Couple to forge future of the British monarchy

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, is the newest member of an ancient institution

As she walked up the red carpeted long aisle, to the strains of a coronation anthem, in a church where one day she is due to be crowned Queen, the bride knew her life was being transformed.

She was marrying; acquiring not just one, but three titles; and she was being propelled into the heart of Prince William's long-surviving family.

The dress will be endlessly debated and discussed in the coming days, maybe even the coming years.

Other aspects of the occasion will also linger in the mind.

When Prince William struggled to place the ring on his wife's finger it was a scene which has been played out in so many other churches and venues, so many other times.

And their short journey from Buckingham Palace to Clarence House in an Aston Martin with balloons, an L Plate and a number plate which read "JU5T WED" is something others have done - though not necessarily in such a classy car.

When the Queen returned from the wedding service and remarked to someone, "that was amazing", it was a reminder that at the heart of this day has been a very human moment featuring two people pledging their lives to each other.


The canapes have been consumed at the afternoon reception, the crowds are beginning to diminish, and we are left with a fresh royal recruit - Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge.

It's a title which doesn't yet trip off the tongue. It soon will.

The wealthy middle-class 29-year-old from Berkshire is poised to inject youth, glamour and beauty into an ancient institution with pensioners at its helm. They won't object - as long as they're not too upstaged.

The House of Windsor, its power stripped away over the centuries, now survives on being noticed. It withers, if ignored.

So this moment is much more than just the personal celebration of a commitment of a duke to his duchess - important as that is, given the recent, painful history of royal marriages.

These occasions also help to reinvigorate the monarchy; they generate fresh, worldwide interest in its activities; and they offer the promise of another generation to come to sustain it.

Despite remarkable changes in attitudes since the Queen was crowned, opinion polls show a majority of the population still favour keeping things the way they are.

Of course, the support isn't unanimous. Republicans, who favour an elected head of state, argue the months of build-up to this day have forced people to think critically about the family the newest entrant has just married into.

The dominant feature though, today, has been the presence, in significant numbers in the country's capital of the couple's supporters, not their critics.

Together, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are embarking on married life. Together they hope to start a family.

Together they will forge the future direction of the British monarchy.