Prince William and Kate Middleton tied the knot ten years ago today – April 29, 2011.
Lovers of St. Andrews University pledged their dedication in front of 1,900 guests – a mix of friends and family, world leaders, royals and elite society – after many years of meetings and a proposal in Kenya.
An estimated 2 billion people from around the world tune in for the 11 a.m. local time ceremony, while another million fans lined the streets leading to Westminster Abbey. Supporters have gathered at watch parties around the world, awaiting an eager first glimpse of Kate’s wedding dress. After all, fans of the British Royal Family hadn’t been so excited since Princess Diana and Prince Charles were married in 1981.
And, after months of anticipation, the wedding day went according to plan with a lot of pomp and circumstance. The traditionally suffocating monarchy suddenly felt fresh and young, as the couple exchanged smiles and William reportedly even made a joke before the ceremony.
Scroll below to relive some of the most exciting moments from the 2011 ceremony and celebration that you may have forgotten – or simply missed:
1. Kate Middleton channeled the late Grace Kelly of Monaco
The Duchess of Cambridge’s dress was one of the day’s best-kept secrets. Kate apparently channeled the wedding dress of the late Grace Kelly of Monaco in 1956 into a stunning creation by English designer Sarah Burton and Alexander McQueen. The Duchess’s dress, veil, hair, and makeup (which she reportedly did herself) changed wedding trends for years to come and successfully ushered in the era of long-sleeved marriage.
2. Pippa Middleton became a global sensation overnight
While much of the pre-wedding tabloid coverage focused on Kate’s’ commoner ‘status and her parents’ party supplies company, there wasn’t much global interest in her sister. , Pippa Middleton, until the wedding day. After the press focused on Pippa’s elegant bridesmaid dress and, of course, her famous behind, she unexpectedly rose to stardom overnight. The 37-year-old later wrote in her first book that it’s “surprising to get worldwide recognition … because of your sister, your brother-in-law and your butt.”
3. The fascinators of Princesses Eugenie and Béatrice caused a sensation
As people watched what celebrities like Victoria, David Beckham and Elton John wore, the two royal sisters made headlines for their unique Philip Treacy headgear. Their fascinators have become a source of fascination around the world and remain two of the most memorable wedding day looks.
4. Real trees lined the interior of Westminster Abbey
Among the 30,000 flowers of Westminster Abbey, there were eight trees 20 feet tall. The country maples and charms came from royal estates and local producers, according to the abbey.
5. William told Kate “you are beautiful” at the altar
After Kate and her father, Michael Middleton, walked down the aisle, they joined Princes Harry and William, who were waiting for them at the altar. William turned to Kate and seemed to say “you are beautiful”, as the two smiled at each other. The sweet moment, of course captured by cameras, also shows Harry smiling and looking at his sister-in-law.
6. Prince William did not ring his wedding ring
Although there was a bit of difficulty when William went to put on Kate Middleton’s wedding ring, made of traditional Welsh gold, he didn’t get a band himself. A palace aide at the time reportedly attributed William’s decision to forgo a ring to “personal preference.”
7. And there really was only one private moment in the day
William and Kate had the rare chance to get away from the cameras, worshiping the crowds and wedding guests right after their ceremony, when they signed the register at St. Edward the Confessor’s Chapel in front of only a handful of people, Town & Country reported. Martin Castledine, Dean’s Orchard at Westminster Abbey, was there and told the magazine it was an ‘informal family time’.
8. The audience wanted “one more kiss” and they got it
The newly titled Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stepped onto the balcony of Buckingham Palace and kissed in front of the frenzied crowd. When well-wishers began to sing “another kiss,” William and Kate happily agreed.
9. And a little bridesmaid stole the show
From the balcony of Buckingham Palace, little Grace van Cutsem, a 3-year-old bridesmaid, made an invaluable face and put her hands over her ears amid the noise of the crowds and Royal Air planes Force flying above.
10. The newlyweds’ car had a very festive license plate
Royals, they’re (sort of) like us! After a reception at Buckingham Palace, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hopped into Prince Charles’ 1969 Aston Martin Volante on their way to Clarence House for late-night festivities. The car was adorned with balloons, ribbons and a “JU5T WED” license plate.
11. Kate stunned in her second wedding day look
While a lot of attention is paid to Kate’s gorgeous wedding dress – and rightly so – her second look at Sarah Burton has turned heads at the reception festivities. William later changed into a tuxedo.
12. And Ellie Goulding performed at the reception
The singer, who was once linked to Prince Harry, reportedly performed “Your Song” for William and Kate’s first dance and also sang hits like “Starry Eyed” at the reception.
For a full recap of Kate and William’s wedding ceremony, watch the video below: