Singing in the streets
In the hours leading to the 11 a.m. ceremony, Britons sang in the streets and flooded public spaces.
As elaborately be-hatted guests filed into Westminster Abbey under overcast skies, celebrants lined the parade route. Ashley Hollebone, 29, arrived in London last night from the seaside town of Brighton. He slept in his car, a 1933 Austin 7 — top speed 35 miles per hour — which at 4 a.m. “feels like being in a fridge. But it’s only one night of discomfort. These have been dark, depressing times in Britain, and we’ve embraced this. They are a normal couple, go to normal shops, and I think people get behind that.”
Craig Herderman, 39, was wearing motorcycle leathers with a Union Jack flag tied around his neck like a cape, which is what he wore driving on the highway from Rochester. “The missus was not happy when I woke up at 3 a.m,” he said, but “it only happens once in a blue moon you can’t not make the effort.”
Louise Ratcliffe, 32, from Leicester, is selling Will and Kate flags, scarves, hand towels, face masks and umbrellas at a dishevelled stand next to one of the two giant TV screens in Trafalgar Square. “We can’t set up properly, people keep buying,” she says. Ratcliffe described the atmosphere as “happy, vibrant — everyone in same mindset. A nice change from the bad economy.”
The crowd erupted as Prince William and Prince Harry arrived at the abbey in a two-toned Bentley, William in the striking scarlet uniform of the Irish Guards, followed shortly thereafter by Carole Middleton, the mother of the bride, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, grandmother of the groom.
The bride, who arrived with her father in a sleek Rolls-Royce, revealed what the entire fashion industry — and royal watchers worldwide — have been waiting to see. Designed by Sarah Burton, the late Alexander McQueen’s stylistic heir at his enduring label, Catherine Middleton’s v-neck wedding dress was fitted to her trim torso, topped with lace and flowing into a perfectly proportioned long train, with pleats that flattered and didn’t slow her procession into the abbey. William kept his back to his bride, as tradition dictates, with his brother stealing glimpses at her and her father approaching up the aisle.