Britain Celebrates Royal Wedding

They're partying inside Buckingham Palace Friday evening. Prince William and Kate Middleton, now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, were married Friday.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

MICHELE NORRIS: And I'm Michele Norris. They're partying inside Buckingham Palace. Prince William and Kate Middleton, now the duke and duchess of Cambridge, were married today, and the festivities are still going on.

NPR's Philip Reeves followed the day's events, and he sent us this report.

PHILIP REEVES: Few institutions in the world are better at grand ceremonial occasions than the British monarchy. This one was flawless. Queen Elizabeth walked into Westminster Abbey to this.

(Soundbite of music)

REEVES: Then the Rolls-Royce drew up and out stepped Kate Middleton, finally revealing her ivory and white satin wedding dress.

(Soundbite of singing)

REEVES: The aisle was lined with trees and guests, some 1,900 in all.

(Soundbite of singing)

REEVES: It's hard to be intimate with the whole world watching. This couple managed it. They gazed into each other's eyes and repeated the wedding vows.

Prince WILLIAM ARTHUR PHILIP LOUIS: ...for better, for worse...

Archbishop ROWAN WILLIAMS (Canterbury): ...for richer, for poorer...

Prince WILLIAM: ...for richer, for poorer...

Ms. CATHERINE ELIZABETH MIDDLETON: ...till death us do part...

Archbishop WILLIAMS: ...according to God's holy law...

Ms. MIDDLETON: ...according to God's holy law...

REEVES: They were married by the archbishop of Canterbury.

Archbishop WILLIAMS: I pronounce that they be man and wife together in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

REEVES: With that, a big cheer went up from the crowd outside, under a gray unreliable sky. The address was by the bishop of London, Richard Chartres.

Bishop RICHARD CHARTRES (London): Many people are fearful of the prospects for our world. But the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one. This is a joyful day.

REEVES: The House of Windsor has been through rocky times recently. It's lived through scandals, divorces and, above all, the death of Princess Diana. Remember the scolding anger of Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, at her funeral? Today, the Earl was before the cameras again.

Unidentified Man: It's incredibly beautiful, wasn't it?

Earl CHARLES EDWARD MAURICE SPENCER: Very moving. And the only downside on a perfect day was Diana not being there, but what a wonderful day of celebrations. Thank you.

REEVES: An open horse-drawn carriage conveyed the newlyweds smiling and waving from the abbey to reception at Buckingham Palace. A flag-waving multitude surged up to the palace and gathered outside, waiting for this.

(Soundbite of cheering)

REEVES: A kiss on the palace balcony, not one but two. Then there was a surprise. The couple drove out of the palace in an open-topped Aston Martin, trailing balloons. Their destination was Prince Charles' residence very close by.

Jenny Frasier(ph) from New York watched the day from a vantage point above the abbey.

Ms. JENNY FRASIER: I think I'll just remember how exciting it was to be able to see Kate come out of the car for the first time because we were just interested so much what exactly she will be wearing and, you know, thinking about it and talking about it. And just actually seeing it all come together, it was just - it was truly magical.

(Soundbite of music)

REEVES: Britain's monarchy has many detractors. It's considered by some to be arcane and politically irrelevant. Today, the world saw a dazzling pageant: Beefeaters, mounted cavalrymen, buglers and clerics and much more. But it also saw a couple in love, a warm smiling queen, a mischievous best man, Harry, and grins even from the crusty, old Duke of Edinburgh. If there was a time when this unusual institution was threatened with abolition, it's past, at least for now.

Philip Reeves, NPR News, London.

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