Main articles: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Prince William is the elder son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, and grandson of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. As such, he is second, behind his father, in the line of succession to the throne in 16 independent states known as the Commonwealth realms. William was educated at Ludgrove School, Eton College, and the University of St Andrews, after which he was commissioned as an officer from Sandhurst in the Blues and Royals regiment of the Household Cavalry. He later transferred to the RAF and went on to become a full-time pilot with the Search and Rescue Force at RAF Valley, Anglesey.
Catherine "Kate" Middleton is the eldest of three children born to Michael and Carole Middleton. She was educated at St Andrew's School in Pangbourne, Marlborough College, and the University of St Andrews. After graduating, she worked in retail and then as an accessories buyer/catalogue photographer at her parents' business. She is primarily of English descent, but with a few distant Scottish and French Huguenot ancestors. Her paternal family came from Leeds, West Yorkshire, while her mother's maternal family, the Harrisons, were working-class labourers and miners from County Durham.
The couple met while undergraduates at the University of St Andrews, where they both lived at St Salvator's Hall during their first year, after which they shared accommodation in the town for two years. In a study of the ancestry of Catherine, William Addams Reitwiesner uncovered that she shares ancestors with Prince William; the closest relationship is via a common descent from Sir Thomas Fairfax and his wife Agnes Gascoigne, daughter of Sir William Gascoigne and his wife, née Lady Margaret Percy, making William and Catherine fifteenth cousins.
On 16 November 2010, Clarence House announced that Prince William, elder son of the Prince of Wales, was to marry his longtime girlfriend Catherine Middleton "in the Spring or Summer of 2011, in London". They were engaged in October 2010 while on a private holiday in Kenya; William gave Middleton the same engagement ring that his father had given to William's mother, Diana, Princess of Wales—an 18-carat white gold ring with a 12-carat oval sapphire and 14 round diamonds. It was announced at approximately the same time that, after their marriage, the couple will live on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales, where Prince William is based with the Royal Air Force.
The Prince of Wales said he was "thrilled ... they have been practising long enough", and Queen Elizabeth II said she was "absolutely delighted" for the couple, giving her formal consent to the marriage, as required by the Royal Marriages Act 1772, in her British privy council on the morning of the engagement. Congratulations also came in from the Queen's prime ministers, including Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard, who has moderate republican leanings. The suffragan Bishop of Willesden, Pete Broadbent, who has republican views, published a critical reaction to the wedding announcement on Facebook. He later acknowledged that his words were "offensive" and subsequently apologised, but his superior, Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, instructed him to withdraw from public ministry "until further notice".
Following the announcement, the couple gave an exclusive interview to ITV News political editor Tom Bradby and hosted a photocall at St. James's Palace. On 12 December 2010, Buckingham Palace issued the official engagement photographs; these were taken on 25 November, in the state apartments at St. James's Palace, by photographer Mario Testino.
The original engagement announcement stated that the wedding would be "in the spring or summer of 2011". On 23 November 2010 the date of Friday 29 April 2011 was confirmed. It was later announced that the day will be declared a public holiday throughout the United Kingdom, formal confirmation being made by the Queen-in-Council on 15 December 2010. The wedding date was also declared an official public holiday in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, the Falkland Islands, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos.
As 29 April fell six days before elections for the Scottish Parliament and the Alternative Vote referendum, this attracted political comment. John Curtice, a professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, stated for the Scottish elections that the date was "unfortunate" and was "likely to see the Royal Family getting caught up in political debate".
On 23 November 2010, Clarence House announced the date for the wedding as 29 April 2011 (Feast Day of Saint Catherine of Siena) and the venue as Westminster Abbey.
St James's Palace announced on 5 January that the ceremony would start at 11:00 local time and that the bride would arrive at the Abbey by car rather than by carriage (the latter is the traditional transport for royal brides.) The route planned was along The Mall, through Horse Guards Parade, and down Whitehall to the abbey.
Beforehand motorists were warned about using the roads in central London on the wedding day including by Transport for London which issued travel advice on road closures.
It was also announced that the costs of the wedding itself would be met by the Royal Family and the Middletons themselves, while the costs of security and transport would be covered by the British treasury. The couple also asked that donations be made to charities in place of traditional wedding gifts; to that end, they established The Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton Charitable Gift Fund, which focuses on assisting charities such as the New Zealand Christchurch Earthquake Appeal, the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and the Zoological Society of London.
The cost of the wedding was reportedly £20 million. The Australian newspaper Herald Sun estimated A$32 million for security and A$800,000 for flowers. Estimates of the cost to the economy of extra public holidays, such as that allowed for the wedding, vary between £1.2 billion and £6 billion. The Government tourist authority VisitBritain predicts the wedding will trigger a tourism boom that will last several years, eventually pulling in an additional 4 million visitors, generating £2 billion for UK tourism. However, VisitBritain's head of research and forecasting, David Edwards, suggested to colleagues two days after the engagement was announced that the evidence points to royal weddings having a negative impact on inbound tourism. He noted that the number of visitors to Britain was down significantly in July 1981 from the same period in other years, when Charles and Diana were married, and also July 1986 was down from July 1985 when Andrew and Sarah were married.
Main article: List of wedding guests of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine Middleton
On 16 and 17 February, three sets of guest lists were sent out in the name of the Queen. As William is not the heir apparent, the wedding is not a "state occasion". Thus protocol dictated that many guests (or their successors in office) who were invited to the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer on 29 July 1981 need not be invited to William's wedding. More than half of the guests were family and friends of the couple, though there was a significant number of Commonwealth leaders (including the governors-general who represent the Queen in Commonwealth realms other than the UK, prime ministers of the Commonwealth realms, and heads of government of other Commonwealth countries), members of religious organisations, the diplomatic corps, several military officials, members of the British Royal Household, members of foreign royal families, and representatives of William's charities and others with whom William has worked on official business. Although St James's Palace declined to publish the names of those invited, a breakdown of guests was published by category − the list made no mention of foreign heads of state, though it was announced that about 40 members of foreign royal families had been invited.
The first list, consisting of about 1,900 people, attended the ceremony in the abbey. The second list of approximately 600 people were invited to the luncheon reception at Buckingham Palace, hosted by the Queen. The final list, containing about 300 names, was for the evening dinner hosted by the Prince of Wales.
On 19 April Sean Cardinal Brady, Primate of All Ireland, said he would attend. The invitation to the event, and its acceptance, were described as "unprecedented" by a spokesman for Ireland's Catholic bishops. The spokesman attributed the invitation to Cardinal Brady’s contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process.
The route of the bride and groom went between Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, by The Mall, passing Clarence House, by Horse Guards Road, Horse Guards Parade, through Horse Guards Arch, Whitehall, the south side of Parliament Square, and Broad Sanctuary.
After the ceremony, the bridal couple returned along the same route by carriage to a reception hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The Prince of Wales hosted a private dinner in the evening, not attended by the Queen.
At 6.00 am roads in and around the processional route were closed to traffic. From 8.15 am, the main congregation, governors-general, prime ministers of Commonwealth realms, and diplomats, all arrived at the Abbey. Princes William and Harry then left Clarence House at 10.10 am in a Bentley State Limousine, and arrived at 10.18 am, followed by representatives of foreign royal families, the Middleton family, and, lastly, the Prince's own family (the Princess Royal, the Duke of York, Princess Beatrice of York, Princess Eugenie of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall). By tradition, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were the last members of the Royal Family to leave Buckingham Palace, arriving at the Abbey for 10.48 am. The bridal party then left the Goring Hotel in the former Number one State Rolls-Royce Phantom VI at 10.52 am, in time for the service to begin at 11.00 am. The service finished at 12.15 pm, after which the newly married couple travelled to Buckingham Palace in a procession consisting of other royal family members, the parents of the groom and bride, the best man and the bridesmaids. At 1.25 pm, the couple appeared on the balcony at Buckingham Palace to watch a fly-past of an Avro Lancaster bomber, a Supermarine Spitfire fighter and a Hawker Hurricane fighter aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, followed by two Typhoons from RAF Coningsby and two Tornado GR4s from RAF Leuchars in a flat diamond formation.
Westminster Abbey, founded in AD 960, has a particular status and is known as a "Royal Peculiar". Although the abbey has been the traditional location for coronations since 1066, it has only recently been the church of choice for royal weddings; prior to 1918, most royal weddings took place in the royal chapels such as the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace and St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. The abbey, which has a usual seating capacity of 2000, has been the venue for recent royal weddings, including those of Elizabeth II (then Princess Elizabeth) to Prince Philip (1947), Princess Margaret to Antony Armstrong-Jones (1960), Princess Anne to Mark Phillips (1973), and Prince Andrew to Sarah Ferguson (1986). A prominent decorative addition inside the Abbey for the ceremony was an avenue of 20-foot tall trees, six field maple and two hornbeams arranged on either side of the main aisle.
In a break with royal tradition, the groom had a best man—his brother, Prince Harry—rather than a supporter, while the bride chose her sister, Pippa, as maid of honour.
There were four bridesmaids and two pageboys:
- Lady Louise Windsor, the seven-year old daughter of the Earl and Countess of Wessex
- The Hon Margarita Armstrong-Jones, the eight-year old daughter of Viscount and Viscountess Linley
- Grace van Cutsem, the three-year old daughter of the couple's friend Hugh van Cutsem
- Eliza Lopes the three-year old granddaughter of the Duchess of Cornwall
- William Lowther-Pinkerton, the ten-year old son of William's private secretary Major Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton
- Tom Pettifer, the eight-year old son of Princes William and Harry's former nanny, "Tiggy" Pettifer
Further information: Wedding dress of Kate Middleton
The bridal dress, designed by English designer Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, was made of satin and featured a lace applique bodice and skirt. The lace bodice design was hand-made using a technique that originated in Ireland in the 1820s called Carrickmacross, which involved cutting out the detailings of roses, thistles, daffodils and shamrocks and applying them to the ivory silk tulle individually. These lace appliques were hand-made by the Royal School of Needlework, based at Hampton Court Palace. The veil was held in place by a Cartier Scroll Tiara, made in 1936 and lent to her by the Queen. It was purchased by the Queen's father, the Duke of York (subsequently King George VI) for his Duchess (later Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother) three weeks before succeeding his brother Edward VIII (Duke of Windsor) as King. Princess Elizabeth (now the Queen) received the tiara from her mother on her 18th birthday. In order to avoid her tiara falling off, as had happened for Lady Diana Spencer during her 1981 wedding to the Prince of Wales, Catherine's stylists "backcombed the top [of her hair] to create a foundation for the tiara to sit around, then did a tiny plait in the middle and sewed it on."
For the customary bridal themes of "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue", Middleton's gown had the traditional Carrickmacross lace appointments (the "old"), diamond earrings given by her parents (the "new"), the Queen's tiara (the "borrowed"), and a blue ribbon sewn into the bodice (the "blue"). The shoes were also from Alexander McQueen and had a lace pattern matching the dress with appliques made by the Royal School of Needlework.
The bridal bouquet was designed by Shane Connolly, the bride's shield-shaped wired bouquet contained myrtle, Lily of the Valley, Sweet William and hyacinth.
Middleton's hair was styled in loose curls for the occasion by hair dresser James Pryce of the Richard Ward Salon. She received private make-up lessons from Arabella Preston and the entire bridal party received "makeup artistry assistance" from Bobbi Brown make-up artist Hannah Martin prior to the event, but ultimately Middleton did her own makeup for the occasion. The look was described as a "soft smokey eye" with pink lips and cheeks. Her nails were painted by manicurist Marina Sandoval in a mixture of two polishes: a "barely there pink" and a "sheer beige" to complement her skin tone and gown.
Maid-of-honour Pippa Middleton also wore a gown by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen. It has been described as being made of "heavy, ivory satin-based crepe, with a cowl front and with the same button detail and lace trims as the Bride’s dress." Like her sister, she received "makeup artistry assistance" from Bobbi Brown make-up artist Hannah Martin, but it is unclear who actually put on her makeup for the wedding day.Her hair was loosely curled in a half-up, half-down style by the Richard Ward Salon with a deep side part and a hairpiece made of ivy and lily of the valley to match Catherine's bouquet.
The young bridesmaids wore dresses designed by Nicki Macfarlane, hand-made with the help of Macfarlane's daughter Charlotte, in their homes at Wiltshire and Kent. The gowns echoed the bride's dress and were made with the same fabrics and button detail along the back. They were described as having a "ballerina-length, full, box pleated skirt" and were hand finished with English Cluny lace. Their ivy and lily-of-the-valley hair wreaths were influenced by Catherine's mother Carole's headdress at her 1981 wedding to Michael Middleton.
All of the bridesmaids wore satin Mary Jane style shoes with a Swarovski crystal buckle designed by Devon-based Rainbow Club. Their flowers were designed and made by Shane Connolly and replicated the flowers in Catherine's bouquet: lily-of-the-valley, sweet William, and hyacinth.
The pageboys' outfits were designed by Kashket and Partners in the style worn by a "Foot Guard officer at the time of the Regency (the 1820s)" with an insignia from the Irish Guards, whose Colonel is Prince William. The tunics are red with gold piping and have Irish shamrocks on the collars. The Pages wore a gold and crimson sash (with tassel) around their waists, traditional of officers in the Irish Guards when in the presence of a member of the Royal Family.
Groom and best man
Prince Harry wore the uniform of a captain of the Blues and Royals, with a forage cap. He wore aiguillettes, a cross-belt and gold waist belt with sword slings, but no sword. He wore the wings of the Army Air Corps and Golden Jubilee and Afghanistan Campaign medals.
Designer Marlon Kashket worked with the Princes to address concerns they had with the outfits. One such concern was the heat of the Abbey, so the designers used special material to absorb the heat while still achieving the desired look. Further, military dress uniforms do not traditionally have pockets, but the palace requested that some sort of compartment be added to Harry's outfit so that Catherine's wedding ring would not be lost.
The order of service chosen by the bridal couple was the Series One form which is virtually identical with that of the 1928 Prayer Book. The Dean of Westminster, John Hall, officiated for most of the service, with Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, as celebrant of the marriage and Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, preaching the sermon. It has long been traditional for the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Church of England's most senior bishop, to officiate at the weddings of England's monarchs and future monarchs. Chartres is a close friend of the Prince of Wales and confirmed both Prince William and Kate Middleton.
The service commenced with the procession of the Queen, Prince Philip and the clergy. Shortly after, Kate Middleton arrived with the party of matron of honour and junior attendants. As the choir sang an anthem by Sir Hubert Parry, the bride made her three-and-a-half minute procession through the nave and choir on her father's arm, to meet Prince William. The service proceeded with the formal service and congregational singing of three well known hymns, fanfares, anthems, organ and orchestral music.
In the marriage vows, the couple promised to "love, comfort, honour and keep" each other. This was sealed by the exchange of a single ring.
The lesson, read by the bride's brother, James Middleton, was from the New Testament's Epistle to the Romans (Chapter 12, verses 1–2 and 9–18) and is an exhortation to live a righteous and peaceful life.
The sermon, preached by the Bishop of London, commenced with a quotation from Catherine of Siena whose feast day it was. The bishop urged the couple to live selflessly, each remembering the needs of each other and seeking to transform each other by love rather than seeking to reform. He ended the sermon with a prayer composed by the couple themselves:
"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."
The service continued with prayers and exhortations by the dean and archbishop. A newly composed choral anthem was sung by the choir. After the signing of the registers, William and Kate walked down the aisle, pausing briefly to acknowledge the Queen. They were followed in procession by other members of the bridal party, and their families, being joined at the door by the two youngest flower girls.
On leaving Westminster Abbey, to the pealing of bells, they passed through a guard of honour of individually selected men and women from the various services, and were greeted by cheers from the crowds. The bridal couple entered the 1902 State Landau drawn by four white horses with postilions and attendant footmen, and guarded by a mounted escort of the Life Guard. A similar open carriage carried the rest of the bridal party, escorted by the Blues and Royals. The Queen and other members of the Royal family followed in coaches drawn by the Queen's Cleveland Bay horses, and in state cars.
Two choirs, one orchestra and a fanfare ensemble played the music for the service. These were the Westminster Abbey Choir, the Chapel Royal Choir, the London Chamber Orchestra and a fanfare ensemble from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force. The choirs were directed by James O’Donnell, organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey. The abbey’s sub-organist, Robert Quinney, played the organ. The organist, choir master and composer at the Chapel Royal is Andrew Gant. The London Chamber Orchestra was conducted by Christopher Warren-Green, who is its music director and principal conductor. The fanfares were performed under the direction of Wing Commander Duncan Stubbs.
The bride processed down the aisle to the anthem "I Was Glad", written by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, from Psalm 122. It was composed for the crowning of Prince William's great-great-great grandfather, Edward VII, at Westminster Abbey in 1902.
Three congregational hymns were sung during the service. The first was "Guide me, O Thou Great Redeemer" sung to the tune "Cwm Rhondda". The hymn, originally written in Welsh by 18th-century Methodist preacher William Williams, had been sung at the funeral of Princess Diana. The words to their second hymn, "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling", were by Charles Wesley and its tune – Blaenwern – was composed by William Penfro Rowlands, during the 1904–1905 Welsh Revival. This hymn was sung at the Prince of Wales's 2005 marriage to the Duchess of Cornwall. The third hymn was "Jerusalem", based on the poem by William Blake and set to music by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry.
Choral compositions featured in the service were Parry's Blest Pair of Sirens during the signing of the register, Paul Mealor's Ubi Caritas et Amor as the motet and a specially commissioned anthem, "This is the day which the Lord hath made" consisting of words chosen from the Psalms, by John Rutter.
Fanfare ensemble leader Wing Commander Duncan Stubbs's own composition, Valiant and Brave, was performed as the royal couple signed the wedding registers. Preux et audacieux (which translates from French as "Valiant and Brave") is the motto of 22 Squadron, in which Prince William is serving as a search and rescue pilot at RAF Valley in North Wales. The fanfare led into the recessional music, the orchestral march "Crown Imperial" by William Walton, composed for the coronation of George VI and which was also performed at Charles and Diana's wedding.
The music performed before the service included two instrumental pieces by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies ("Veni Creator Spiritus" and "Farewell to Stromness") as well as with works by J.S. Bach, Benjamin Britten, Frederick Delius, Edward Elgar, Gerald Finzi, Charles Villiers Stanford, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Percy Whitlock.
The bells of Westminster Abbey were pealed as the newly-married couple and guests left the church.
The wedding ring of Catherine is made from Welsh gold. The ring was created by the royal warrant holder Wartski, a company with roots in Bangor, Gwynedd, north Wales. Since 1923, it has been a tradition in the royal family to use Welsh gold for the wedding ring of the bride. This ring was made from a small amount of gold that had been kept in the royal vaults since it was presented to Queen Elizabeth II. It was mined from the Clogau Gold Mine in the mountains of North Wales. The Clogau Gold Mine had its heyday in the late nineteenth century, was abandoned in the early twentieth century, was reopened in 1992 and finally closed in 1998. The Queen had "given a piece of the gold that has been in the family for many years to Prince William as a gift," a palace source stated. Prince William chose not to receive a wedding ring at the ceremony.
Title upon marriage
On the morning of the wedding, William was created Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus, with Catherine becoming Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge after the wedding. This is in line with the practice of granting titles upon marriage to royal princes who did not already have one (for example, Prince Andrew, who was created Duke of York when he married in 1986). The titles also have symbolic meanings—Strathearn is close to St Andrews, Fife, in Scotland, where the couple met as students, and Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland. Combined with his existing titular link with Wales and his becoming Duke of Cambridge in England, his collective titles link William to each of the four countries in the United Kingdom.
After the reception, at 3.35pm, William drove his new bride out of the palace back up the Mall for the short distance to Clarence House, his official London residence. The car, a blue two seat Aston Martin DB6 Volante (MkII convertible), had been decorated in the customary 'newly wed' style by the best man and friends; the rear number plate read "JU5T WED". The Prince had changed into a Blues and Royals Captain's frock coat also designed by Kashket; his wife was still wearing her wedding dress. The car had been given to Prince Charles by the Queen as a 21st birthday present. In a surprise organised by RAF Wattisham, the car was shadowed by a yellow RAF Sea King helicopter flying the RAF Ensign from its winch cable, marking William's current service as a pilot with the RAF Search and Rescue Force.
In the evening, the Prince of Wales gave a private dinner, followed by dancing, at Buckingham Palace for the couple and their close friends and family. The singer-songwriter, Ellie Goulding performed at the event, singing her rendition of "Your Song" for the couple's first dance. The singer also performed her hit single "Starry Eyed" for the assembled guests. The event ended at 3am, with a small fireworks display in the grounds of Buckingham Palace.
The wedding cake had a strong British floral theme, using elements of the Joseph Lambeth technique. It was an eight-tiered traditional fruit cake decorated with cream and white icing and 900 sugar paste flowers. The Lambeth technique is based on a style of decorating that was popular in England where chefs and decorators would use a lot of intricate piping to create 3-D scrollwork, leaves, flowers, and other decoration. The method is still popular today and is frequently used by wedding cake designers and decorators to create ornate wedding cakes. The cake designer Fiona Cairns was chosen in February 2011 to create the wedding cake. Additionally, McVitie's created a groom's cake from chocolate biscuit for the reception at Buckingham Palace. The chocolate biscuit cake was made from a Royal Family recipe and was specially requested by Prince William.
Official merchandise, coins and stamps
Prince William and Kate Middleton personally approved an official range of china (including handmade plates, cups and pill boxes) to be made for the Royal Collection and sold as souvenirs from December 2010 on. The items are decorated with the intertwined initials of the couple, under the prince's coronet, and include the wording "To celebrate the marriage of Prince William of Wales and Catherine Middleton 29 April 2011." The Lord Chamberlain's office approved a longer list of memorabilia, including official mugs, plates, biscuit tins and porcelain pill pots. The document also clarified the use of William's coat of arms and pictures of the couple on such memorabilia. Initially, the Palace refused to sanction official tea-towels, which, along with aprons, T-shirts and cushions, were deemed, 'in poor taste'. However, the restriction on tea towels, though not the other items, was later reversed. Sales of merchandising are expected to reach £44 million.
To mark the engagement of William and Catherine, the Royal Mint produced an official Alderney £5 coin, showing the couple in profile, while the Royal Australian Mint issued a series of circulation and collectable coins designed by Stuart Devlin. The Royal Canadian Mint will release a series of coins and Canada Post will be issuing a stamp, approved by Clarence House, in commemoration of the wedding.
On 21 April a set of commemorative postage stamps, featuring the couple's official engagement photographs, was issued by Royal Mail.
The wedding was widely broadcast on television, internet, and radio in up to 180 countries. ITV, BBC, and CNN covered the ceremony and associated events live through the combined pool of footage from the BBC, Sky, and ITN to help cover the overall cost. In North America, which is five to nine hours behind British Summer Time, the wedding occurred during the time usually taken up by network breakfast television programmes, which expanded their normal length to allow for full coverage. NBC's Today began coverage at 4 am Eastern Time, and along with MSNBC, partnered with ITV. ABC partnered with BBC, CBS has its own live London affiliates, and Fox and Fox News Channel partnered with their sister network Sky News. The CBC and CTV had live coverage. Cable networks and radio also had live coverage. In Mexico, the wedding aired on Televisa and TV Azteca; all television stations in Mexico carrying the ceremony stayed on the air during the late night hours instead of normally signing off. The ABC also took the BBC feed in Australia, in addition with Pay TV UKTV. Coverage was also provided on the Seven Network, Nine Network and Network Ten. The ABC had planned to produce alternative commentary with The Chaser, but in response to these plans, the BBC barred the use of its footage for such a purpose, on orders from Clarence House. The royal wedding was also streamed live online on YouTube via The Royal Channel. In Serbia the wedding was broadcast on Radio Television of Serbia and B92 Info, while in China CCTV News and Phoenix Info News did so. In Portugal, the wedding was covered by RTP and TVI. The wedding was also widely followed through various cable and local channels in India and Pakistan. In the Philippines, the wedding was broadcast on ABS-CBN, GMA and TV5, with all three networks sending their own reporters at London. In Ireland the wedding was broadcast on RTE One and TV3. Marty Whelan and Mary Kennedy provided commentary for RTE Television, while TV3 took a live feed of ITV's coverage.
In the UK the National Grid reported a huge surge in demand for power after the service, equivalent to one million kettles being boiled, when the royal couple returned to Buckingham Palace. Viewership of the wedding was recorded by electricity use in Ontario, where, at the approximate moment Middleton arrived at Westminster Abbey, the Independent Electricity System Operator recorded a 300 megawatt drop in electricity use, which was attributed to "people going about their normal morning routines [stopping] whatever they were doing, rather than make breakfast or shower, and watch the TV".
The viewing figures for the event have been the subject of much speculation, with Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, estimating that two billion people would watch the wedding. Following the event, this figure was duly reported by the media, but was criticised by some news outlets for being inaccurate and unfounded. Estimated figures include a peak audience of 26.3 million viewers and a total of 36.7 million watching at least some part of the wedding coverage in the UK, while in the United States, the wedding drew an average audience of 22.8 million, with over 60 million tuning in at some point to watch some of the coverage. In India, a reported 42.1 million viewers tuned in, 9.9 million viewers in Germany, 9.6 million viewers in France, 5.22 million viewers watched the event in Canada with twelve million tuning in at some point, five million in Australia, and one million was expected in China, for an audience of 122 million viewers with at least a reach of 176 million viewers from a population pool of 3,126 million (approximately 45% of the world's population). Other reported figures put the global audience at 162 million viewers in eleven countries, drawing from 47% of the world's population. In addition to the television audiences, the ceremony attracted 72 million live streams and a reach of 101 million streams on YouTube across 188 countries. The wedding has been listed in the 2012 Guinness Book Of World Records for the record of Most Live Streams For A Single Event with its 72 million streams. It has been suggested that the "two billion" figure is little more than an educated guess, and that there are too many gaps in the worldwide TV measuring system to accurately audit global audience figures.
Tributes outside the United Kingdom
In the United States, the Empire State Building in New York City was lit in red, white, and blue, the colours of the Union Flag at sunset on 29 April to mark the wedding. The international Peace Bridge across the Niagara River between the U.S. and Canada at Buffalo, New York, and Fort Erie, Ontario, was lit in red, blue and gold, the colours of the royal crest.
An April 2011 poll of 2,000 British adults found that 35% of the public intended to watch the wedding on television while an equal proportion planned to ignore the event altogether. According to their reported plans, women were more than twice as likely (47%) to watch the event as men (23%). Early estimates following the ceremony indicated an estimated 24.5 million people in the United Kingdom watched the wedding on either BBC One or ITV1, giving those channels a 99.4% share of the terrestrial television audience as the service began, with the BBC's Live royal wedding website having 9 million hits, estimating over half the British population watched the wedding.
There were about 5,500 applications to hold royal wedding street parties across England and Wales, including 850 in London, one of which was hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron in Downing Street for charity workers and local children. The anti-monarchy campaign group Republic held an alternative street party in Holborn. The event had initially been blocked by Camden Council after businesses raised concerns about loss of trade.
A number of ceremonies and parties were held at places which had an intimate connection with the couple. In Scotland, about 2,000 people attended a party at the University of St Andrews, where the royal couple first met. Hundreds of people watched the ceremony on a big screen in Edinburgh's Festival Square. Welsh celebrations were led by Anglesey, where Prince William is a search and rescue pilot and where the couple will reside after the wedding. 2,600 people gathered to watch the event on big screens there, and around 200 street parties were organised throughout the rest of the country, including over 50 in Cardiff.
Independent Australia reported that, according to an ICM poll conducted by UK campaign group Republic, 79% of those questioned were either "largely indifferent" or "couldn't care less" about the wedding and that 1 in 3 believed the BBC's coverage was biased in favour of the royals.
Criticism and scepticism stemmed from the fact that, at a time of recession and rising unemployment in the UK, millions of pounds in tax funds were used for the wedding's security and ceremony. Emma Boon, campaign director for the taxpayers union TaxPayers’ Alliance, expressed distaste for the lavish cost of the wedding and noted, "Of course it should be an event for the whole nation to celebrate, but ordinary taxpayers should not be left with a bill fit for a king." Graham Smith, current Campaign Manager of Republic, also spoke out on the taxpayer's responsibility to the wedding.
The wedding had been subject to threats of violence and disruption. In February, security agencies, including MI5, identified "dissident Irish republican groups" as possible threats. The group Muslims Against Crusades announced plans for a "forceful demonstration" at the wedding, but later announced the abandonment of their planned protest. The English Defence League vowed to hold a counter-demonstration and promised 50 to 100 EDL members at each train station to block Muslim extremists in a "ring of steel".
Security operations and arrests
Sixty people arrested at the TUC rally on the March for the Alternative had bail conditions that prevented them entering central London over the wedding period.
On 28 April 2011, political activist Chris Knight and two others were arrested by Scotland Yard "on suspicion of conspiracy to cause public nuisance and breach of the peace". The three were planning a mock execution of Prince Andrew with a home-made guillotine in central London to coincide with the wedding. The guillotine was workable, but lacked a blade.
On the day of the wedding, the Metropolitan Police Service made "pre-emptive" moves, applying blanket stop-and-search powers and arresting fifty-seven people. This included thirteen anarchists arrested in possession of anti-monarchy placards and suspicious equipment. Five people, three of whom wearing zombie make-up, were arrested "on suspicion of planning a breach of the peace" when they entered a branch of Starbucks. At a peaceful protest in Soho Square, a man was arrested by plain clothes police. Chief Inspector John Dale claimed "He had articles on him to cause criminal damage". Police described the overall security operation as an "amazing success".
In Scotland, twenty-one people were arrested at an unofficial "street party" in Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow which saw "completely unacceptable levels" of drunkenness, according to Strathclyde Police. A taxi driver died on May 10 from injuries sustained when his cab was struck by a police van attending the Kelvingrove incident.
Despite reports that the couple would leave for their honeymoon the day after their wedding, Prince William immediately returned to his work as a search-and-rescue pilot, and the couple did not depart until 10 days after their wedding. The location of the honeymoon was initially kept secret, with not even Catherine knowing where they would be heading. However, speculation ran rampant, fueled by the knowledge that she wanted to go someplace warm and her appearances shopping for warm-weather clothing. Although the press speculated that they might be headed to locations such as South America, Jordan, and Kenya, the couple ultimately decided to honeymoon for 10 days on a secluded villa on a private island in the Seychelles. The length of the honeymoon was limited by William's RAF duties and the couple's official scheduled tour to Canada and the United States.