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Britain's Prince William kisses his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, on the balcony in Buckingham Palace, after the wedding service, on April 29, 2011, in London. (Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)
Britain's Prince William kisses his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, on the balcony in Buckingham Palace, after the wedding service, on April 29, 2011, in London. (Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

A royal fairy tale: Brits rejoice as William and Kate marry Add to ...

Joyous crowds cheered and gaped in awe as beaming newlyweds Prince William and Kate Middleton rode through London in a fairytale horse-drawn carriage and kissed on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

They then delivered two - not one - sweet, self-conscious kisses on the balcony, with William blushing deeply at the highly anticipated event. Within moments, a flyby of vintage and modern Royal Air Force planes roared overhead, not quite drowning out the roar of approval from the crowd.

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Hundreds of thousands of royal fans from all walks of life and from across the planet descended on London on Friday to witness the most talked about British wedding in years.

Some wore Union Jack dresses and old-fashioned wigs to celebrate the day, others partied feverishly with painted faces and fluttering flags. Many were just happy to witness all the rare pomp and circumstance of a full-blown royal event.

Prince William, second-in-line to the British throne, and his long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton were declared married on Friday at a service in London's Westminster Abbey.

William, 28, and Middleton, 29 and the first "commoner" to marry a prince in close proximity to the throne in more than 350 years, exchanged vows before nearly 2,000 guests in the abbey and a television and internet audience of millions.

A congregation of some 2,000 people, including 50 heads of state as well as charity workers and war veterans who know the prince from military training gathered in the abbey, which has been the coronation site for the monarchy since William the Conqueror was crowned in 1066.

Prince William and best man Prince Harry strode into Westminster Abbey in formal military attire at about 5:20 a.m. ET (10:20 a.m. GMT), and then waited about 40 minutes for Ms. Middleton to arrive.

The Globe and Mail's Elizabeth Renzetti was the only Canadian journalist inside the Abbey, and reported via Twitter "They both look nervous, bless."

As for the Abbey, Ms. Renzetti wrote "It's a relaxed, quiet garden party atmosphere in here."

Against all odds, the sun came out as Ms. Middleton arrived at the abbey in a splendid dress by Sarah Burton, creative director of the Alexander McQueen fashion house - ending months of speculation about the identity of the designer.

The lacy white gown, with its low neckline, dramatic veil and medium length train, immediately provoked swoons of admiration.

As her "something borrowed," Middleton wore the Cartier "Halo" tiara, supplied by Queen Elizabeth II. The tiara was first purchased by the Duke of York, later King George VI, for his duchess, who later became the Queen Mother Elizabeth. It was given to the current queen by her mother on the queen's 18th birthday.

The "something new" in Middleton's ensemble were diamond earrings given to her by her parents. The earrings by Robinson Pelham were a set of stylized oak leaves with a pear shaped diamond drop and diamond acorn suspended in the centre.

She also wore the diamond and sapphire engagement ring that once belonged to William's mother Princess Diana, who was divorced from Prince Charles in 1996, a year before her death in a car crash in Paris aged just 36.

Ms. Middleton began the long walk up the aisle to the strains of Charles Parry's "I was glad."

As Globe reporter Doug Saunders noted on Twitter, as Ms. Middleton swept down the aisle with a smile that lit up TV screens around the world, a couple hundred million people got to see the dress before William did.

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.

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.

When the future heir to the throne was joined at the altar by Ms. Middleton, the royal couple exchanged a wink, smiles and a few words.

All you lip readers out there had an advantage over the rest of us when the microphones didn't catch what he said, but British media outlets believe they have it: "We're supposed to have just a small family affair," the prince supposedly joked to his bride and father-in-law at the altar.

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