NEWLYWEDS William and Kate began their life together as a married couple last night after a wedding ceremony that enthralled the world.
The royal bride and groom tied the knot in a ceremony both intimate and touching that ushered in a new era for the British monarchy.
And, speaking last night as she left to attend her evening party at Buckingham Palace, Kate said her wedding to Prince William had been a “great day” and she was relieved the weather “held off”.
Around a million people turned out to celebrate the wedding and those who flocked to witness their Buckingham Palace balcony appearance were treated to two kisses from the couple.
In an unexpected move that delighted the crowds, William and Kate left their wedding reception in the Prince of Wales’s blue Aston Martin with the groom at the wheel. The sports car was decorated with red, white and blue ribbons, with balloons tied to the back and a rear number plate which read “JU5T WED”, all thanks to best man Prince Harry and other friends.
The former Miss Middleton had started the day a commoner but by its end had become HRH the Duchess of Cambridge – as William was made a duke by the Queen yesterday morning.
The future king and his beautiful bride, who will now one day be Queen, had pledged their love for one another at Westminster Abbey. The service was flawless but there was a tiny moment of drama as the prince struggled to place the ring on Kate’s finger.
After the couple said their vows, in which the modern-thinking bride did not promise to obey William, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, 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.”
Kate wore a stunning ivory gown with lace applique floral detail designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen.
A congregation of 1,900 and up to two billion people saw their vows, as they were beamed live around world.
And the service took place in the presence of the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Kate’s parents Carole and Michael Middleton and other guests in the abbey. Celebrity invitees included David and Victoria Beckham, Sir Elton John, Madonna’s ex-husband Guy Ritchie, Rowan Atkinson and Joss Stone.
The wedding day became a magical public spectacle when the bride and groom left the abbey and climbed into the 1902 State Landau for a procession through the streets of central London.
Crowds who had been gathering since early this morning cheered and waved at the couple as they passed by in the Captain’s Escort with the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.
And despite fears that rain would spoil the occasion, a shaft of sunlight fell across The Mall amid the joyous scenes as the radiant bride and her handsome prince laughed and smiled.
During their wedding reception the couple cut the traditional wedding cake and at its end said goodbye to the Queen and Prince Philip, who did not attend last night’s evening dinner and dance celebration at the palace.
The party was held for 300 of William and Kate’s friends and family. Newlywed Kate switched into a new outfit for the party – another Sarah Burton creation, a strapless white satin gazar evening dress with a circle skirt and diamante embroidered detail round the waist.