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Prince William marries Kate while billions watch worldwide
LONDON -- With not one but two kisses and tender whispered words, Prince William and Kate Middleton smiled and blushed Friday as they started their life as future king and queen. A day of seamless pageantry inspired hopes that this royal couple might live happily ever after.
They appeared at ease throughout their wedding day, with William fighting back giggles at times, while Kate's smile lit up television screens, especially when her new husband leaned over to say, "You look beautiful."
Their intimacy stood in sharp contrast to the lack of chemistry between a wooden Prince Charles and Diana Spencer 30 years ago when they began a marriage that ultimately collapsed in tabloid headlines and turned many Britons against the monarchy.
A million people lined the procession route from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace, many crying with joy. Cheers went up as the couple exchanged the traditional kiss on the balcony, followed by chants of "One more kiss!" The couple waved and smiled and, to a frenzy of delight, obliged.
An estimated 2 billion people tuned into the live broadcast in what may have been the most-viewed event in history.
The security operation was the largest since Charles and Diana's 1981 wedding, and the day went off without a hitch. Police dispersed scattered protests from anti-monarchists and anarchists and arrested 55 people for offenses including drunkenness, breach of peace, and theft, but the mood was overwhelmingly celebratory.
Many praised the couple's rare combination of humility, humor and grace. Kate was a commoner from a wealthy but middle-class family who actually worked for a living after university; William has long had his mother's touch in connecting to the public, and surprised fans who slept on the pavement overnight by personally thanking them Thursday for braving the cold.