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Wedding Celebrations Held in Streets Across Britain

One festive party on the streets of London to celebrate the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, April 29, 2011
One festive party on the streets of London to celebrate the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, April 29, 2011

For those not lucky enough to get an invitation to the royal wedding itself, there were thousands of street parties across Britain on Friday. With the day declared a public holiday, many people dressed up for the occasion and joined the celebrations.

In parks and streets across London, people turned out in the hundreds of thousands to celebrate the royal wedding.

Here in Clapham Common - just a few miles from Westminster Abbey - the service played on a big screen to 2,000 flag-waving fans.

For a country normally reserved about overt shows of patriotism, Britain became a sea of Union Jack flags.

As Prince William and Catherine Middleton read their vows, cheers rippled across the crowd. Partygoers we spoke to had nothing but praise for the newly-wed couple.

“Lovely! She looked brilliant!”

“She looked absolutely stunning. Not over the top at all.”

“It’s been really, really good. And everyone here, too, sitting silently and listening to the vows. It feels very British.”

“I didn’t think I’d feel so moved by it. Neither of us did. But it was actually quite emotional.”

From fish and chips served from a traditional London bus, to strawberries and cream, every facet of British culture seemed to be on show.

Thousands of street parties have taken place across Britain. Battersea in London is one of the most diverse communities in the capital. Here neighbors and businesses came together to celebrate - and in some cases, make a bit of money.

Party organizer Valeria Ruzzon said people have turned out whether they’re interested in the wedding or not. "This is not about having an opinion about the monarchy, this is about having a party on a day that we should all enjoy because we live in this country. So it’s really about embracing the culture we live in. I’m Italian, I’ve been here for 20 years but I couldn’t beat it, so I decided to join it!”

This also was a chance to show off some fancy outfits - from the patriotic to the hopeful.
VOA found one young woman wandering around in a wedding dress looking for her own Prince William.

“And I am actually called Kate," she said. "No, I really am called Kate! It’s the only time in my life that I’ve had to argue, ‘No, I really am called Kate!’”

Many of the street celebrations were local, low-key affairs, a chance for neighbors to get together and chat in a city that’s often accused of lacking community spirit.

For the younger crowd, the party went on into the night. Many said they planned to keep going all weekend. These young women from the Netherlands told VOA they have another idea.

“We’re going to find Harry, that’s our plan actually," said one.

“Harry, if you’re available, we’re single!” exclaimed another.

It seems many people are already making plans for the next royal wedding.