It was the moment the world had been waiting for: Newlyweds William and Kate have stepped on to the balcony of Buckingham Palace to exchange a kiss and wave to the huge crowds.
Both Prince William and Kate Middleton have exchanged the brief but loving kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, to cheers and applause. The bride giggled afterwards while the groom smiled broadly.
Cheering crowds greeted royal newly-weds William and Kate as they were driven through the streets of London in an open-topped carriage today.
William and his new princess smiled and waved at well-wishers lining the route from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace after a historic fairytale ceremony.
For many of the hundreds of thousands of well-wishers gathered below the famous balcony, the kiss was the royal wedding moment they had waited for.
And despite fears that rain would spoil the occasion, a shaft of sunlight fell across The Mall amid the joyous scenes as the radiant bride and her handsome prince laughed and smiled.
After more than five minutes of waving to the crowds, the couple walked hand in hand back through the doors of the palace.
The future king and his beautiful bride, who will now one day be queen, pledged their love for one another in the ancient surroundings of the abbey, watched by millions across the globe.
Earlier, stepping on to the balcony, Kate appeared to gasp “Oh my” as the royal couple saw the thousands of well-wishers lining the Mall before being joined by members of their family.
In a stunning ivory gown with lace applique floral detail designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, Kate walked up the red carpeted aisle a commoner.
But with her new husband at her side and a ring on her finger, the former Miss Middleton became HRH the Duchess of Cambridge – William was made a duke by the Queen this morning.
Well-known faces spotted at Westminster Abbey included singer-songwriter Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish, former England rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward, and former England football captain David Beckham and his wife Victoria.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha, Australian prime minister Julia Gillard, former British PM Sir John Major, and Home Secretary Theresa May were among the politicians present.
When the groom’s parents Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer married on July 29 1981, their kiss became one of the most enduring images in royal history. Their break from formality and royal protocol came in direct response to clamours from the expectant crowds below.
At the time, Charles was reported to have said to Diana: ”I am not going to do that caper. They are trying to get us to kiss.” Then she responded: ”Well, how about it?”
But as the young princess arched gracefully backwards, her veil flowing behind her in a fairytale pose, her husband appeared rather less at ease, creating a slightly stilted embrace.
Five years later, the Duke and Duchess of York followed in their footsteps, appearing to relish their wedding day ”balcony moment”.
”When they kissed, it was with a sense of fun, they were giggling and smiling at each other and it appeared much sexier,” body language expert Judi James said. ”It was not the chaste kiss of Charles and Diana.”
And she said Prince William and Kate Middleton’s kiss would also be very different, adding: ”I think they will give people what they want. I think they will get it right but not make too much of a show.” [via The Telegraph (UK) and Daily Mail (UK)]