THE wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton was the biggest since that of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.
And, as the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge exchanged their vows yesterday in a fairytale ceremony at Westminster Abbey, the royal romance captivated the nation with thousands of people in the North East joining in the wedding festivities by throwing their own royal celebrations.
Some royal fans went to extremes decorating their homes in Union Flag bunting, wearing mock prince and princess outfits and playing royal-themed party games.
Across the region people gathered to watch the wedding on television before enjoying street parties to mark the big day with 32 street parties in Newcastle, four in Sunderland, 13 in County Durham and seven in Northumberland.
Rain hit some of the events – but nobody was too bothered.
Royal wedding enthusiasts were out in force in Heddon-on-the-Wall in Northumberland where hundreds of people enjoyed a party at the Swan pub. Organiser John Stewart, 25, said: “I have been planning this since January and I am pleased it has turned out to be a great day.”
A group of 21 American tourists from Syracuse, New York who are touring Britain by coach, stopped off at Heddon on their way to Edinburgh. Peggy Hughes, 71, said: “We are the envy of everyone back home. It was a beautiful wedding and Kate was a stunning bride.”
Nancy Will, 55, said: “We love the glamour and elegance of it all. We can't match the grand celebrations like this in America.”
Julie-ann Taylor, 32, from Throckley, Newcastle, runs her own cake business, Taylor Made Celebration Cakes. She spent five hours making a beautiful royal wedding cake for someone to win if they could correctly guess its weight.
She said: “I have only just started my business and I was very nervous to be a part of such a special day.”
Among those who organised community shindigs to mark the big day was mother-of-two Pam Nichol, from North Tyneside. As soon as the wedding date was announced, the ardent royalist started planning how she could celebrate.
The 43-year-old from Hauxley, Killingworth, sent out invitations to her neighbours on which she had superimposed images of Kate and William on to her street.
Her guests were asked to wear red, white and blue, and took part in a range of royal-themed party games including pin-the-tail on the corgi, and The Queen says – a version of Simon Says. “I’m exhausted,” said Pam yesterday. “I’ve been planning the party for two months. Something like this doesn’t happen very often so when it does you have to make the most of it.”
Sharing their wedding day with the royal couple were Aissa Tyley and Chris Anderson, who booked the April 29 date long before the royal wedding was announced.
The couple, who make up folk duo Simple Swan, were not to be outdone by the regal celebrations and invited 65 guests to an intimate service at St Nicholas Church, South Gosforth, Newcastle, followed by a reception at Blackfriars restaurant in Newcastle.
The new Mrs Anderson said: “I watched the wedding and I couldn’t help but think how small our church was in comparison but it's so nice and cosy this way.”
Meanwhile, volunteers from the All Together in Cowgate (ATIC) group in Cowgate, Newcastle, welcomed around 200 people to their royal celebrations.