Prince William and Kate Middleton’s happily ever after officially started in 2011 with their fairytale royal wedding. Less than six months after announcing their engagement, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who met as students at the University of St. Andrews, exchanged vows in a storybook ceremony at London’s Westminster Abbey. Nine years and three adorable children—Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis—later, we are taking a look back at the college sweethearts’ grand nuptials.
Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding date
The future King and his beautiful bride were married April 29, 2011.
Where did Prince William and Kate Middleton get married?
The royal wedding took place at Westminster Abbey, where William’s paternal grandparents, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, were married in 1947.
What did Kate Middleton wear for her wedding?
Kate Middleton’s wedding dress
The bride certainly looked like a princess on her big day wearing a timeless design by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. According to the palace, the bride chose the British brand McQueen because of “the beauty of its craftsmanship and its respect for traditional workmanship and the technical construction of clothing.” Kate wanted her dress to “combine tradition and modernity with the artistic vision that characterizes Alexander McQueen’s work.” William’s then-fiancée worked closely with Burton on the design of the gown, which was made with ivory and white satin gazar.
The bodice and skirt’s lace appliqué was hand-made by the Royal School of Needlework. The ivory silk tulle of the gown featured hand-cut lace flowers that created a design incorporating the rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock. The back of the dress was finished with 58 gazar and organza covered buttons. The gown’s train measured 2 meters and 70 centimeters.
Kate Middleton’s veil
Kate’s veil was made of layers of soft, ivory silk tulle and featured a trim of hand-embroidered flowers, which was done by the Royal School of Needlework.
Kate Middleton’s wedding day tiara
Kate had her first tiara moment on her wedding day wearing the Cartier “halo” sparkler that was lent to her by Queen Elizabeth. The headpiece, which was made in 1936, was gifted to the monarch on her 18th birthday.
Kate Middleton’s wedding jewelry
Aside from her glittering tiara, Kate accessorized her wedding look with a pair of diamond earrings by Robinson Pelham. The earrings, which were a gift from her parents for her wedding, were inspired by the Middleton family’s coat of arms that includes acorns and oak leaves.
Kate Middleton’s wedding shoes
The ivory duchesse satin shoes were hand-made by the team at Alexander McQueen with hand-embroiled lace by the Royal School of Needlework.
Kate Middleton’s wedding makeup
When it came to her big day, Kate decided to do her own makeup. Per Vogue, the bride was rumored to have taken private lessons from London-based makeup artist Arabella Preston ahead of her wedding.
Kate Middleton’s wedding hairstyle
Kate’s glossy tresses were styled into a demi-chignon created by James Pryce and Richard Ward. The stylists wanted to complement the bride’s dress and show off its detailing. At the time, Ward told PEOPLE, “Catherine was very involved in her chosen style and the bridal look was based on her own personal preference,” adding, “It was really a matter of getting a fine balance of feeling natural but also reflected the occasion.” Hair prep started the night before the royal wedding and continued at 6:30 a.m. on the day of.
Prince William’s uniform
William looked sharp wearing the red uniform of Colonel of the Irish Guards.
Kate Middleton’s wedding ring
In “accordance with the couple’s wishes,” there was only one ring—one for Kate. The pair picked the family jewelry business Wartski to make the Duchess’ ring out of a piece of Welsh gold that the Queen gave William after his engagement was announced.
The royal wedding prayer
The couple wrote their own wedding prayer that read: “God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage. In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy. Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Prince William and Kate Middleton’s titles
On their wedding day, the Queen conferred a Dukedom on Prince William making him the Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus. With the Dukedom, Prince William became His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge and upon her marriage, Kate became Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge.
Prince William and Kate Middleton’s bridal party
Prince William’s best man
No surprise, Prince William asked his younger brother Prince Harry to be his best man.
Kate’s maid of honor
Like her groom, the bride gave her sibling a special role at the royal wedding. Kate chose sister Pippa Middleton as her maid of honor. Many watchers thought Pippa nearly stole the show with her svelte figure in an ivory satin-based crepe gown by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.
Royal wedding page boys and bridesmaids
Two of Prince William’s godchildren, Grace van Cutsem and Tom Pettifer, served in the wedding party, as did the Duchess of Cornwall’s granddaughter Eliza Lopes. The Queen’s granddaughter and William’s first cousin Lady Louise Windsor and Princess Margaret’s granddaughter Margarita Armstrong-Jones also made up the bridal party, in addition to William “Billy” Lowther-Pinkerton, whose father was a private secretary for the couple.
The bridesmaid dresses were made of the same fabrics as Kate’s but were designed by childrenswear designer Nicki Macfarlane. The lining of each dress had the bridesmaids names and the wedding date hand-embroidered. The young bridesmaids also wore Devon-based Rainbow Club shoes and ivy and lily-of-the-valley hair wreaths that were inspired by Kate’s mother Carole Middleton‘s own headdress from her 1981 wedding. Meanwhile, the page boys sported a uniform in the style of the ones worn by Foot Guards officers at the time of the Regency in the 1820s. The palace noted that the uniform drew its insignia from the Irish Guards, which Prince William is colonel of.
Kate Middleton’s bouquet
Kate’s bouquet was designed by Shane Connolly and drew on “the traditions of flowers of significance for the Royal Family, the Middleton family and on the Language of Flowers.” Each of the flowers in the bouquet had a special meaning—Lily-of-the-valley: return of happiness; Sweet William: gallantry; hyacinth: constancy of love, ivy; fidelity, marriage, wedded love, friendship and affection; and myrtle: the emblem of marriage and love.
The walk up the aisle
Kate’s father Michael Middleton proudly escorted his firstborn up the aisle of the Abbey.
Prince William and Kate Middleton’s vows
Like her late mother-in-law Princess Diana, Kate omitted saying “obey” during her wedding vows. Rather than “to love, cherish and obey,” the Duchess of Cambridge said: “I, Catherine Elizabeth, take thee, William Arthur Philip Louis, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, ’till death us do part, according to God’s holy law, and thereto I give thee my troth.”
Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal and celebrity guests
Nearly 2,000 guests attended the couple’s wedding service, including members of the royal family, celebrities and foreign royals. Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Victoria and David Beckham, Sir Elton John and David Furnish, Prince Albert and then-fiancé Charlene Wittstock, Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice, Guy Ritchie, then-Spain’s Queen Sofia, Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia, then-Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima of the Netherlands, and Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden were among attendees.
Will and Kate’s carriage
Following the ceremony, the newlyweds left Westminster Abbey in a 1902 State Landau and traveled along a processional route to Buckingham Palace. The procession included five horse-drawn carriages.
Will and Kate’s wedding reception
After the service, Queen Elizabeth hosted a reception for the married couple and their guests at Buckingham Palace. In the evening, Prince Charles hosted a private dinner. During the nighttime reception, William reportedly (via The Daily Mail) delivered an emotional speech calling his new wife “my rock.”
Kate Middleton’s second wedding dress
For the evening reception, the newly-minted Duchess slipped into a second look by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. The satin gown featured diamante detailing at the waist and a circle skirt. Kate completed her look with a white shrug.
Will and Kate’s wedding gifts
Ahead of their nuptials, William and Kate set up a charitable gift fund. In lieu of gifts, the pair asked well-wishers who wanted to give them a present to, instead, donate to the fund, which would benefit charities personally picked by the couple that covered different areas such as changing lives through arts and sport, children fulfilling their potential, help and care at home, support for service personnel and their families, and conservation for future generation.
Will and Kate’s wedding cake
Leicestershire-based cake designer Fiona Cairns create the couple’s multi-tiered traditional wedding cake. The dessert was decorated with cream and white icing and had a “strong British floral theme.” Aside from the fruit cake, the bride and groom had a chocolate biscuit cake for their reception at Buckingham Palace that was “specially requested” by William and made by McVitie’s Cake Company from a royal family recipe.
Newlyweds William and Kate emerged on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for an RAF flypast with their bridal party and immediate family. While on the balcony, the Duke and Duchess treated royal fans everywhere to not one, but TWO kisses!
The royal wedding getaway car
William and Kate started their new chapter in style departing Buckingham Palace for Clarence House in Prince Charles’ 1969 Aston Martin. On the day of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding, the vehicle’s license plate read: “Ju5T WED” and featured an “L” in the front that stood for “learners permit.”
How to watch Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding?
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