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William & Catherine’s Wedding – Arrival of Bridal Party & Ceremony

  April 30, 2011 at 10:26 am by

View more images at the Daily Mail

Miss Catherine Middleton exited the Goring Hotel with her father, Michael Middleton, at 10:52 in a Rolls Royce Phantom VI belonging to the royal family. Photographers clamoured to get the first image of the royal bride-to-be in her wedding gown. As the bridal vehicle made its way to Westminster Abbey, royal watchers were squinting away to identify the tiara sitting underneath Miss Middleton’s veil – and also get a better glimpse of the gown.

Meanwhile, there were different cheers already coming from outside the Abbey. Philippa Middleton, the bride’s sister and maid of honour, had arrived with the bridal party. Comprised of Lady Louise Windsor, Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Grace van Cutsem, Eliza Lopes, William Lowther-Pinkington and Tom Pettifer, they made an adorable sight on the Abbey’s red-carpeted steps. The pages were wearing miniature uniforms designed “in the style “of that worn by a Foot Guards officer at the time of the Regency (the 1820s)”, while the bridesmaids wore Nicki Macfarlane ivory and white ballerina-length dresses, with a wreath of flowers in their hair. As revealed in the official statement by the Palace, the dresses are something the little girls can keep and remember forever – their names and the date of the wedding were hand-embroidered on the lining of each dress. Pippa Middleton was wearing a Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen ivory cowl-necked dress.

As the bride’s car got closer and closer, the cheering got louder and louder. And then, finally. Miss Middleton had arrived to marry her Prince. And she was one minute past schedule, but that didn’t damper any of the excitement anyone had over seeing the dress complete for the first time. Miss Middleton stepped out of the Phantom with the help of an aide, and revealed to the world her Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen wedding gown – featuring a lace appliqué long-sleeved v-neck bodice, with the same pattern carried on to the hem of the satin skirt and the train, with a Victorian-inspired bustle at the back and trademark Alexander McQueen padded hips. The tiara upon the bride’s head was the Queen’s Cartier Scroll Tiara, given to her on her 18th birthday by her mother, who received it as a gift from her husband in 1936. The train measured a modest 2.7metres, with an ivory tulle veil covering the bride’s face as she made her way into the Abbey on the arm of her beaming father.

View the image at The Daily Mail

View the image at The Daily Mail

As his bride made her way calmly, and no doubt nervously, to the altar, Prince William kept a sted-fast gaze on the podium and floral decorations in front of him. Prince Harry couldn’t help but glance over his shoulder to see his soon-to-be sister-in-law – “She looks beautiful, I can tell you that,” he whispered to his brother when he turned back around. And when Miss Middleton reached her groom, he clearly agreed, quitely telling her exactly that, before joking to Mr Middleton that this was “just a small family wedding.” Yes,  just 1,900 of our closest family and friends.

View many more images at the Daily Mail

The ceremony began with the hymn Guide me, O Thou Great Redeemer, a well-known Welsh anthem. Both the Dean and the Archbishop spoke before the Archbishop solemnized the couple’s marriage – both William and Catherine pledging “to love and to cherish” each other, before Prince William struggled to get his bride’s Welsh gold wedding band on her finger – something many a groom can empathise with! Prayers, hymns and a reading by James Middleton were carried out over the hour-long ceremony, before the Prince and his bride went into the Shrine of Edward the Confessor to sign their marriage license.

They emerged officially husband and wife, Duke and Duchess. The couple stopped before the Queen to bow and curtsey, before recessing down the aisle to take their leave of the Abbey.

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