One kiss was not enough.
As a sea of well-wishers roared their approval, the newlywed duke and duchess of Cambridge felt the people’s love—and returned it. It was the second kiss that sealed the deal, a marriage the dean of Westminster had just pronounced a “mystical union,” and one that succeeded in uniting not just a young man and his winsome bride but a monarchy with its subjects.
There they stood, awkwardly assembled on the Buckingham Palace balcony—the royal family in all their silly-hatted glory. Echoes of a similar scene 30 years ago hung heavily in the air, until Prince William acted with the kind of open-hearted spontaneity he could only have inherited from that sadly absent guest.
Beneath all the titles, he is his mother’s son. On his wedding day, the signs of it were everywhere—in his gentle humour, his humanity, and most of all in his choice of bride: a young woman so radiantly poised and yet resolutely normal, entering calmly into a marriage—and a fate—she could never have imagined as a child. For William, of course, it was different. As a boy, he told his mother that when he grew up he wanted to be a police officer so he could protect her. Instead, as his cheeky younger brother pointed out at the time, he must be king. But that protective instinct, the impulse to attend to and make the world safe for the woman he loves, is still very much in evidence today.
In a day of pealing bells, blasting trumpets and royal salutes, the real story was told through the smallest gestures. William’s words to Kate, when she finally reached the altar and relinquished her white-knuckled grip on her father’s hand: “You look beautiful.” His conspiratorial, tension-diffusing joke to his father-in-law—“We were supposed to have just a small, family affair.”
And later, when the bride got into the carriage, it was not to one of the many uniformed attendants to whom she chose to pass her bouquet, but her husband, who accepted as if it were the most natural thing in the world for a future monarch to stand clutching a spray of lily of the valley on his wedding day.
And in a way, it was. When Prince William was just 15, he lost the woman he loved most. Today, almost twice that age, he has gained another he can love and nurture for years to come. Beyond all the media noise, the planning and the pomp, the couple’s mutual affection and admiration shone through. And in this simple, enduring truth, we cannot help but wish them well.