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Just Married


Finally, the moment has come. Prince William and Kate Middleton have just got married in a glittery ceremony attended by 1,900 guests at Westminster Abbey, London, England. Thousands of people lined up on the processional route to greet and cheer the couple and other members of the royal family as they traveled in state cars and horse-drawn carriages.
The Church was transformed into a lush forest during the ceremony
The newlywed, now styled as The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, after the ceremony
Waving before the well-wishers on the balcony of Buckingham Palace 
The bride wore a v-neck styled laced wedding dress in ivory duchess satin cloth designed by Sarah Burton of the Alexander Mcqueen fashion house. Prince William donned a crimson Irish guard military regalia with a Garter sash (he is a Knight of the Garter)

Despite the haggard-looking bride (her disturbing eyebags and fine lines, despite being just 29, were prominent during her big day), as if she had been battered with wedding anxieties too heavily, everything was a picture of fairytale. The spectacular royal procession was highlighted with the pomp and pageantry of ancient royal tradition and medieval ritual of horse-drawn carriages, prancing horses led by the Household Cavalry officers, the Welsh guards and the trumpeters and several military personnel in their military regalia, a kind of entertainment only royalty can give. Royal weddings, as what Kitty Kelly described in her book, "The Royals" (1997 edition), invigorate the monarchy. It offers a different exhibition of charm and mysticism mixed with riveting extravaganza and spectacles, and as what the late English poet, Noel Coward said, "It is where they (the royals) do best".

BEFORE THE CEREMONY

At 10:15 (London time) the car, Bentley (from the Royal Mews), which would carry Prince William and Prince Harry to the church, emerges from the Clarence House (official London residence of the Prince of Wales, Charles, William's father).  The groom looked quite relax and at ease while waving to the crowd, he was dressed in a crimson military uniform of Irish guards. Prince Harry also donned his army uniform decorated with several military honors in his right chest, he looked so handsome and cute (compared to William), Harry now outranked his brother in the military because he just promoted lately with a rank of a Captain in the Army Air Corps. 
The Waleses brothers, who grew up very close to each other, Prince Harry and Prince William upon their arrival at the Abbey

They were welcomed by the Dean of Westminster upon their arrival at the church. They walked to the center aisle and stopped at the area where the Spencer family seated, Prince William hugged and kissed his maternal aunts, Lady Sarah and Lady Jane (sisters of Diana) and Prince Harry talked to his uncle, the 9th Earl of Spencer. Then they went inside the small church beside the altar and remained there until the bride took her long walk.

Later on, the convoy of the royal family members arrived followed by the car of the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, with his two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. I felt aghast upon seeing the bride’s mother, Carole Middleton, who was so common and less than fascinating in her pale blue ensemble--wool crepe coat dress with satin piping--,  it seemed she did not give justice to the beautiful creation of Catherine Walker House of Fashion, her elegantly-made Jane Corbett hat did not help enhance her appearance. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived ahead of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, they traveled in a 1950 model of Rolls Royce car. 

The last to arrive before the bride were Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. The Queen looked so charming even at the age of 85. The Duke of Edinburgh wore his Irish guard uniform same that of Prince William. The trumpeters from the House Hold of Cavalry blared their trumpets at the Abbey as soon as the Queen arrived. In my own opinion, the Queen, who wore an Angela Kelly primrose dress, and the Duchess of Cornwall in an Anne Valentine creation of blue silk dress and hand-embroidered coat, are more stunning than the mother of the bride.
The bride, who seemed did not sleep for ages, while riding a carriage after the ceremony at Westminster

Kate Middleton and her father, Michael Middleton, rode in a state-car from the Royal Mews, Rolls Royce Phantom VI, which was ridden by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in February this year when it was badly damaged by the demonstrators in London. The moment she arrived,  Pippa Middleton, her Maid of Honor, the little bride’s maids and pageboys formed a line at her back to arrange her 10 foot train. I admired the relax and dignified composure of Mr. Middleton, he was full of self-assurance and protection for his daughter on her special day.

THE DRESS/BOUQUET
For several months, Kate's gown spurred an intense speculation from the media, several designers were named but none of them confirmed who got the commission to design the dress until the day of the wedding. It was revealed that, indeed, Sarah Burton from the fashion house of Alexander McQueen (the designer who committed suicide last year). The gown (strikingly similar to the one wore by Grace Kelly when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956) is an ivory duchess satin with delicate lace applique' along the bodice and sleeve with floral detailing and a 2.7 metre train. The skirt was handmade from the royal school of needlework at Hampton Court. Pippa Middleton's dress too and the little bride's maids were created by Sarah Burton. 
The flowing ivory satin gown with delicate lace along its bodice and sleeve strikingly similar to the dress worn by Hollywood actress, Grace, when she became the bride of Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956. It is a high-waisted, full-skirted silhouette with some touches to the gown worn by the Queen when she wed the Duke of Edinburgh in 1947 at the Abbey also.
Wearing a strapless white gown and fur coat during the evening reception also a creation of Sarah Burton

The gown looked stunning and gorgeous, very classic, but it didn't compliment the appeal of Miss Middleton, she looked so mature and worn-out as if she lacked sleep and under stress, far from the concept of a glowing and gorgeous fairytale bride. I'm sorry but I am just honest with my observation, maybe it has something to do with her hair, it was more elegant and neat if she held her hair in a bun with the tiara to emphasize the delicate lace bodies and sleeve and to focus more on the beautiful cut of the gown. But the dress itself is so fabulous and extraordinary. She wore a sparkling diamond Cartier tiara lent by the Queen just the ceremony. Her bouquet is just so simple--assorted flowers of myrtle, lily of the valley, hyacinth, and sweet William blooms--a grand departure from the cascading bouquet designs usually carried by previous European royal brides.  The bouquet was brought back to the Abbey after the reception and laid on the Tomb of Unknown Soldier. Kate's earrings--a pair of diamond-set oak leaves and acorn designs---were gift from her parents. During the evening reception, she wore a strapless white gown topped with a white sleeve also created by Sarah Burton.

THE CEREMONY
The ceremony started promptly as soon as the bride and her father arrived at 11:00 0'clock in the morning. William and Harry came out from the small chapel and stood on the steps of the altar to wait for the bride. The marriage vow was officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams while the service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the very reverend Dr. John Hall. The homily was delivered by the Bishop of London, Dr. Richard Chartres. Contrary to the public's speculation of the couple's self-made vow, Prince William and Kate recited the traditional vows, already uttered by million couples. As expected, the bride did not promise to "obey" Prince William but to "love, comfort and cherish" him. There was only one wedding ring--for the bride only--made from a lump of Welsh gold owned by the royal family. Prince William already made it clear he won't wear a wedding ring, just like his grandfather, Prince Philip.
On the way to the altar with father Michael Middleton
The bride's sister, Philippa Middleton guiding the little bride's maids and page boys in the ceremony
During the church's ceremony. Prince Harry, Prince William, Kate Middleton and her father, Michael Middleton. The Queen is standing behind them.
Pledging to offer his "wordly goods" to his bride by fitting the ring on her finger
Catherine looked so tired and bothered
Occupying the side way of the altar after the marriage vow

Westminster Abbey, one of the most important and significant churches in Britain where English sovereigns had been crowned for the past 600 years, was transformed into a lush forest by the wedding florists, including pyramid-shaped ornamental Hornbeams and 20-foot tall English Field Maples taken from the countryside garden, the grand forest recreation of the church alone costs more than $80,000.

ROYAL PROCESSION AND PROTOCOL
After the ceremony, the couple left the church and traveled in a 1902 State Landau carriage (with two senior footmen) for Buckingham Palace. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh traveled in a separate semi-state carriage while the couple's parents rode in an Australian state couch. 
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge traveling in a State Landau from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace
With them are two senior footmen, who traditionally rode with the royals in a carriage, and senior honor guards from the Household of the Cavalry military division
William's grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh

When it comes to timetable, schedule and sequence of events planning, code of conduct and even formality on the occasion, royalty has a different protocol. Even the mere arrival and departure of personalities has its own time and sequence. This very strict procedure, and often rigid decorum of the royalty, is tediously prepared and refined by Palace courtiers, organized and coordinated with various department of the Royal Household. 

FLYPAST PRESENTATION
At 1:25 pm, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their families, appeared at the balcony of Buckingham Palace to acknowledge the well-wishers and view the flypast presentation of the Royal Air Force. I saw Prince Philip (one of my favorite royal members), cracked a joke to his grandson, Prince Harry, and Pippa Middleton while waiting for the presentation of RAF pilots. The newlyweds kissed twice at the balcony.

The "public kiss" on the balcony of the Palace
Maid of Honor, Pippa Middleton, and Best Man, Prince Harry
Flypast presentation of the Royal Air Force pilot above Buckingham Palace

RECEPTION
There were two receptions for the wedding. First, the traditional Wedding Breakfast (a term used by the royal family when referring to a wedding reception never mind if it happens past 12:00 noon) at 1:00 pm hosted by the Queen at the state dining room of the Palace, second, a private dinner at 6:00 pm hosted by the Prince of Wales, also at Buckingham Palace. Among the 1,900 wedding guests, only 650 were invited for the wedding breakfast while only 300 people for the evening reception.
The multi-tiered Wedding Fruit Cake

Chocolate Biscuit Cake especially requested by Prince William

According to several online sources, the foods served at the reception, prepared by 21 royal chefs, include the Chocolate biscuit cake from McVitie's, the individual fruit cake from the eight-tier wedding cake from Fiona Cairns, quail eggs with celery salt, Cornish crab salad with lemon blini, pressed duck terrine with fruit chutney, bubble and squeak with confit shoulder of lamb, Scottish languostines with lemon mayonnaise and pressed confit of pork belly with crayfish and crackling.

ROYAL TITLE
Prince William has been created by the Queen "The Duke of Cambridge", henceforth following the wedding, he will be known as His Royal Highness, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge (no longer Prince William of Wales), and his bride will take the title, Her Royal Highness, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge (and not Princess Catherine because her title is not related to the rank of a Princess) and will take precedence after Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

NO HONEYMOON?
Well, it seems honeymoon is not anymore applicable to them as they lived-in together even before the announcement of their engagement. Kate Middleton, who early on in their relationship, pinned down hard her heels to marry Prince William, had moved in at William's apartment in North Wales (where his barracks located) since the early part of 2010 to make sure their break-up incident in 2007 won't happen again. Following their wedding, the palace spokesman announced that the couple have chosen not to depart for a honeymoon right away. Prince William will return immediately to work as search-and-rescue operation pilot of the Royal Air Force at Anglesey, North Wales.

LESS THAN MAGNIFICENT
It was not a state wedding because Prince William is not yet the heir-apparent, hence, foreign royal members, who attended the ceremony, did not don their royal regalia (like the one they wore during the wedding of the Crown Princess of Sweden, Victoria, last June 2010). Amidst the outpouring support of the cheering crowds, lining up in the royal processional route to see the newlywed, many commentators agreed that the event did not magnify the grandeur of the wedding of William's parents in 1981, much have change for the past 30 years. The only spectacles of royalty present last Friday was the royal procession.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined by their families and young wedding attendants at St.James's Palace drawing room. Standing from left: Tom Pettifer, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince Harry, Michael Middleton, Carole Middleton, James Middleton and Pippa. Front row: Grace Van Cutsem, Elisa Lopes, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen, the Lady Louise Windsor (daughter of Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex), the Honourable Margarita Armstrong-Jones, daughter of Viscount Linley--nephew of the Queen) and William Lowther-Pinkerston.
The Couple with their little bride's maids and page boys

Kate Middleton, with all her ordinary beauty and perhaps because of her middle-class background, could not compete the glamor and beauty of Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 who was drop-dead gorgeous in David and Elizabeth Emmanuel's ivory tafetta creation, not even Grace Kelly in 1956 or Mary Donaldson when she married the Crown Prince of Denmark, Frederick, in 2004. But nevertheless, she carried her self well all through out the ceremony, she smiled and waved endlessly and very grateful to the public for their warm acceptance. Middleton was not transported in a glass couch, traditionally accorded to royal brides, on her way to the Abbey but let her use instead the Rolls Royce Phantom VI which was badly damaged several months ago when demonstrators smashed it with stones.

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