All eyes were on Prince William and Catherine (Kate) Middleton as they married in Westminster Abbey today. Not just a nation but the whole world watched in excitement. We wanted to share the whole ceremony with them and the public have never before had closer access to a Royal couple on their wedding day, thanks to modern technology.
The whole look and feel of the day was modern and fresh, yet it had all the pomp, ceremony and military dress we expect from any Royal Wedding. So let’s have a look back at the special occasion, the like of which we will probably not see again for a very long time. There were so many cute moments and interesting details we got to share that made Prince William and Princess Catherine’s wedding seem almost like a family occasion for us all. Something I didn’t know, for instance, was that William and Kate are actually 15th cousins. But then, if you go that far back, we are probably all 15th cousins!
I don’t think Westminster Abbey has ever looked more beautiful than it did today for the Royal Wedding. The nave was transformed into an avenue of trees. In the Victorian language of flowers, the maples signified humility and modesty and the two hornbeam by high altar signified enduring love and fidelity. Several treasures at abbey adorned the altar and the usual tapestries were moved to reveal a beautiful mosaic.
All the state coaches were in use to transport the important wedding guests: the Queen and Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Camilla, and Prince William and Harry to the wedding. They were all smiles and waves on the way. Most of the other guests were transported by Mercedes minibuses.
Catherine Middleton and her father arrived in a maroon Rolls Royce, so we had to wait until Catherine arrived at the abbey to get a proper glimpse of her wedding dress. It was well worth the wait – more about her dress. A red carpet covered the Abbey’s nave, all except for the black marbled tomb of the unknown warrior surrounded by poppies.
In the Abbey, we saw clearly the affection between brothers William and Harry. There were many smiles and chuckles and even some smoothing down of hair. Upon the Queen’s arrival, Prince Charles kissed her cheek and she appeared to kiss him. Prince Philip kissed Camilla! Everyone seemed relaxed and friendly.
Kate Middleton wore a beautiful Sarah Burton wedding gown. It was low cut, in white, with sheer lace sleeves. Her make-up was fresh and natural as we saw when she lifted the simple veil back over her borrowed tiara. The 2 metres 17 of train was short by royal standards but perfectly proportioned to the dress and Kate’s figure, enough to cover 4 steps down from the altar.
Kate and her father processed in to “I was Glad” and the cameras were close enough to pick up the spontaneously affectionate looks and words between William and Kate as she reached him at the altar and raised her veil.
There were three hymns, including “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeeemer” and the patriotic “Jerusalem”.
Their vows were taken on velvet kneelers during which they shared some sweet smiles and a cute struggle to get the wedding ring over Kate’s knuckle. All worked out well and then they were off back to their chairs to sing “Love Divine, All Love’s Excelling.” The happy couple sang heartily but also looked around, picking out faces in the congregation and smiling. A special song, “This is the Day” was composed by John Rutter for the ceremony and was sung by choristers.
My favorite moment came as the Bishop of London reminded the couple of the promises they had made. They giggled together like a couple very much in love.
The music then got stirring rather than romantic and we were reminded this was pretty much a state occasion. The strains of “Jerusalem” and “God Save the Queen” rang out around the Abbey before the registers were signed: 3 registers for a royal wedding.
The married couple made their way back down the aisle (an approximately 4 minute walk!) to a trumpet fanfare. The bells of the Abbey are to ring out for three hours following the wedding ceremony. The sun was out too as they emerged onto the pavement to get into a horse drawn landau with mounted Captain’s guard for the trip back to Buckingham Palace.
Prince Harry’s wonderfully boyish sense of humor was evident too when he traveled back in an open carriage with the bridesmaids and page boys, encouraging them to give lots of smiles and waves to the crowd.
Touching moments on the way were when Prince William saluted when passing the cenotaph and also when passing the Household Cavalry guard. William will have won a lot of affectionate respect for the way he is obviously a modern man yet fully mindful of his royal responsibilities and his duty to uphold British tradition. In Princess Catherine, he appears to have a bride ready to stand by his side and support him very ably indeed.