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royal wedding Monday, 21 June, 1999, 23:22 GMT 00:22 UK
Radiant Sophie marries her prince
Edward and Sophie: The Earl and Countess of Wessex
Edward and Sophie: The Earl and Countess of Wessex
Prince Edward has married Sophie Rhys-Jones in a ceremony at St George's Chapel in Windsor.

Royal Wedding
A relaxed and confident Edward winked at his radiant bride-to-be as she arrived at the altar for the last royal wedding of the millennium.

Both the prince and his wife faultlessly delivered their vows - including the bride's promise to "obey" her husband - although Edward appeared to experience some difficulty putting on Sophie's ring.

And the couple only exchanged their first kiss when they were out of sight of the congregation and television cameras, in the ambulatory of the chapel.

The bride is now styled Her Royal Highness, the Countess Wessex, in accordance with her husband's new title of the Earl of Wessex. The Queen revived the 11th Century title in honour of the wedding.

Edward will also be given the Dukedom of Edinburgh after the death of the Queen and the present Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip.

Cheers and applause

The royal couple beamed broadly as they were greeted on the steps of the chapel by the cheers and applause of an international crowd of well-wishers.

A procession of open-topped, horse-drawn carriages carried Edward and Sophie to the reception in the St George's Hall in Windsor Castle, past crowds of several thousand people who clapped and shouted messages of good luck.

Married before friends and family
The rain - a major concern in the morning - held off for the whole ceremony.

In fact, Edward walked to the chapel in brilliant sunshine some 20 minutes before the wedding began, accompanied by his two supporters, Prince Charles and Prince Andrew.

His bride arrived traditionally late, at a minute after 1700 BST. After a moment spent properly arranging her much-anticipated wedding dress, Sophie climbed the 22 steps to the chapel accompanied by a fanfare from the band of the Royal Marines.

Pearl necklace

The dress, by designer Samantha Shaw, consisted of a long, fitted coat with long sleeves and an ivory train, made from hand-dyed silk organza and hand-dyed silk crepe, with rows of pearls and crystal beading.

In total, 325,000 cut-glass and pearl beads went into its design.

She also wore a diamond tiara from the Queen's private collection and a pearl necklace that Edward gave her to mark the occasion. She gave the prince an 18-carat gold hunter pocket watch.

At the couple's request, the wedding was intended to be primarily for family and friends and did not follow the pattern of previous royal weddings.

Hat ban

Among the many departures from convention, guests were asked to wear "evening dress" and no hats.

However, the Queen Mother, who entered via one of the chapel's side porches, broke with her grandson's orders and wore a lavender hat.

Edward appeared to have some difficulty with the ring
The Queen, on the other hand, wore a spray of lilac feathers in her hair. She appeared to enjoy the ceremony and smiled warmly at the couple as they left the chapel.

Her sister, Princess Margaret, arrived in a wheelchair after scalding her feet in a hot bath during a holiday on the island of Mustique.

Among more than 500 guests at the wedding were members of the Royal Family, Sophie's family, friends and members of the royal household.

Princes William and Harry, and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie attended, but the Duchess of York was not invited.

Champagne celebration

Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, and her husband, Commander Timothy Laurence, and her children Peter and Zara Phillips, were also there.

Thousands came to wish the couple well
The Sultan of Brunei, who has backed some of Edward's business ventures, attended with his two wives.

Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, King Abdullah of Jordan and Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra of Denmark were among the royalty from around the world who came to wedding.

A lucky 8,000 members of the public received tickets to watch the procession from inside the castle grounds. Others secured their spots along the route by camping overnight.

Many opened champagne and waved Union flags as they waited for a fleeting glimpse of the wedding party.

Security measures were stepped up around the castle over fears that anti-monarchist protesters, who joined riots in London on Friday, might try to disrupt the wedding.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Audio
Edward and Sophie's vows
Audio
Poet Laureate Andrew Motion reads his poem in honour of the Royal Wedding
See also:

19 Jun 99 | royal wedding
19 Jun 99 | royal wedding
19 Jun 99 | royal wedding
19 Jun 99 | royal wedding
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