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Prince William and Catherine's Wedding Ceremony at Westminster Abbey

Prince William and Catherine leaving their wedding ceremony.
Prince William and Catherine on their parade from the wedding ceremony to Buckingham Palace
Photo by Robbie Dale of anonlinegreenworld.

With her father, Michael Middleton proudly at her left side, and her sister Philippa supporting the train as Maid of Honour, Catherine stepped into Westminster Abbey looking gracefully beautiful and radiant.  A brief stop in front of the grave of the Unknown Warrior, gave Philippa the chance to arrange the 2.7 metre train of Catherine's stunning wedding dress behind her.

Meanwhile, William and Harry exited Westminster Abbey's traditional groom's waiting area at Saint Edmund's Chapel and walked to the Abbey's altar, where William looked straight ahead.  His Brother Harry, standing on his right hand side, provided a few words of commentary or reassurance as William waited patiently for his bride to complete her walk up the aisle.

Catherine began her procession along the 100 yards of red carpet on her Father's arm, past the impressive trees which had especially been brought in to Westminster Abbey, to the sound of Sir Charles Parry's coronation anthem, "I was glad when they said unto me: We will go into the House of the Lord", based on Psalm 122 verses 1 to 3 and 6 to 7.  Philippa followed behind Catherine with the bridesmaids and pages.

As Catherine joined him on his left hand side at the altar at the top of the aisle, William was able to take his first look at his bride in her wedding dress. Lipreaders say that he told her "you look beautiful", and that a few moments later there at the altar he joked to Catherine's father Michael Middleton, saying 'We were supposed to have just a small family affair'!  

After the Hymn of "Guide me O Though Great Redeemer", the Dean gave his Welcome and Introduction, including the words "if any man can shew any just cause why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace". There was a brief silence (phew!), as the Archbishop of Canterbury took his place in front of the couple for the solemnation of the marriage. Both Wiliam and Catherine said "I will".  The Archbishop asked "Who giveth this woman to be married to this man?"  Standing on Catherine's left, her father, Michael Middleton took Catherine's right hand and passed it to the Archbishop, who in turn passed her hand to Prince William. Hand in hand, the couple said their vows to each other before Harry gave the Archbishop the ring, which the Archbishop then blessed.  Only one ring was used in the cermony as only Catherine, but not William will wear a wedding ring.  William placed the ring on Catherine's finger.  For a moment it looked like it might not go on all the way past her knuckle but a gentle push and on it went.  William said "With this ring I thee wed; with my body I thee honour; and all my worldly goods with the I share: in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.", at which point the couple kneeled and the Archbishop said a prayer with the congregation, asking for God's blessing that the couple may keep their vows and live in perfect love and peace together.

Removing a piece of cloth know as a stole from his neck, the archbishop wrapped William and Catherine's right hands gently together and raised them, binding them together in the sight of God, and said "Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder."  Then, after  the Archbishop had removed the stole, he pronounced William and Catherine to be man and wife.  Sounds of crowds cheering from outside could be heard.  The Archbishop said a prayer in which he asked that God may bless them and look with favour upon them that they may live together with God's grace and benediction.

William and Catherine were now married.  Yay!

The hymn, "Love Divine All Loves Excelling" by Charles Wesley followed, as William and Catherine walked off toward two chairs on the right hand side of the Abbey, and picked up their programs to sing.

From one of the pulpits, Catherine's brother James Middleton gave an impressively delivered reading from Romans 12:1,2,9-18 as the lesson, as the newlyweds exchanged reassuring glances between each other.  This was followed by the Anthem by John Rutter, specially commissioned by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster for the Royal wedding.

The Right Reverend Dr Richard Chatres, Bishop of London gave a stirring Address, during which he encouraged the couple to "be what God wanted you to be and you will set the world on fire", in the words of St Catherine of Sienna whose festival concided with the day of the wedding.  Reverend Chartres is a friend of Prince Charles and caried out Prince William's confirmation when he was 14 in 1997.  He had also confirmed Catherine on 10th March 2011 at St James' Palace.  More loving glances were exchanged between William and Catherine during the address, then the couple moved to the High Altar whilst the choir sang the Motet by Paul mealor, based on 1 John 4.  After kneeling for prayers including the Lord's Prayer and prayers for the success of the marriage, the hymn, Jerusalem by Charles Parry based on William Blake's poem was sung.  The Blessing followed, after which a fanfare sounded and the National Anthem was sung.

At this point the couple and their witnesses Philippa Middleton, Camilla, Prince Charles, Michael, Carole and James Middleton temporarily disappeared from all view, even that of the television cameras, moving into the Shrine of St Edward the Confessor which has been there since the Middle Ages and is the most sacred part of Westminster Abbey.  There they signed the three marriage registers in private: 2 as part of the Abbey collection plus the Chapel Royal register which is kept by officials at the Chapel Royal.  The Marriage Certificate was also completed there. Whilst the newlyweds and witnesses were out of view, the choir sang Best Pair of Sirens by Charles Parry, adapted from John Milton's poem "At a Solemn Musick".      

The registers signed, all the witnesses apart from Best Man, Harry, and Maid of Honour, Philippa emerged from the Shrine as the choir continued their hymn.  The Archbishop began the procession back down the red-carpeted aisle and the trumpters of the Central Band of the Royal Air Force sounded the fanfair: The Valiant and Brave, followed by sound of The London Chamber orchestra playing Crown Imperial by William Walton as the newlyweds emerged from the Shrine of St Edward the Confessor, followed by Harry and Philippa.   After a bow from William to his grandmother, the Queen, and a curtsey from Catherine to her new grandmother-in-law, the royal couple made their procession hand in hand back down the length of the tree-lined aisle, followed by two bridesmaids, two pages, and then Harry and Philippa, Prince Charles and Carole, and Camila and Michael. Smiles shone brightly from both William and Catherine as they made their way down the red carpet - their clear love and adoration for one another now united in the sanctity of marriage in this wondeful service.  

At the threshold of the Abbey entrance, the couple paused for a few seconds - a chance for cameras to get a fabulous shot as they exited.  Then, as the Westminster Abbey bells pealed and a dash of sunshine greeted them, the newlyweds descended the two steps of the Abbey toward the horsedrawn 1902 State Landau which was just pulling up in perfect timing and sychronisation.  The short path from the Westminster Abbey entrance to the Landau was lined by service men and women who had specially been chosen for their acievements, an in a few caes for their links to the groom.  William popped his hat and white gloves on and entered the carriage first, and took Catherine's bouquet to allow her to gracefully rise into the carriage.before passing the bouquet back to her.  Lip readers say that after they entered the carriage, Catherine asked William "are you happy?"  William was pointing away from the camera a little bit so his lips couldn't be read so well, but Catherine's expression at his response confirmed that it was a positive one.  

The four white horses pulled the coach away and the grand procession to Buckingham Palace had begun.