Royal wedding ceremony gets under way
London – The wedding of the century is underway at Westminster Abbey in London.
Kate Middleton left a London hotel on Friday for Westminster Abbey, where she will marry Prince William in a royal occasion of dazzling pomp and pageantry that has attracted a huge global audience.
After weeks of fevered speculation in the fashion press, details of her wedding dress were revealed as she stepped into a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI limousine for the abbey to marry and become Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cambridge.
Kate Middleton's ivory and lace wedding dress was designed by Sarah Burton, creative director at the fashion house Alexander McQueen, the palace announced on Friday as she entered Westminster Abbey.
"Miss Middleton wished for her dress to combine tradition and modernity with the artistic vision that characterises Alexander McQueen's work," officials said in a statement.
"Miss Middleton worked closely with Sarah Burton in formulating the design of her dress."
Bells pealed loudly and trumpets blared as 1 900 guests poured into the historic abbey, coronation site for the monarchy since William the Conqueror was crowned in 1066.
Around her the crowd entered into the festive spirit on a chilly day by wearing national flags and even fake wedding dresses and tiaras. Hundreds of police officers, some armed, dotted the royal routes in a major security operation.
Tens of thousands more crammed the flag-lined streets of London to catch a glimpse of marching military bands in black bearskin hats, cavalrymen in shining breastplates and ornate carriages that will carry royal figures from the service.
A large gathering is expected outside the queen's London residence, Buckingham Palace, to cheer on the married couple as they appear on the balcony for a much-anticipated public kiss.
After the marriage, the couple are expected to leave the abbey in the 1902 open-topped state landau carriage for Buckingham Palace, where there will be a reception followed by a smaller party for some 300 guests.