Royal Wedding: The Eyes of the World on London

By London Expert: Gavin, United Kingdom, May 2011

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“I WAS GLAD” the choir sang as Catherine Middleton entered Westminster Abbey to marry her prince – a sentiment echoed not just in Britain but around the world as 2 billion people watched the Royal Wedding. She left the Abbey to the stirring sounds of Walton’s Crown Imperial as a princess and the new Duchess of Cambridge.

Prince William wore the striking red uniform of Colonel of the Irish Guards. When he is king he will be Commander-in-Chief of all the armed forces. He arrived at Westminster Abbey and walked down the nave which was decorated with trees, echoing the magnificent gothic architecture, whilst the orchestra played Delius’s Walk to the Paradise Garden. 

All eyes were on his bride as she left the Goring Hotel and was driven to the Abbey. As Catherine stepped out of the car, her dress by London designer Sarah Barton of Alexander McQueen, was declared perfect! The wedding highlighted the talents of many British designers who combine tradition with a contemporary flair including Vivienne Westwood, Bruce Oldfield and hats by Philip Treacy. 

From inside the Abbey they could hear the huge cheer from the crowds outside as the Archbishop of Canterbury declared them “man and wife”. Did I detect a wry smile on Catherine’s face at the words “for richer or poorer”? 

The newly weds were driven to Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s official residence in London, in the 1902 State Landau carriage, accompanied by the Household Cavalry, with the entire route lined by well wishers. I was struck by the range of ages and ethnic backgrounds of those who had been waiting for many hours (some days) to catch a glimpse of the royal party. It is a reminder of what a vibrant, multi-cultural city London is with over 300 languages spoken! 

After the obligatory waving from the balcony of Buckingham Palace (and two kisses!), Prince William drove Catherine to Clarence House in his father’s Aston Martin accompanied over head by a RAF Search and Rescue helicopter, a reminder of his “day job”. Prince Harry had changed the number plates to read JU5T WED!

It was a joyous occasion that brought not only London together, but the country, with numerous street parties celebrating the day, and shared via television with the world.

I have developed a Royal Wedding Tour for those who would like to visit the sites featured and learn more about the monarchy en route.

- Gavin, London Tour Guide & Viator Local Expert

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