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PHOTOS: Millions tune in to royal wedding

Last updated on: April 29, 2011 17:16 IST

PHOTOS: Millions tune in to royal wedding

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Prasun Sonwalkar in London

The world's major television channels were tuned into the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on Friday, as crowds thronged the route to Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace in scenes that drew comparisons with the fairytale marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana in 1981.

Prince William and commoner Kate spent their last night as singles, with the Prince delighting people who had camped for days by shaking hands with them last night. "All I've got to do is get the lines right", he quipped as he easily mixed with cheering crowds in The Mall.

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Image: People gather outside Buckingham Palace before the wedding
Photographs: Dylan Martinez/Reuters
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2 billion global spectators

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Hundreds of thousands of people have converged on London from all over the world to attend the royal wedding. The wedding ceremony in the ancient Westminster Abbey is scheduled for 3.30 pm.

Thousands of street parties have been planned across Britain to celebrate the first wedding of Queen Elizabeth's grand-children. Since early morning, major television channels began their live coverage amid largely clear skies and thousands of excited fans of the royal family.

It is estimated that the event will be watched by a global audience of nearly 2 billion people on television and online. The Archbishop of Canterbury will conduct the wedding ceremony, which will include Kate vowing to "love, comfort, honour and keep" Prince William but not to 'obey' him.

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Image: Members of the public line the Procession Route ahead of the wedding
Photographs: Damien Meyer/Reuters
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A starry affair

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William spent last evening with the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry, while Kate and her family gathered at the Goring Hotel, in Belgravia, a short distance from Westminster Abbey.

The weather office said the day will start off dry but cloudy in London but there was a risk of heavy showers developing later on. The Scotland Yard said 5,000 officers will be on duty, with more than 900 along the wedding route.

Invitees to the wedding include royal families from various countries, political leaders and people of different walks of life, including an Indian-origin shopkeeper couple from Kate's village of Buckleberry.

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Image: Soccer star David Beckham and his wife Victoria arrive at Westminster Abbey before the wedding
Photographs: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
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'The happiest day of our lives'

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Prince William and Kate said in a warm message on Thursday: "We are both so delighted that you are able to join us in celebrating what we hope will be one of the happiest days of our lives.

"The affection shown to us by so many people during our engagement has been incredibly moving, and has touched us both deeply," it said.

 


Image: Kate Middleton, the fiancee of Britain's Prince William, waves as she arrives with her sister Pippa
Photographs: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters
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Pubs, streets, homes agog with royal celebrations

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Streets, pubs, parks and homes came alive with flags, masks and images of the royal family across Britain as Prince William and commoner Kate Middleton took their first steps towards marital status at the Westminster Abbey on Friday.

Giant screens have been put up in Hyde Park, London, and many public places across the country, while over 5,000 street parties heralded what observers said a higher level of fervour than was evident during the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.

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Image: Royal fans stand together during a special breakfast at St Andrews university in Scotland
Photographs: David Moir/Reuters
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Local residents pulled out all stops

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Global television channels broadcasting live switched from the Westminster village to Bucklebury, the village of the royal bride, where local residents pulled out all stops. A wedding breakfast, in the hamlet of Chapel Row where the Middletons live, marked the start the day.

A village extravaganza, Tea in the Park, is being held at Bucklebury Farm Park, with local bands playing, a children's contest for the best crown and tiara, ferret racing and other activities culminating in a proms-style fanfare.

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Image: A woman holds a sign as crowds gather outside Buckingham Palace
Photographs: Dylan Martinez/Reuters
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Celebrations all around

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A wedding cake, two-and-a-half feet high, will also be cut up for revellers. There is hardly any place in Bucklebury's two local pubs, the Bladebone and the Cottage Inn.

John Haley, owner of the Old Boot Inn where the royal couple often met over a pint, will be rushing back from the wedding at Westminster Abbey to host his own wedding celebration disco and barbecue.

Reverend Julian Gadsby, priest in charge of the Berkshire parishes of Bucklebury, Bradfield and Stanford Dingley, said bell ringers in the parish church had planned a "full peal" -- set to last around three hours -- called Bucklebury Delight.

Reports of celebrations poured in from various parts of Britain. In Leeds, where Kate Middleton's father Michael was born, celebrations were on across the city, and York is staging a fancy dress competition and high tea.


Image: A royal supporter waves a Union Jack as she waits along the Procession Route in London
Photographs: Chris Radburn/Reuters
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