Eyes on honeymoon after royal wedding joy

LONDON (Reuters) - Prince William and his new bride reveal their honeymoon destination on Saturday, after millions of people around the world tuned in to watch the couple tie the knot in a dazzling display of royal pageantry.

The prince and Kate Middleton, his 29-year-old girlfriend of nearly a decade, married in Westminster Abbey on Friday in the biggest royal wedding for 30 years.

A million cheering people crowded into central London to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds as they rode from the abbey to Queen Elizabeth’s Buckingham Palace in a 1902 open-topped state landau carriage.

Commentators praised the royal family for striking a balance between carefully choreographed grandeur -- military bands in black bearskin hats and household cavalrymen in shining breastplates -- and personal spontaneity.

“Nothing else anywhere has the archetypal quality of what was shown in Westminster Abbey, the same closeness between what is unspeakably grand and what is ordinarily human,” wrote Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph.

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William, 28, greeted fans camped out ahead of the wedding, and in another surprise drove his bride the short journey from Buckingham Palace to St James’s Palace in his father’s open-top Aston Martin with the licence plate “JU5T WED.”


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 newspapers 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 the southwest coast.

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Bookmaker Paddy Power has Mustique as the favourite, 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 king and queen living in the full glare of the media spotlight.

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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 public, particularly during austere economic times.

But Middleton’s background -- she is the first commoner to marry a prince close to the 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.

Not that the wedding was high on everyone’s agenda.

“The royal family have too many rights in a country where other people are having their state rights withdrawn. We are funding a wedding of two people I’ve never met and I don’t care about at all,” said London charity worker Jessamy Barker, 29.

Middleton has been given the title Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge, after the queen made her grandson William the Duke of Cambridge to mark the marriage.

Additional reporting by Tim Castle