Kate Middleton Marries Her Prince Watched On By An Estimated 2 Billion Around The Globe
Just before 11am, a car from the royal fleet slipped along an unassuming London street. Inside was a young woman travelling to meet her destiny.
It was a journey that began eight years ago in a small Scottish town and which was finally bringing Kate Middleton to the High Altar at Westminster Abbey, to marry her Prince in front of her Queen, her country and a global audience of billions.
In the grey English morning, as the car purred along, the world got its first glimpse of the bride. Through the polished windows, we saw the serious glitter of a Windsor tiara, the sheer fall of a simple veil, eye-socking diamond earrings and a lily of the valley bouquet, complete with stems of myrtle, planted by Queen Victoria herself.
The sweep of history, important jewels and the incandescent, frosty beauty of a lovely young bride, all gift wrapped in one incredible royal package.
With her father Michael at her side, his handsome face occasionally dappled with nerves, Kate was driven through streets thronged with crowds waving Union flags.
Down the Mall, through the arch, past pavements frilled with a blur of red, white and blue, the bridal smile did not falter, nor did the matching royal wave — a cheerful yo-yo flipper not yet iced over with formality and restraint.
On her day of days, Kate wore her gorgeous chocolate hair in a half-chignon, with make-up she had applied herself. She looked peachy-lipped and beautiful, despite the slightly ageing effect of so much of her favourite kohl and rusty blusher.
Yet this determination to be herself, to do it her way, is what will stand her in good stead. One can understand the impulse to have a little bit of control on a day that changed her life. From now and for ever more, the security blanket of at least being in charge of her own mascara is all that stands between Kate and the scrutiny of the world.
As they got out of the car at Westminster Abbey, the full glory of the dress was revealed for the first time. It was indeed a dress worthy of an abbey, a pooling train of well-behaved cream silk, wasp-waisted, elegant and aristocratic. It could have been so wrong, but it was a sensation.
It is worth noting that Catherine is the first top-tier royal bride in decades to get it exactly right, which says a great deal about her. And it is entirely to her credit that despite its finely-tailored opulence, Kate wore the dress, not the other way around.
There was an incredible moment when father and daughter first stood together at the Abbey doors. ‘Are you ready?’ he asked.
‘I am,’ replied Miss Middleton of Bucklebury, the commoner who will one day become queen. This cool reply exemplified the remarkable confidence of a royal bride whose mother was born into a council flat in Southall, West London, and whose recent family roots go back to the coalfields and poverty of the North-East of England. She is amazing, a credit to them all.
Pausing only to wave to the crowd with a regal ease, she took her father’s arm and began the long walk down the aisle to claim her Prince. The rest of her life had begun.
Kate Middleton once said that Prince William was ‘lucky to have me’ and through this wonderful wedding day, surrounded in a blaze of pomp and circumstance and accompanied by the roar of trumpets, she proved over and over again how right she was. When her moment of truth came, she was more than ready for it.
Of course, brides always create goodwill, but you have to admit, hers was a royal debut of high-wattage star power.
Her poise was incredible, her self-possession did not waver. Unlike the galumphing younger royal princesses in their ghastly get-ups, or half a dozen clodhopping duchesses anyone could name, Kate has a natural dignity, she carries herself so well.
And in contrast, it was the old hand, Prince William, who looked the more nervous of the pair.
In the Abbey, he seemed distracted; there were moments when he was almost fraught. As his bride approached, William’s gaze was fixed straight ahead; he hardly dared to turn around. And when he finally did, his appearance was an interesting mix of both his mother and father; his head lowered in that bashful Diana way — while it has become apparent that the older he gets, the more the Windsor strain lays claim to his looks.
In the end, Prince William only seemed to calm himself properly when his bride glided alongside him and stood at his elbow, smiling her steady smile. ‘You look beautiful,’ he told her.
Despite being a serving RAF officer, William decided to marry in the far more glamorous scarlet tunic of the Irish Guards. Together, the couple looked young and vibrant — how sad that they have been saddled with the dull, middle-aged titles of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge instead of being known as prince and princess. They sound like a pair of downmarket pubs!
And while the ceremony and the celebrations were on a fantastical and grand scale, it still turned out to be a big day full of little magic moments; proof that love and romance will out, even when the world is watching.
Taking their vows, the couple looked deep into each other’s eyes, there was no mistaking the silent outpouring of emotion that flowed between them. Kate seemed to smirk at the ‘for richer for poorer’ line, but unlike Diana, she did not stumble over her royal groom’s long and complicated name.
There were many sweet glances between the couple, and the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge listened carefully to the words of advice dished out in the Bishop of London’s sermon. At this point, sitting at the side of the Abbey, you could see a moment when the bride allowed herself a glance around the old place in utter wonderment.
Then there was her first public curtsey to the Queen as she walked past the Royal Family. There was Princess Anne in a pair of old curtains from the downstairs lav, the Queen in acid primrose with a Liquorice Allsort on her head, Prince Philip looking almost sweet.
It was past Elton John — concertinaed into a morning suit — past Posh looking like a furious dormouse, past the diplomats and the battalions of women in fascinators that failed to fascinate.
Outside, the Prince buttoned his white gloves, put on his cap and the couple climbed into the 1902 landau. Behind them, London erupted in a glorious explosion of Abbey bells, trotting horses and wild, wild cheering.
After getting into the carriage, Kate said to Wills: ‘Well. Are you happy?’
Wills replied ‘Yes! Yes! It was a beautiful service! It really was. It was amazing! I am so proud. You are my wife.’ And as they journeyed to the Palace, there were a few moments when it almost got too much. You could see the bride trying to compose herself. She bit her lip and looked down at her lap. Nerves made her look solemn. Then William took her hand, and they took strength from each other again.
As a couple, they are very relaxed with each other. One can see, more and more, why William chose her.
Harry can lark about with nightclub babes and party girls, but it’s different for William. He comes with baggage, with a different and difficult set of rules. He has a huge weight of responsibility, his destiny is to serve. He doesn’t need a wife who wants to be in the limelight, who might be tricky. He needs someone he can depend upon and trust.
And there was something about his young bride, in her solemn radiance, which suggests that in their years together she has grasped what is expected of her. She takes it seriously.
So in many ways, Kate is the answer to the Royal Family’s prayers. She is stunning, she is regal, she has a grace and charm that cannot be faked. We know very little about her views on anything, which means that she is the perfect royal vehicle. In short, the new Kate Cambridge is amazing.
As the grey morning melted into a sunny afternoon, the nation was left with the memory of someone who was the right girl in the right dress at the right time. A real princess, in all but name. And we can’t ask for any more than that. [dailymail.co.uk]