On the 29th of April 2011, Prince William married Catherine Elizabeth Middleton at Westminster Abbey. The pair had met almost a decade earlier when they enrolled at St Andrews University in Scotland. The small and secluded University provided William with a chance to escape the scrutiny of London and live a normal independent student life. Both William and Catherine were studying Art History, however William swapped to Geography after a term. They became friends early on and shared a house together in their second year, which is when the romance blossomed.
Their relationship became worldwide news in 2004 when Catherine was photographed with William on a ski trip. Her family endured much press attention, however dealt with it with class. Despite breaking up briefly in 2007, the couple remained close with Catherine publicly attending his Royal Air Force ceremony in which he received his flying wings. In late 2010 while on holiday in Kenya, William proposed with his mother’s engagement ring.
The following year, over 1 billion people tuned in worldwide to watch the pair say ‘I do’. It was a momentous day in history as the bride was a commoner marrying the future king. Her Majesty the Queen was in attendance along with all members of the royal family, but it was not just a family do, but a state occasion with politicians and world leaders in attendance. As well as some celebrities including Elton John and David Beckham.
A major area of anticipation was the wedding dress, and which designer would Catherine pick to make her dream gown. It was revealed the moment she stepped out the car at Westminster Abbey to have been Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. The timeless lace dress was inspired by Grace Kelly’s wedding dress fifty-five years earlier. To complete the look, she had borrowed the Cartier halo tiara from Her Majesty the Queen. Catherine’s bouquet consisted of myrtle, lily-of-the-valley, hyacinth and as a nod to her new husband, a sprig of sweet William.
Prince William’s outfit had also caused much speculation owing to which military uniform he would wear. It was customary for male members of the royal family to undertake careers in the forces, and William was a serving Royal Air Force flight lieutenant and also held the equivalent Royal Navy role and Army Captain role. Speculation had been on him wearing the blue uniform of the Air Force. However, only two months prior to the Wedding, William had been appointed colonel of the Irish guards. He opted to wear the full dress uniform for the Irish guards. The red uniform complemented very well with the bride in white and the two page boys wore regency inspired foot guard uniforms which included insignia to the Irish guards.
After the ceremony the newly wed and newly titled Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled in the 1902 State Landau carriage to Buckingham Palace where the Queen hosted a lunchtime reception. The couple along with their families made the obligatory balcony appearance to see the flypast which consisted of a Spitfire, a Hurricane and a Lancaster. An iconic moment was caught when bridesmaid Grace van Cutsem covered her ears due to the noise of planes right when William and Catherine lent in for a quick kiss.
In the afternoon, William and Catherine left Buckingham Palace down the Mall to his father’s home of Clarence House. William drove his father’s Aston Martin which had been given a new number plate for the occasion. (JU5T WED). That evening Prince Charles hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace for close family and friends of the couple. The Bride and Groom both changed outfits, Prince William into a tuxedo and Catherine into another Sarah Burton gown. Partying went on into the early hours and it has been stated the Queen did not stay at Buckingham Palace that evening!
Two days after the wedding, Catherine’s bouquet was placed on the grave of the unknown warrior, an act having been performed by all royal brides since the Queen Mother in 1923.