Saturday, April 30, 2011

Britons take to the street with wedding fever

Miles of bunting were draped over Britain Friday as the country marked the royal wedding with thousands of street parties, taking advantage of a public holiday to let down their hair.

About 5,500 groups of residents asked permission to hold street parties on the day, including one in Downing Street hosted by the prime minister, David Cameron, whose wife Samantha provided homemade cakes.

In the south London district of Battersea, souvenir stands and cocktails bars did a roaring business to the tunes of a Jamaican orchestra, as local residents threw open their doors for one of the biggest parties in the capital.

Crowds gathered around a giant screen to watch Prince William marry Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey, with many exclaiming in delight when the bride emerged, radiant in an ivory satin and lace dress.

‘She is so beautiful,’ sighed one French tourist. ‘William, say yes!’ cried another voice from the crowd as the couple stood up to say their vows.

Infused with the carnival spirit, onlookers clutching beers, glasses of champagne and royal flags enthusiastically sang along with the marriage ceremony hymns, such as ‘Jerusalem’, and of course the national anthem.

Wellwishers mark marriage at Paris Diana shrine

As millions around the world watched Prince William marry Kate Middleton in London on Friday, in Paris a small number of well-wishers remembered his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

Before the wedding began someone laid a single pink rose under the ‘Flame of Freedom’ statue at the Pont d’Alma underpass where Diana died in a car crash in August 1997, a spot which has become an unofficial shrine in her memory.

‘Dear Diana, thinking of you on this special day,’ read a handwritten note.

Nearby, a visitor who signed her name as Linda had left a poem on a laminated sheet of paper.

‘Dear Diana,’ part of it read. ‘We know that up above your light is shining through. And that you’ll be right beside them when they say ‘Yes, I do’.’

William, who married Kate in Westminster Abbey on Friday, was only 15 when his mother died in the Paris accident.

The usual small trickle of tourists filed past the flame under cloudy skies, but none said they had come specially to mark the wedding day.

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