Third Anniversary Of Royal Wedding
Three years on from the amazing spectacle of William and Catherine’s royal wedding, the couple are now firmly established as part of the working Royal Family – an institution many Brits are fond and proud of. As they continue their tour of New Zealand and Australia with young Prince George, we have a look back at their lives together and, of course, some of the ways in which Scotland is special to the happy young couple!
Kate and Wills first met in St Andrews, a beautiful town on the Fife coast with a strong history of golfing and Scotland’s oldest university, founded in 1413! It was at St Andrews University that the couple were first introduced, and within a year moved into a shared flat with two other friends. It was about a year after this that the British media first suspected that their relationship had progressed from friendship to romance, but during the entirety of their university careers, William and Kate were able to maintain an excellent level of privacy thanks to their close friends and the support of the Royal Family and the University.
This changed upon their shared graduation in 2005, and marked the beginning of a turbulent period in their relationship, as they struggled with a huge amount of media attention. After a brief split in 2007, they reconciled and became stronger than ever. In late 2010 their engagement was officially announced and just five months later, they married.
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The wedding – as I’m sure everyone remembers – was spectacular. Taking place in Westminster Abbey, the ceremony was watched by nearly 2, 000 people in person, and millions more around the globe – and Kate and William of course took part in some of the traditions of the British Isles. Unusually for a member of the Royal Family, William named his brother Harry as his Best Man, instead of the usual term “supporter”, used by Royal males for this role. Kate likewise chose her sister, Pippa, as maid of honour, another traditional role, and these two were responsible for planning their siblings’ stag and hen parties respectively. On the day all of the bridal party looked picture perfect; Harry in his full Blues and Royal dress uniform complemented Prince William, who also wore one of his military uniforms, his choice was that of the mounted officer of the Irish Guard rank which he holds. The bride wore an already iconic satin and lace creation from the British designer Sarah Burton, working for the Alexander McQueen label, and Pippa also wore a beautiful gown from the same designer.
Kate also observed the tradition of “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” – the “something blue”, a piece of blue ribbon stitched into her bodice, might be a classic choice; but the antique lace, new Royal crest diamond earrings, and borrowed tiara – from the Queen no less – might be beyond the reach of most brides! After the ceremony the newly-weds were whisked off in a luxurious and stately horse-drawn carriage to Buckingham Palace, where the Queen hosted a luncheon reception for a number of guests who represented William and Kate’s private and public lives – including many heads of state, religious leaders, and celebrities. After this, the happy couple and their attendants, including four bridesmaids and two pageboys, appeared on the Palace balconies with their parents, to greet the crowds of well-wishers who had gathered outside, then moved on to have a completely private dinner and evening reception for only their friends and loved ones which went on, like many weddings, ‘til the early hours of the next morning!
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In keeping with their relaxed approach to public life, William drove himself and new wife to their official residence, at the time Clarence House, after the luncheon reception to change outfits and get some time alone. In keeping with his fun approach to public life, Prince Harry made sure it was decorated in full “Just Married” fashion, including ribbons, balloons and novelty license-plate! This added a great touch of fun to what was, publically at least, a very sombre and grand occasion, in keeping with the status of the Royal Family and the seriousness with which the couple took their vows of marriage.
Immediately after the wedding, William and Kate were given new titles. They are mainly known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but when in Ireland are known as Baron and Lady Carrickfergus, and when in Scotland they are the Earl and Countess of Strathearn. Strathearn is valley leading between the rivers Earn and Tay, very close to St Andrews where they met, so the Queen’s decision to take this previously defunct title out of retirement and confer it upon her grandson and his new bride truly shows how understanding she is of the emotional significance St Andrews and Scotland has to the couple.
Since their marriage, the young royals have represented the British Monarchy abroad on three tours now; firstly to the US and Canada just a few months after their marriage, then Singapore, Malaysia, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands the following year as part of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. As Kate was soon expecting a child, they took a break from travelling for a time, but soon after the birth of their son, Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, Prince William withdrew from active military service and the Cambridge family now work as full time royals. This is their first major tour since the birth of little George, and in another sign of the modernity of their approach to life, he is accompanying his parents on their tour Down Under – and even attending events rather than being left with a nanny! Overall, it can’t be denied that Prince William and the Duchess Catherine continue to breathe new life into the British monarchy, and as they continue to take on public roles in speaking out for issues as diverse as children’s hospitals, conservation, the arts and many other charitable endeavours, their popularity continues to grow.