The wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Kate Middleton took place on Friday, 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey in London. Prince William, second in the line of succession to Queen Elizabeth II, first met Catherine Middleton in 2001, whilst both were studying at the University of St Andrews. Their engagement on 20 [...]
The wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Kate Middleton took place on Friday, 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey in London. Prince William, second in the line of succession to Queen Elizabeth II, first met Catherine Middleton in 2001, whilst both were studying at the University of St Andrews. Their engagement on 20 October 2010 was announced on 16 November 2010. The build-up to the wedding and the occasion itself attracted much media attention, with the service being broadcast live around the world, and being compared and contrasted in many ways with the 1981 marriage of William’s parents, Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. An estimated three billion people watched the wedding across the world and 24.5 million watched the event live in the UK.
Much of the attention focused on Middleton’s status as a commoner (i.e., not of recent royal blood or a part of the aristocracy) marrying into royalty. Hours before the service, the Queen conferred the titles Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, and Baron Carrickfergus upon William. Upon her marriage, Middleton therefore became Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, but is not styled as ‘Princess Catherine’.
As William was not the heir-apparent to the throne, the wedding was not a full state occasion and many details were left to the couple themselves to decide, such as much of the the guest list of about 1,900. It was, however, a public holiday in the United Kingdom and featured many ceremonial aspects, including use of the state carriages and roles for the Foot Guards and Household Cavalry. It was attended by most of the Royal Family, as well as many foreign royals, diplomats, and the couple’s chosen personal guests.
Middleton wore a white dress with a 270-centimetre (110 in) train, by British designer Sarah Burton, as well as a tiara lent to her by the Queen. Prince William wore the uniform of his honorary rank of Colonel of the Irish Guards. William’s best man was his brother, Prince Harry, while the bride’s sister, Pippa, acted as her maid of honour. The wedding ceremony began at 11:00 am BST (UTC+1). John Robert Hall, the Dean of Westminster, conducted the service, with Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, conducting the marriage ceremony itself and Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, giving the sermon. A reading was given by the bride’s brother, James. After the ceremony, the newly married couple travelled in procession to Buckingham Palace for the traditional appearance on the balcony and a flypast before crowds assembled in The Mall. Later the Prince drove his Duchess the short distance to Clarence House in his father’s classic Aston Martin DB6 Volante, decorated by Prince Harry and James Middleton with a number plate “JU5T WED”.