LONDON, MAY 2, 2011 (STAR) By AP (Photo is loading... Guests wait inside Westminster Abbey where Prince William and Kate Middleton were wed yesterday. AP)

An elegant, tiara-bedecked Kate Middleton swept down the aisle to marry Prince William at Westminster Abbey as fans packed the streets of London, hoping to snatch a glimpse of a historic royal wedding expected to revitalize the British monarchy.

Some 2 billion people across the globe were believed to have tuned in as the future king and queen of England started their lives as husband and wife with the two simple words "I will." The couple looked nervous but happy and recited their vows without stumbling before Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

A million well-wishers – as well as some protesters – flooded into the areas surrounding Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and other London landmarks. Crowds were up at dawn waving flags for television cameras under steely gray skies and cool temperatures. Cheers erupted as huge television screens began broadcasting at Trafalgar Square and Hyde Park.

"Will, it's not too late!" said one sign held aloft by an admirer dressed as a bride.

Middleton's ivory wedding gown with lace applique was designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, while her hair was half-up, half-down and decorated with a tiara. William wore the scarlet tunic of an Irish Guards officer, sending a strong signal of support for the armed forces and reinforcing his new image as a dedicated military man.

Against all odds, the sun came out as Middleton emerged from the Rolls-Royce in her wedding gown.

William and Kate received their first royal wedding present from the queen on Friday: the titles duke and duchess of Cambridge.

Maid of honor Pippa Middleton wore a simple column dress and naturally styled hair, while best man Prince Harry was dressed in formal military attire. The flower girls, in cream dresses with full skirts and flowers in their hair, walked down hand-in-hand with Pippa.

The iconic abbey was airy and calm, the long aisle leading to the altar lined with maple and hornbeam trees as light streamed in through the high arched windows.

Plumage of Amazonian variety filled the cavernous abbey as some 1,900 guests filed in, the vast majority of women in hats, some a full two feet across or high. Some looked like dinner plates. One woman wore a bright red fascinator that resembled a flame licking her cheek. A BBC commentator noted there were some "very odd choices" in fashion walking through the abbey door.

Most men, however, looked elegant and suave in long tails, some highlighted by formal plaid pants and vests. Others wore military uniforms.

All the clamoring over every detail – the wedding dress, her hair, their titles, the romantic kiss on the balcony, the honeymoon – was finally being answered. But the biggest question won't be resolved for years: Will this royal couple live happily ever after?

Will their union endure like that of William's grandparents – Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, now in its 64th year – or crumble in a spectacular and mortifying fashion like that of his own parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana?

Recent history augurs badly: The first marriages of three of the queen's four children ended in divorce. But William and Kate seem to glow with happiness in each other's company, and unlike Charles and Diana they've had eight years to figure out that they want to be together.

Still, the fate of their marriage depends on private matters impossible for the public to gauge, since any wedding is fundamentally about two people. Will their lives together, starting with such high hopes, be blessed by good fortune, children, good health, productive work?

Much will depend on whether 28-year-old William and 29-year-old Kate can summon the things every couple needs: patience, love, wit and wisdom. But they face the twin burdens of fame and scrutiny. Money, power, beauty – it can all go wrong if not carefully nurtured.

These are the thorny issues upon which the fate of the monarchy rests, as the remarkable queen, now 85, inevitably ages and declines.

After the church ceremony, the royal-couple will travel from the abbey to Buckingham Palace in an open-topped carriage for two parties, one hosted by the queen for 650 guests, and an evening dinner dance for 300 close friends.

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip have promised to go away for the evening, leaving the younger royals free to party the night away – and Harry to make his best man's speech away from his octogenarian grandparents' ears.

Hundreds of street parties were underway as Britons celebrated part of the heritage that makes them unique – and overseas visitors come to witness traditions they've admired from afar.

Brenda Hunt-Stevenson, a 56-year-old retired teacher from Newfoundland, Canada, said there was only one thing on her mind. "I want to see that kiss on that balcony. That's going to clinch it for me. I don't care what Kate wears. She is beautiful anyway."

The celebration was British to the core, from the freshly polished horse-drawn carriages to the sausages and lager served at street parties. Some pubs were opening early, offering beer and English breakfasts – sausages, beans, toast, fried eggs and bacon.

A number of famous people were left off the guest list, including President Barack Obama and Britain's last two prime ministers, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, in a snub to their Labour Party, which is not as strong a backer of the monarchy as the ruling Conservatives. The invitation for Syria's ambassador was rescinded because of Britain's unhappiness with the bloody government crackdown there.

The public festivities reflected Britons' continuing fascination with the royal family, which despite its foibles remains a powerful symbol of unity and pride.

"It's very exciting," Prime Minister David Cameron said before he entered the church. "I went on to the mall last night and met some people sleeping on the streets. There's a sense of excitement that you can't really put a word to... It's a chance to celebrate."

The royals fervently hope that a joyous union for the second-in-line to the British throne will rub out the squalid memories of his parents embarrassing each other and the nation with confessions of adultery as their marriage slid toward divorce.

And there is no small irony in the sight of Americans waking up before dawn (on the East Coast) or staying up all night (West Coast) after their fellow countrymen fought so fiercely centuries ago to throw off the yoke of the British monarchy and proclaim a country in which all men are created equal.

Brenda Mordic, 61, from Columbus, Georgia, clutched a Union Jack with her friend Annette Adams, 66.

"We came for the excitement of everything," Mordic said. "We watched William grow up. I came for Prince Charles' wedding to Diana and I came for Princess Diana's funeral. We love royalty, England and London."

Live streams of royal wedding reign online By AP and James Mananghaya (The Philippine Star) Updated May 01, 2011 12:00 AM

(Photo is loading... Prince William and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, drive away from Buckingham Palace in a convertible after their wedding in London Friday. AP)

NEW YORK – Prince William and Kate Middleton may have had a traditional wedding, but the Internet traffic that accompanied the ceremony was something very new for the royal family.

Millions followed the affair in live streams on their computers, all the while commenting on social media sites. Among the many outlets webcasting the event was the royal family itself, whose YouTube page offered live video and tweets from Clarence House, the prince's official residence.

Akamai Technologies Inc., which delivers about 20 percent of the world's Internet traffic, said global page views for the roughly 100 news portals for which it delivers content peaked at nearly 5.4 million a minute Friday morning.

That was good enough for the sixth largest amount of traffic ever, but well shy of the record of 10.4 million page views a minute set last June 24 during the 2010 World Cup.

Still, those numbers were very high considering that the wedding was so ubiquitous on TV and that it occurred, unlike the World Cup record day, when many people in North American and the United Kingdom were not at work, where computer-viewing is often a necessity.

Friday was a national holiday for the UK, and the ceremony took place early morning in the US.

For Filipinos living in the UK, the wedding was an occasion for them to unite and celebrate.

The wedding was a public holiday in the UK, giving millions of Britons and foreigners like Filipinos the opportunity to watch the event in Central London, from Buckingham Palace, the official residence of Queen Elizabeth, to Westminster Abbey, if not personally, on live television and streaming on their computers.

There was some evidence, though, that the wedding may have been live-streamed in record numbers. Because it was streamed on so many outlets, a total figure was hard to come by.

Akamai said that based on the approximately 25 broadcasters for which it delivered streams, the highest viewer count exceeded that of the World Cup traffic it supported.

Livestream, which partnered with The Associated Press, UK Press Association, CBS and Entertainment Tonight for its live stream, said it surpassed its own record with, at one point, more than 300,000 concurrent live streams.

Yahoo! said it experienced its largest traffic for a live video event, surpassing its audience for Michael Jackson's funeral by 21 percent.

The royal wedding was streamed by, among others,, NBC's "Today Show" website and Fox. ABC streamed its coverage on Hulu and on Yahoo. CBS, PBS and ET also streamed the event on Ustream. E! streamed its coverage on Facebook.

Facebook said more than 6.8 million people globally commented on the wedding through public status updates within the past 24 hours, as of Friday afternoon.

On the social media site in the UK, David Beckham's arrival prompted one of the largest surges in discussion with 9,000 mentions of his name in 20 minutes.

All the traffic caused some problems.

Web performance site AlertSite monitored 15 sites during the wedding. It found that while YouTube's homepage had 100 percent availability, the Royal Wedding channel had 74 percent availability and slower response time. The highest amount of response time, of the sites surveyed by AlertSite, came from, and

The BBC said in a statement that it was "experiencing some technical issues with BBC Online due to the sheer weight of traffic which may cause the site to be slower than normal in some cases."

The wedding day online audience was a culmination of rising Web traffic. There were 2.1 million tweets about the wedding over the last week. Google said that in the month of April, searches for "royal wedding" increased 90 percent. On April 25, searches on Google for "Kate Middleton" overtook those for "Lady Gaga."

And on eBay, some 3,000 items related to the wedding were sold in April.

Watchers are now focused on where the couple would spend their honeymoon after millions of people around the world tuned in to watch the couple tie the knot in a dazzling display of royal pageantry.

Like other details of the wedding, including the designer of Middleton's dress, the honeymoon venue is a closely kept secret, though that has not stopped everyone from guessing.

Suggestions have included locations as varied as the Seychelles, Kenya, Mustique, an island on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the Greek island of Corfu, a villa in Tuscany and the Scilly Isles off England's southwest coast.

Bookmaker Paddy Power has Mustique as the favorite, followed by Jordan, the Seychelles and Australia.

The intense speculation over the couple's every move underlines the pressure they will face as the future British king and queen living in the full glare of the media spotlight.

Uncomfortable parallels have been drawn between Middleton and William's hugely popular mother Princess Diana, who was hounded by paparazzi right up to her death in a Paris car crash in 1997 aged just 36.

Her death, and divorce from Prince Charles the year before, marked a low point for the royal family, which has also been embroiled in scandal and seen by many as out of touch with the British public, particularly during austere economic times.

But Middleton's background - she is the first commoner to marry a prince close to the British throne in over 350 years - and William's personable style have helped reverse the monarchy's rating in recent opinion polls, at least for now.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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