The married couple, who officially became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Friday morning, smiled and waved before thousands of screaming spectators and a worldwide audience of more than 2 billion people as they made the customary post-wedding appearance on the palace balcony.
In the most carefully choreographed of weddings — with every moment planned to the second — the couple’s balcony kiss was the one wildcard, and it did not disappoint. The heir to the British throne first exchanged a short peck with his beloved bride and then leaned in to kiss her again about two minutes later. The Abbey bells rang, the overhead fighter planes hummed and heart-shaped balloons floated above. The crowd erupted in cheers and became a sea of waving flags.
At Westminster Abbey, William, 28, and Middleton, 29, held hands, gazed into each other’s eyes and exchanged vows as if they were not surrounded by 1,900 guests in the historic cathedral. Middleton glowed in an ivory and white satin wedding gown, covered in delicate lace appliqué and full skirt, wearing a tiara. The only major moment missing from the fairytale service was a kiss.
Unlike most wedding ceremonies in the United States where the bride and groom kiss at the altar, royal newlyweds abstain from kissing during the service. Even outside the church, the kiss had long been viewed as an intimate and private moment until Prince William’s parents, Charles and Diana, broke with tradition and spontaneously pecked on the balcony following their nuptials almost 30 years ago
William and Middleton’s first kiss as a married couple was short and sweet but seemed more natural than Charles and Diana’s. Two minutes later, the newlyweds kissed again, and William blushed ever so slightly.
The world weighed in on the iconic kiss on Twitter, with 97 percent of tweets dubbing the smooches a “#RoyalSuccess” versus a “#RoyalMess.”
Watch a special two-hour edition of “20/20” tonight at 9 p.m. ET for a look back at all the highlights from the royal wedding with Barbara Walters.
After their balcony appearance, William and Middleton will attend a brief reception, hosted by the queen. They will return to the palace tonight to dance and celebrate, and will spend their first night as a married couple at Buckingham Palace.