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It was perhaps the biggest wedding of the last decade. When Prince William and (formerly) Catherine Middleton, got married in 2011 at Westminster Abbey, they did so in front of the eyes of the world, who were all eager to see the university sweethearts finally make it official.
Given that Prince William is heir to the throne, the day was as official as perhaps they come. Much like his parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding, the day was formal, and adhered to the expected royal rules and conventions.
But although we all saw the ceremony take place on TV, very few of us know exactly what it was like to really be there.
Although the royal couple welcomed hundreds of guests, including other royal dignitaries, celebrities, and of course their friends and family, details of the wedding were, and have since been a closely guarded secret.
However, a former royal, Duncan Larcombe, was part of the select few to be invited to the prestigious event, and has recalled to Elle UK, what it was like to be at the biggest wedding of the century.
Duncan, who has followed Prince Harry and his engagements for over a decade, and is now writing a biography on him, has revealed how spectacular the event was, and some of the little details we weren’t privy to from our TV screens.
One particularly touching moment is something that perhaps resonates with grooms across the UK. According to Duncan, William was so nervous before Catherine’s arrival, that he needed to take a moment to compose himself – with little brother Prince Harry by his side, of course.
He recalls, “Before Kate arrived, William went to compose himself with Harry in a room just off Poet’s Corner (an area in Westminster Abbey). We were sat near there so they both walked straight past us and William looked absolutely terrified. They came out afterwards and gave a deep breath.”
Interestingly, Duncan also revealed that all guests at the wedding were treated exactly the same – despite some being royals themselves.
He revealed that all guests were sat in the exact same seats – despite different groups being kept together.
“Everyone was sat in the same sort of seats. You can have one of the world’s richest men sitting there in the same fold-out chair that Joe Bloggs was in, which was a nice touch.
“It was quite clear at the wedding that no matter if you were the Sultan of Brunei or a guy who’s been at Sandhurst with William, or a big Hollywood star, everyone got there early. I think for someone like Sir Elton John, who is normally one to be the centre of attention, it was probably quite humbling.”
But one person was of course given a bit more of a regal entrance – William’s grandmother, the Queen.
Duncan shared, “One thing you can’t do at a royal wedding is turn up after the Queen, as she will always be the second-to-last person to arrive after the bride.”
The former royal editor also revealed that the now-Duke and Duchess were determined to put their own stamp on the day – despite it inevitably being an important world event.
Although he revealed that the couple had a huge guest list “thrust upon them”, they did do a few things to make their big day unique.
Duncan shared, “William and Kate did look very happy. It was very obvious that while they had to go by protocol, absolutely everything they physically could have done to put their own stamp on the day, they did.
Sharing exactly what the couple did, he revealed, “I think the trees inside Westminster Abbey were Kate’s touch.
“You could see the little touches that were important to the bride and groom on a day that really wasn’t their’s, it was everybody’s. That’s probably one of the things about royal weddings.”
But while Catherine and William’s day was a huge moment, it seems fans and the public are all now eagerly looking forward to another royals big day – Prince Harry’s.
Although no engagement has been announced yet between him and girlfriend Meghan Markle, many are predicting that it’s certainly on the cards.
So what does Duncan, who spent over 10 years by the side of the royal whilst documenting his work, think Harry will do for his wedding?
“I would say that Harry’s wedding would probably be very different from William’s. William is the heir to the throne so it was a big national occasion, Harry will want to do everything he can to avoid that. William would have loved to avoid that but obviously he couldn’t.
“Harry’s will be really interesting to see where they choose and the scale of it. I’d be surprised if it’s not televised, I think they’ll have to do that compromise. It could be on a par with William and Kate’s as a television event because Harry’s popularity spans the globe.”
We can’t wait to find out!