-drawn carriages to the sausages and lager served at street parties. Some pubs opened early, offering beer and English breakfasts - sausages, beans, toast, fried eggs and bacon.

The festivities reflected Britons' continuing fascination with the royal family, which despite its foibles remains a powerful symbol of unity and pride.

"It's very exciting," Prime Minister David Cameron said before he entered the church. "I went on to the mall last night and met some people sleeping on the streets. There's a sense of excitement that you can't really put a word to ... It's a chance to celebrate."

A number of famous people were left off the guest list, including President Barack Obama and Britain's last two prime ministers, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown of the Labour Party, which is not as strong a backer of the monarchy as the ruling Conservatives. That snub might resonate for years among Labour voters.

The royals fervently hope that a joyous union for the second-in-line to the British throne will rub out the squalid memories of his parents embarrassing each other and the nation with confessions of adultery as their marriage tumbled toward divorce.

And there is no small irony in the sight of Americans waking up before dawn (on the East Coast) or staying up all night (West Coast) after their fellow countrymen fought so fiercely centuries ago to throw off the yoke of the British monarchy and proclaim a country in which all men are created equal.

Brenda Mordic, 61, from Columbus, Georgia, clutched a Union Jack with her friend Annette Adams, 66.

"We came for the excitement of everything," Mordic said. "We watched William grow up. I came for Prince Charles' wedding to Diana and I came for Princess Diana's funeral. We love royalty England and London."

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bclicious
676
Points
bclicious 04/29/11 - 07:25 am
0
0
I just want to say that I am

I just want to say that I am happy for British, but disappointed in our media, and our government.

Much of the south is in ruins from these devastating tornados, and they are worried about a royal wedding in Britain! Also, when will we stop sending aid to all these foreign countries (including libya) and start taking care of ourselves?

Lastly; how many countries have offered to provide aid since the tornados hit? Answer: 0

mosovich
768
Points
mosovich 04/29/11 - 08:03 am
0
0
We're the richest country in

We're the richest country in the world, why would they.. Oh, that's right, the most in debt country in the world..
The people in the south need physical and financial help, not a bunch of media hounds..

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 04/29/11 - 08:07 am
0
0
Proud to say I didn't get up

Proud to say I didn't get up this morning at 4 am to watch the wedding. And equally amazed that any American citizen even bothered.

harrisjr
0
Points
harrisjr 04/29/11 - 08:11 am
0
0
bclicious I totally agree!

bclicious I totally agree!

gutdawg
8
Points
gutdawg 04/29/11 - 08:17 am
0
0
Could not agree more, why

Could not agree more, why would the Chronicle or any other US News Agency waste their time on this BS....

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 04/29/11 - 08:59 am
0
0
I agree we should not give

I agree we should not give any more money to any country until we can take care of our own problems. What the British do is their business and if they like the monarchy then so be it. They are good allies to us and us to them. After all England is where our roots are if you are a wasp.

AutumnLeaves
7046
Points
AutumnLeaves 04/29/11 - 10:25 am
0
0
A good number of Americans

A good number of Americans are related distantly to the royal family, including Obama on his mother's side. Of course there is going to be some interest in such a historical occasion when many of us have ancestral ties to England. I was considering watching it at 4am, but sleep won, I slept right through the alarm. I watched some of it this morning re-played. The occasion was suitably restrained in my opinion compared to the fairy-tale wedding of Princess Diana, even regarding Kate's wedding gown, train and bouquet. They were much simpler and yet still elegant. They are a lovely couple and I hope they have happier lives than his mother did. If ever I wished a ghost with a solid pair of boots would appear, it was when I saw Camilla (yuck) on the balcony with them. I imagined Camilla being booted off the balcony by the apparition and Prince Charles jumping off after her in a desperate attempt to save her, which gave me some satisfaction and comic relief. I have been appalled at the uncharitable things I have thought about the two of them over the years, but it keeps me humble and a repentant realizing I have thought such things. The nicest thing I can think of is that the two of them (C and C) deserve each other. The fact that the boys put up with Camilla's presence anywhere nearby is all credit to their lovely, generous-hearted mother, no one else. God bless the newly married couple with a continuing mutual commitment and nurturing of their love in their marriage like William's mother yearned for, broken-hearted, never reciprocated by her deceitful husband Charles, in her too short life. It is a new day.

Dixieman
14392
Points
Dixieman 04/29/11 - 11:25 am
0
0
Brilliant, wonderful wedding!

Brilliant, wonderful wedding! We Brits know how to do ceremonies better than any other country on the planet. Good luck to them both and God bless their marriage.

Boogaloo
1
Points
Boogaloo 04/29/11 - 11:39 am
0
0
I thought I saw you there,

I thought I saw you there, Dixieman, then realized it was the queen in her yellow outfit.

Frita's Boss
180
Points
Frita's Boss 04/29/11 - 02:40 pm
0
0
I love watching gorgeous

I love watching gorgeous women marry bald, horse-faced, wealthy men. I wonder if she would be in love if his first name wasn't Future King of England.

follower
59
Points
follower 04/29/11 - 03:37 pm
0
0
Frita's Boss, she probably

Frita's Boss, she probably married him because of his personality.

BamaMan
2276
Points
BamaMan 04/29/11 - 04:47 pm
0
0
Understandably, men don't

Understandably, men don't tend to care about things such as this. But also understandably women do. It's the "wish I could marry a Prince" thing most women are born with. There are books beginning with infant age that have Princes and Princesses living "happily ever after".

TrulyWorried
13338
Points
TrulyWorried 04/29/11 - 05:25 pm
1
0
AutumnLeaves - thanks for

AutumnLeaves - thanks for writing what my thoughts have been over the years regarding Princess Diana and her early death. She can be proud of her boys and much of it (if not all) can be attributed to her sincerity and love for her children. Life was totally unfair to her!

corgimom
31234
Points
corgimom 04/29/11 - 09:24 pm
0
1
Life was totally unfair to

Life was totally unfair to her?

She made one bad choice after another, after another, after another. While Prince "Horseface" Charles was no prize, she didn't conduct herself like an angel, either.

She never knew any financial worry or want. She lived in the lap of luxury, with servants to attend to her every need. She had unlimited funds, she never had to worry about care for her children. She had good health. The only problems she had were ones that she caused herself- which pretty much describes most adults' problems.

I say she had a great life. She died a tragic death, but so do millions of other people, and they aren't elevated to sainthood.

She was a professional victim, and I can easily see why Charles couldn't stand her. Millions of people get divorced, and they carry on, and don't feel the need to give interviews about the details- those sordid, nasty details that no one needs or wants to know. I kept thinking, "Someday her children will watch this, she is saying bad things about their father. How could she, as a loving mother, do this to her children?"

Suzy Q
1
Points
Suzy Q 04/30/11 - 02:34 am
1
0
Ok, corgi, so she was no

Ok, corgi, so she was no angel. Neither was Charles. He was in love with another woman when he married her, but did his royal duty to produce an heir with her as expected. Maybe her youth led her to believe that her marriage would succeed, and the destruction of that dream was more than she could handle. Do you honestly believe that money and servants are all it takes to fix a broken heart?

Also, I've never read or heard a word that suggests her children have anything but loving memories of her as a mother, and admiration for her work to help disadvantaged children around the world. Your suggestion that their love for her would diminish over one interview is ridiculous.

AutumnLeaves
7046
Points
AutumnLeaves 04/30/11 - 12:27 pm
1
0
corgimom, I guess you simply

corgimom, I guess you simply can't empathize, but Prince Charles married a very sweet, beautiful, charismatic, well-bred young woman, a school teacher, while still in love with someone else. He deceived her and strung Camilla along, cheated on Diana, made her think there was something wrong with herself, that she wasn't good enough, he didn't back her up with the Queen, treated her as if she was crazy, all to justify his lying, cheating affair with the woman he didn't have the guts to stand up to his mom to marry in the first place. I don't put one ounce of blame on Diana for what she did or didn't do. He was supposed to honor his pledge of love and commitment before God and country to her and he did not. If she did not know it at first in proof, I'm sure she felt something was very wrong very soon in the marriage. Women do. They feel it when they are being used even by the best liars. Everything Diane felt and did in that marriage was fall-out from HIS choices, his behavior, his failure as a husband. It is a wonder that Diana continued to love him as long as she did and managed to still do so much good. There are a lot of people that admire and respect her despite her human frailties. She certainly rose above people that think like you are right now. No, her life was not fair; she did the best she could with the rotten apple she got and a broken heart. Her children are her reward and are probably proud that she had the strength and self-respect it took to speak the truth in that interview, knowing how much pressure was on her to sweep things under the rug.

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