They finally met as students at St Andrews University and dated for eight years, splitting up briefly in 2007. Then in October 2010, on holiday in Kenya, they became engaged.
William had brought with him in his rucksack his mother’s engagement ring. His girlfriend was ‘Waity Katie’ no more. When the date for the wedding was set, William told his team he wanted the day to be ‘as enjoyable as possible, for as many people as possible’.
Magic moments: The first kiss on the balcony. Legend has it that, when she was at school, young Kate Middleton had a picture of Prince William on her dormitory wall
Friday, April 29, 2011
Catherine Elizabeth Middleton is waking up in her £5,000-a-night suite in the exclusive Goring Hotel, close to Buckingham Palace. This is her last day as a commoner. The Middletons have booked all of the Goring’s 69 rooms for family and friends.
The wedding cost is being split between the Queen, Prince Charles and the Middletons. Policing is being paid for by the taxpayer. There is speculation that the wedding has cost the Middleton family alone £250,000.
Thousands of people from all over the world are standing on the processional route between the Palace and Westminster Abbey. Some have slept overnight in nearby parks. So far, the rain that was forecast has held off. Despite the early hour, well-wishers are loudly singing Rule Britannia and drinking champagne.
There are 5,000 police and troops on duty; in the days before the wedding, the Met has rounded up scores of potential troublemakers, including a group of anarchists who had planned to behead effigies of the Royal Family with a mock guillotine.
Maid of Honour Pippa helps her sister to the Abbey at the Royal Wedding of Prince William of Wales to Kate Middleton on April 29, 201
The Government has declared today a public holiday, and thousands of street parties are being set up nationwide. Some pubs are selling ‘Kiss Me Kate’ ale and ‘Fashionably Kate’ cocktails.
Not all employers have given their workforce the day off. Brendan Barber, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, says: ‘A significant minority of tight-fisted companies have decided to ignore the national mood. They are insisting on keeping staff chained to their desks while everyone else is enjoying the Bank Holiday.’
Tesco has said that its staff who work today will be given up to triple pay.
Princes William and Harry have spent the night at Clarence House. William hasn’t had much sleep because of the noise outside. The previous evening, the brothers popped out to talk to the crowds on the Mall; William gave his police detail just five minutes’ warning of their impromptu walkabout.
To one family member, William admitted that he was ‘terrified of fluffing his lines’. He asked another: ‘Will you wave? I’ll wave back.’
William and Kate have said to the public, friends and family that instead of wedding presents, they would like a donation made to one of 26 small charities. More than £1 million has already been raised so far.
WhilE her brother James is having breakfast at Clarence House with William and Harry, Kate is in her bedroom at the Goring Hotel, having her hair done by the stylist Richard Ward. She tells him his only job is to ensure that ‘by the time I get to the altar, William must be able to recognise me!’
It will take three hours to get her hair properly styled. Ward later describes today as ‘the hair gig of the century’.
The crowd of thousands of people waving British flags as they wait for Britain’s Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, to appear at the balcony of Buckingham Palace
The doors of Westminster Abbey are opened for the congregation to take their places. The first guest list drawn up by the Lord Chamberlain had 777 names on it, mostly dignitaries and officials of whom William and Kate had never heard. William recalled: ‘They said: ‘These are the people we should invite.’ I looked at it in absolute horror and said: ‘I think we should start again.’ ‘
William rang the Queen for advice: ‘I asked ‘Do we need to be doing this?’ and she said ‘No. Start with your friends first and go from there.’ She made the point that there are certain times when you have to strike the right balance.’
In fact, William and the Queen have either met in person or spoken on the phone (sometimes on the monarch’s mobile) every day in the run-up to the wedding.
Among the guests arriving at the Abbey, alongside celebrities such as Elton John and Rowan Atkinson, are people from Kate’s home village of Bucklebury, including the butcher, the pub landlord and the postman.
David Beckham arrives with his pregnant wife Victoria. The footballer is wearing his OBE on the wrong side of his Ralph Lauren morning suit (it should be worn on the left).
London Mayor Boris Johnson arrives in wedding tails that he claims he has hired from the High Street store Moss Bros. His wife Marina Wheeler, who is half-Indian, is wearing a traditional shalwar kameez.
More than a million people are now on the streets of Central London, and in some places the pavements are 20 deep. William and Harry arrive at the Abbey, having paused briefly at the Cenotaph to pay their respects to their fallen comrades.
The groom is in the uniform of a Colonel of the Irish Guards and his best man in the uniform of a captain of the Blues and Royals. Harry’s uniform has a pocket specially sewn into it for the ring.
William had wanted to choose what he wore on his wedding day, but the Queen insisted he should marry in his Irish Guards uniform. ‘You don’t always get what you want [with the Queen], put it that way!’ he later joked.
However, that day his grandmother has made him His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus.
The princes make their way down the aisle and towards the Chapel of St Edmund, where traditionally the groom waits for his bride to arrive.
Kate’s mother Carole steps out of a limousine with her son James. She is under particular scrutiny. The granddaughter of a miner, she once worked as ground staff for British Airways and has had many months of jibes about her humble beginnings. Carole is wearing a pale blue crêpe coatdress by one of Princess Diana’s favourite designers, Catherine Walker.
Carole’s brother Gary, the family black sheep, who lives in a house in Spain called ‘La Maison de Bang Bang’, slips into the Abbey unobserved by the television cameras.
Eagle-eyed TV viewers spot that David Beckham is now wearing his OBE on the correct side of his jacket.
Next to arrive are Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. All eyes are on Beatrice’s flamboyant tall, pale pink Philip Treacy hat. ‘Is that an octopus on her head, or a pair of antlers?’ asked the Daily Mail the next day.
In May 2011, Beatrice sells the hat for £80,000 and gives the money to charity.
Fashion parade: Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice at the Royal Wedding in 2011
Kate emerges from the Goring Hotel and gets into a Rolls-Royce. The world has a brief glimpse of the wedding dress, designed by Sarah Burton of the fashion house Alexander McQueen.
It is made of satin and lace, with a 9ft train and a veil of ivory silk tulle, held in place by a tiara loaned to Kate by the Queen. On the dress are embroidered the national emblems of the rose, the thistle, the daffodil and the shamrock. Kate’s bouquet contains Sweet William, lily of the valley, ivy and a stem from a myrtle planted by Queen Victoria in 1845.
Michael Middleton gets into the car after his daughter and carefully arranges the train.
In a marquee in Bucklebury, a crowd is watching the TV coverage on a big screen. A woman says: ‘Oh my God! Oh my God! Look at her! She’s so slim and beautiful, she’s like a princess!’
‘She is a princess, you idiot,’ someone else in the throng replies.
Pippa Middleton, Maid of Honour, the bridesmaids and page boys get out of their car by the West Door of the Abbey. The bridesmaids are all wearing ballerina-length white frocks with pale gold silk sashes, tied at the back with a bow. The pageboys, dressed in the Regency-style red tunic of a Foot Guards officer, echo William’s Irish Guards attire. Pippa is wearing a slim ivory dress, also designed by Sarah Burton. Her bottom immediately inspires tribute sites on Facebook.
A minute late, the bride arrives at Westminster Abbey. Pippa helps her sister out of the car and takes hold of the train. A relaxed Kate waves to the crowd and then takes her father’s hand. Michael Middleton is looking distinctly nervous.
As Parry’s Coronation Anthem ‘I Was Glad’ plays, the bride walks down the aisle between a ‘living avenue’ of eight 25ft-high trees: six field maples and two hornbeams. The maples are chosen because they symbolise humility and the hornbeams resilience. They will later be replanted at Prince Charles’s holiday house in Wales.
The Abbey is also decorated with almost 30,000 flowers. Harry turns and looks back down the aisle, then whispers something into his brother’s ear and they both laugh. Harry had said to the Press a few days ago, ‘It’s great that she’s now becoming part of the family. I always wished for a sister and now I have one.’
Kate reaches William’s side. ‘You look beautiful, babe,’ he says, then leans over to joke to his soon-to-be father-in-law: ‘Just a small family affair . . .’
The crowds outside the Abbey sing along to the hymns, which are William and Kate’s favourites. The service is led by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and as he says ‘Catherine Elizabeth, wilt thou have this man to be thy wedded husband, to live together according to God’s law in the holy estate of Matrimony?’ Kate looks nervous for the first time.
William pushes a band of Welsh gold on to Kate’s finger. On her other hand, Kate is wearing Princess Diana’s diamond and sapphire engagement ring. William said he chose his mother’s ring ‘because obviously she’s not going to be around to share any of the fun and excitement . . . this was my way of keeping her sort of close to it all’.
When the Archbishop says: ‘I pronounce that they be man and wife together’, the congregation can hear the crowd outside roar. An estimated 2.4 billion are now watching the service around the world on television.
Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, turns to William and Kate and starts his sermon with a quote from St Catherine of Siena, whose feast day is today: ‘ ‘Be who God meant you to be and you’ll set the world on fire.’ Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be — their deepest and truest selves.’
He ends his sermon by saying: ‘I pray that all of us present, and the many millions watching this ceremony and sharing your joy today, will do everything in our power to support and uphold you in your new life.’ Fourteen years earlier, on the night before Princess Diana’s funeral, the bishop had kept a vigil by her coffin at Kensington Palace.
The service ended, the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge emerge through the West Door. The crowd cheer and the Abbey bells ring. The couple climb into the 1902 State Landau for the journey to Buckingham Palace, the same carriage Charles and Diana used 30 years before. The Queen turns to the Duke of Edinburgh and says: ‘Well, that was excellent, wasn’t it?’
The Beckhams attending the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in April 2011
As the carriage turns into the Mall, the sun comes out for the first time. Kate says to William: ‘Now are you happy?’
‘Yes! It was a beautiful service. It really was. It was amazing. I’m so proud you’re my wife!’
As they pass the Cenotaph, William salutes the memorial and Kate bows her head. When the couple reach Buckingham Palace, demand for electricity suddenly surges by 2,400 megawatts — the power needed to boil nearly a million kettles. It is the fourth highest power surge of all time, behind the increase that followed England’s semi-final penalty shootout defeat by West Germany in the 1990 World Cup, England’s 2002 World Cup semi-final against Brazil and a 1983 episode of The Thorn Birds.
The guests at Westminster Abbey have now gone and the staff are beginning to clear up. Ben Sheward, a verger at the Abbey, runs back into the building and cartwheels down the nave between the trees. ITV cameras capture this spontaneous display and beam the pictures around the world; Ben becomes an instant international celebrity.
A Westminster Abbey spokesman says: ‘The verger, like all of us, was very pleased the service had gone according to plan, and was expressing his exuberance.’
In the Buckingham Palace Throne Room, the official photographs are being taken by society photographer Hugo Burnand; he has been preparing for three days. His team of six includes his mother Ursy, also a photographer, who is keeping the bridesmaids and page boys happy with bowls of jelly beans.
Hugo Burnand later says: ‘We were very prepared and had done a second-by-second stopwatch dress rehearsal of the entire day. Not only did we have spare parts for every piece of equipment, we also had spares for the spares, so come the day we were more excited than fearful. The atmosphere among our team was more along the lines of ‘Bring it on!’ ‘ His pictures will be edited in the Throne Room and released to the world within hours.
The balcony doors open and William and Kate step forward. ‘Wow!’ Kate exclaims when she sees the crowd below them. Then they are joined by the rest of the Royal Family, the Middletons and the bridesmaids and pageboys. Tens of thousands of people are chanting for the newlyweds to kiss.
William looks at Kate and says: ‘OK? Look at me — let’s do it.’
After they have kissed, he shouts over to his brother, who is standing next to sister of the bride and Maid of Honour Pippa Middleton: ‘Harry! Your go!’ Then William kisses Kate once more.
Meanwhile, three-year-old bridesmaid Grace van Cutsem, William’s goddaughter, covers her ears because of the din of the crowd. The noise only gets louder, though, as the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and then RAF Tornados and Typhoons roar overheard.
William and Kate are having a luncheon reception for 600 people at Buckingham Palace, all of whom had been at the wedding service. An astonishing 10,000 canapes are served during the two-hour occasion, prepared by the Palace’s 21-strong team of kitchen staff. Now she is a duchess, Kate is having to get used to the Palace policemen saluting her, and servants curtseying or bowing their heads.
Around the country, more than 5,500 celebratory street parties are getting under way.
The brothers in the Abbey. William and Harry arrived at the Abbey, having paused briefly at the Cenotaph to pay their respects to their fallen comrades
Prince Charles is making a speech and saying of his new daughter-in-law: ‘We are lucky to have her.’ He recalls William as a teenager playing music loudly in his bedroom for hours on end and his two-fingered response to advice not to slouch.
William then makes a speech praising his new wife and thanking his grandmother for hosting the reception.
The couple cut the eight-tiered wedding cake, which is made from 17 different cakes; it took pastry chef Fiona Cairns and her team two and half days to assemble and a Palace door had to be removed in order to get it safely inside.
‘I hear you’ve been dismantling my house,’ the Queen says to Fiona.
In 2013, the top tier of the wedding cake will be served at Prince George’s christening.
The reception ends and the guests are ushered into the gardens at the rear of the Palace, where the Prince of Wales’s dark blue open-topped Aston Martin Volante is waiting. The car, which the eco-conscious Prince Charles has adapted to run on wine, has been decorated by Prince Harry with balloons and ribbons and a ‘JU5T WED’ number plate.
Kate and her wedding dress with its 9ft train squeeze into the passenger seat and William drives through the delighted crowds the short distance to Clarence House.
A yellow RAF Sea King helicopter flies overhead and dips in salute to the couple. Flight Lieutenant Wales is a fully qualified search and rescue pilot at RAF Valley, on Anglesey.
In Clarence House, Kate and William are taking advantage of a break in the celebrations to relax and watch a replay of their wedding ceremony on television.
At the ballroom in Buckingham Palace, a party is starting for 300 close friends and family. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have stayed away to help keep the evening informal. Kate has changed into a floor-length white satin gown, William into black tie.
The guests are being served Welsh seafood, followed by lamb from Prince Charles’s farm at Highgrove and a trio of puddings. Later in the evening, two vans in the Palace quadrangle will serve bacon butties and ice cream to the assembled revellers.
The party is hosted by Prince Charles but Prince Harry, seated next to his on-off girlfriend Chelsy Davy, is the master of ceremonies. Without notes, Harry speaks movingly about their mother, then teases William ‘The Dude’ about his receding hairline and how he used to beat Harry up and fire air rifles at him.
Harry says he loves Kate, ‘The Duchess’, like a sister. Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, whose son Billy was a pageboy, later says Harry was ‘absolutely brilliant, cryingly funny, and held everybody and built everybody up with his speech but still made everybody howl with laughter’. Singer Ellie Goulding and her band are providing the entertainment. Their opening number for William and Kate’s first dance is Elton John’s 1970 hit Your Song.
A DJ finishes his set with the Beatles’ She Loves You and Kate and William get into his cousin David Linley’s open-top yellow Fiat 500.
As a chauffeur drives them around the block and back to Buckingham Palace, the couple stand up and wave to their guests. Their wedding night will be spent in the Palace’s Belgian Suite, where the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh lived in the early part of her reign.
Off in Dad’s Aston. Instead of going on honeymoon, William goes straight back to work for RAF Search And Rescue at Valley
Harry, wearing a black dinner jacket and white dress shirt with three buttons undone, emerges from Buckingham Palace to lead party-goers on to the second venue of the night — the nearby Goring Hotel.
William and Harry hadn’t wanted their friends to speak to the Press as they left the Palace, so they have laid on three coaches to ferry them discreetly to the Goring, where butlers in bowler hats welcome them.
Instead of going on honeymoon, William goes straight back to work for RAF Search And Rescue at Valley.
The hotel the couple had originally wanted in the Seychelles was fully booked and William and Kate were not prepared to ask the mnagement to make room for them and cancel other people’s bookings. ‘There’s no way that we’re going to do that. It could be their honeymoon,’ says William.