LONDON - (AP) - An elegant, tiara-bedecked Kate Middleton sweptdown the aisle to marry Prince William at Westminster Abbey as fanspacked the streets of London on Friday, hoping to snatch a glimpseof a historic royal wedding expected to revitalize the Britishmonarchy.
As the future king and queen of England began their lives ashusband and wife with the simple words "I will," some 2 billionpeople across the globe were believed to have tuned in. The couplelooked nervous but happy and recited their vows without stumblingbefore Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
A million well-wishers - as well as some protesters - floodedinto central London, around Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbeyand other landmarks. Crowds were up at dawn waving flags fortelevision cameras under steely gray skies and cool temperatures.Cheers erupted as huge television screens began broadcasting atTrafalgar Square and Hyde Park.
The biggest secret of the day - Middleton's wedding gown -prompted swoons of admiration as she stepped out of a Rolls-Roycewith her father. Against all odds, the sun emerged at that exactmoment.
The ivory and white satin gown - with its low neckline, highlace collar, long lacy sleeves and a train over 2-meters (yards)long - was designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen.Middleton's hair was half-up, half-down and decorated with dramaticveil and a tiara on loan from Queen Elizabeth II.
William wore the scarlet tunic of an Irish Guards officer,sending a strong signal of support for the armed forces andreinforcing his new image as a dedicated military man.
Hours earlier, the couple received their first royal weddingpresent from the queen: the titles duke and duchess of Cambridge.
Maid of honor Pippa Middleton wore a simple column dress andnaturally styled hair, while best man Prince Harry was dressed informal military attire. The flower girls, in cream dresses withfull skirts and flowers in their hair, walked down hand-in-handwith Pippa.
The queen, of course, wore a soft yellow hat and coat dress,just like the bookies had predicted.
All the details - the wedding dress, her hair, their titles, theromantic kiss on the balcony, the honeymoon - were finally beinganswered. But the biggest question won't be resolved for years:Will this royal couple live happily ever after?
Will their union endure like that of William's grandparents -Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, now in its 64th year - orcrumble in a spectacular and mortifying fashion like that of hisown parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana?
Recent history augurs badly: The first marriages of three of thequeen's four children ended in divorce. But William and Kate seemto glow with happiness in each other's company, and unlike Charlesand Diana they've had eight years to figure out that they want tobe together.
Much will depend on whether 28-year-old William and 29-year-oldKate can summon the things every couple needs: patience, love, witand wisdom. But they face the twin burdens of fame and scrutiny.Money, power, beauty - it can all go wrong if not carefullynurtured.
After the church ceremony, the royal-couple traveled from theabbey to Buckingham Palace in an open-topped carriage for twoparties, one hosted by the queen for 650 guests, and an eveningdinner dance for 300 close friends.
A number of famous people were left off the guest list,including President Barack Obama and Britain's last two primeministers, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown of the Labour Party, whichis not as strong a backer of the monarchy as the rulingConservatives. That snub might resonate for years among Labourvoters.