LONDON — The streets of central London were abuzz today as Prince William married Kate Middleton in front of an expected global audience of 2 billion people.
After exchanging vows in Westminster Abbey, the same church where Princess Diana’s eulogy was held in 1997, it marked the 20th royal wedding to take place in the venue in the last century.
The Queen announced today that the couple would receive the titles of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The royal couple greeted crowds of thousands as they rode down the mile-long wedding route from the church to Buckingham Palace.
When proceedings for the ceremony began and guests started to arrive at 8.15 a.m. local time, the weather in Blighty’s capital was overcast and chilly.
But the sun began to shine for the young couple as they approached the Palace in an open-topped carriage 1902 State Landau, the same used by Prince William’s parents Prince Charles and Diana at their wedding in 1981.
An estimated crowd of one million people cheered and greeted the couple along the procession route, waving Union Jacks and celebrating the royals.
Thousands of people from across the globe camped out overnight along the procession route, which goes from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace, in order to take part in the big day.
Even Clapham Common, a large park in South London, was turned into a three-day campsite equipped for 10,000 people in order to relieve the pressure off of London’s already overcrowded hotels.
About two square miles of central London have been closed to traffic.
An estimated 3,000 reporters descended upon the Blighty capital to report on the big day — the BBC began its coverage of the event at 5.00 a.m. local time.
Scotland Yard, London’s police force, had 5,000 officers on duty with more than 900 along the wedding route.
More than 1,500 soldiers, sailors and air crew were also on duty to line the couple’s procession route from the Abbey to Buckingham Palace.
Wedding guests filtered into the Abbey over the course of a few hours this morning with some holding on tightly to their fascinators and hats as the wind continued to blow across the city.
The anticipation about Middleton’s dress was quashed when she stepped out in front of Westminster Abbey in a dress from the fashion house of the late Brit designer Alexander McQueen.
The elite guest list at the ceremony included top names from the political, religious and entertainment worlds, including Brit Prime Minister David Cameron, London mayor Boris Johnson, David and Victoria Beckham, Elton John and Brit helmer Guy Ritchie.
Although Blighty has become less and less of a royalist country since the last major royal union in 1981 between Charles and Diana, crowds were for the most part exceedingly proud of the attention it has brought to the small island.
One bystander remarked, “It’s a day that the nation comes together and while we’re predominately not royalists anymore, it’s the shot in the arm that we need as a country. Today is about the celebration of Britishness in the best possible way.”
Today has been declared a national holiday in all of Blighty and many are looking forward to a long weekend.
However, for film bizzers in the country, it’s proven to be a bit of a hassle with the Cannes Film Festival less than two weeks away.
After last weekend’s long Easter weekend and thus less working days in the calendar in the run up to the fest, many bizzers are sweating to get their Cannes plans together in time.