LONDON (AP) – With not one but two kisses and tender whispered words, Prince William and Kate Middleton smiled and blushed yesterday as they started their life as future king and queen.
A day of seamless pageantry inspired hopes that this royal couple might live happily ever after.
They appeared at ease throughout their wedding day, with William fighting back giggles at times, while Kate’s smile lit up television screens, especially when her new husband leaned over to say, “You look beautiful.”
Their intimacy stood in sharp contrast to the lack of chemistry between a wooden Prince Charles and Diana Spencer 30 years ago when they began a marriage that ultimately collapsed in embarrassing tabloid headlines and turned many Britons against the monarchy.
A million people lined the procession route from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace, many crying with joy.
Cheers went up as the couple exchanged the traditional kiss on the balcony, followed by chants of “One more kiss!” The couple waved and smiled and, to a frenzy of delight, obliged.
An estimated two billion people tuned into the live broadcast in what may have been the most-viewed event in history.
The security operation was the largest since Charles and Diana’s 1981 wedding, and the day went off without a hitch.
Police dispersed scattered protests from anti-monarchists and anarchists and arrested 55 people for offences including drunkenness, breach of peace, and theft, but the mood was overwhelmingly celebratory.
Many praised the couple’s rare combination of humility, humour and grace.
Kate was a commoner from a wealthy but middle-class family who actually worked for a living after university; William has long had his mother’s touch in connecting to the public and surprised fans who slept on the pavement overnight by personally thanking them Thursday for braving the cold.
The 28-year-old prince even displayed a quality almost never seen among royalty: humour.
Surveying the 1,900 guests filling the abbey in their wedding finery, he turned to his father-in-law, Michael Middleton, and quipped: “We’re supposed to have just a small family affair.”
Then after a reception at Buckingham Palace, he took his new wife for a spin, driving a dark-blue Aston Martin Volante festooned with ribbons, bows and balloons — and a licence plate that read “JUST WED.”
It was the kind of display that made some wonder whether the couple just might bring the British monarchy back from the abyss.
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