LONDON - Britain's Prince William and his new bride Kate - now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - stepped onto the balcony of Buckingham Palace Friday two hours after saying their vows and gave an estimated audience of two billion people what they had all tuned in for; a royal kiss.It was a very brief kiss - so conservative a peck on the lips that many in the crowd may have missed it. They followed it with a second, equally ephemeral smooch for the cameras. (Video of the kisses)
Moments later, World War II era war planes flew over the Palace in honor of the future king's nuptials. The couple then disappeared back into the Palace, scheduled to appear next on their way to a wedding party at Clarence House in the afternoon. During the interim period, they will cut two wedding cakes at a private reception hosted by the Queen inside Buckingham Palace.
An elegant, tiara-bedecked Kate Middleton swept down the aisle earlier to marry Prince William at Westminster Abbey as fans packed the streets of London, hoping to snatch a glimpse of a historic royal wedding expected to revitalize the British monarchy.
Some 2 billion people across the globe were believed to have tuned in as the future king and queen of England started their lives as husband and wife with the two simple words "I will." The couple looked nervous but happy and recited their vows without stumbling before Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.emerged from Westminster Abbey (video) and climbed aboard an open-top, horse-drawn State Landau carriage. The sound-track to the event changed from wedding music to a fervent full-peel of the bells from within the ancient Abbey's tower, as the pair was pulled away to wave to supporters lining the roads.
Throngs cheered the couple and waved British flags along the entire route, until the carriage disappeared within the walls of Buckingham Palace.Upon her arrival, the Queen herself expressed approval of her grandson's wedding, dubbing the ceremony "amazing," according to the BBC.
A million well-wishers as well as some protesters flooded into the areas surrounding Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and other London landmarks. Crowds were up at dawn waving flags for television cameras under steely gray skies and cool temperatures. Cheers erupted as huge television screens began broadcasting at Trafalgar Square and Hyde Park.
"Will, it's not too late!" said one sign held aloft by an admirer dressed as a bride.
Middleton'swith lace applique was designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, while her hair was half-up, half-down and decorated with a tiara. William wore the scarlet tunic of an Irish Guards officer, sending a strong signal of support for the armed forces and reinforcing his new image as a dedicated military man.
Against all odds, the sun came out as Middleton emerged from the Rolls-Royce in her wedding gown.
William and Kate received their first royal wedding present from the queen on Friday: the titles duke and duchess of Cambridge (video). Kate's full title will be Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, or Princess William of Wales - she will not be referred to as Princess Catherine.
Maid of honor Pippa Middleton wore a simple column dress and naturally styled hair, while best man Prince Harry was dressed in formal military attire. The flower girls, in cream dresses with full skirts and flowers in their hair, walked down hand-in-hand with Pippa.
The iconic abbey was airy and calm, the long aisle leading to the altar lined with maple and hornbeam trees as light streamed in through the high arched windows.
Plumage of Amazonian variety filled the cavernous abbey as some 1,900 guests filed in, the vast majority of women in hats, some a full two feet across or high. Some looked like dinner plates. One woman wore a bright red fascinator that resembled a flame licking her cheek. A BBC commentator noted there were some "very odd choices" in fashion walking through the abbey door.
Most men, however, looked elegant and suave in long tails, some highlighted by formal plaid pants and vests. Others wore military uniforms.
All the clamoring over every detail the wedding dress, her hair, their titles, the romantic kiss on the balcony, the honeymoon was finally being answered. But the biggest question won't be resolved for years: Will this royal couple live happily ever after?
Will their union endure like that of William's grandparents Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, now in its 64th year or crumble in a spectacular and mortifying fashion like that of his own parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana?
Recent history augurs badly: The first marriages of three of the queen's four children ended in divorce. But William and Kate seem to glow with happiness in each other's company, and unlike Charles and Diana they've had eight years to figure out that they want to be together.