There was no palace balcony for the newlyweds to appear on as there had been for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but that didn’t take away any of the magic when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shared their first kiss.
Emerging from the darkness of St George’s Chapel into the bright sunshine of a beautiful spring day, the newlyweds began married life under a flower-festooned arch, greeted by members of the Household Cavalry with their swords drawn in a royal salute.
As the cheers of the crowd grew louder, Meghan smiled shyly at her Prince and asked: “Do we kiss?” “Yeah,” Harry replied. His bride appeared to take a moment’s pause before she leant in for their lips to meet.
Besides them stood Kate, holding hands with her beautifully behaved three-year-old daughter Princess Charlotte, while Prince William and their elder son Prince George followed a short distance behind.
Once again proving a natural with crowds, Charlotte eagerly waved several times to those waiting below, although her four-year-old brother appeared slightly more reticent as he stayed by his father.
Charlotte once again stole everyone’s hearts as she waved to the cheering crowds, although four-year-old George appeared slightly more reticent as he stayed close to his father
In front of them, perfectly in sync and firmly holding hands, Prince Harry and Meghan began to descend the steps that lead down from the chapel’s West Door.
The procession ride featured six Windsor Grey horses, with four – Milford Haven, Plymouth, Storm and Tyrone – pulling the vehicle while Sir Basil and Londonderry acted as outriders.
The Duke and Duchess were officially waved off for the 25-minute-long procession by some of their closest relatives, including the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Princess Royal and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
Watched by their loved ones, the newlyweds began their procession around Windsor
The carriage took the couple down Castle Hill and through the town centre before travelling back to Windsor Castle along the Long Walk, which stretches more than two and a half miles.
They were escorted by soldiers from the Blues and Royals and the Life Guards of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment as the procession wound its way through the crowded streets, delighting fans who had gathered from all over the world to be a part of the day.
Meghan looked visibly touched as she surveyed the happy crowd, some of whom had been camping overnight to get the best spot.
Her hand often on her heart as she sat next to her groom, it was clear the bride was feeling emotional as she took in the thousands of well-wishers.
Holding flags, phones, balloons and messages of good luck, the crowd whooped and cheered as the procession rolled by at a leisurely pace, rewarded with a smile or a wave from the couple.
Onlooker Carleen Quirk, 76, from New South Wales in Australia, was no stranger to royal weddings – this was the eighth one, she told HELLO! . “The first was in 1963 – Princess Alexandra’s wedding in London,” she said.
Carleen had camped out for three nights in Windsor in order to secure a front-row space.
“I have a sleeping bag and plenty of clothes,” she said. “The procession is my favourite bit. And I love seeing the dresses they wear.”
Her hand often on her heart as the emotions flowed, Meghan appeared to enjoy every second of her carriage ride with Harry
Meghan also seemed to be enjoying every second of her carriage ride around streets which had turned into a sea of red, white and blue as patriotic visitors waved Union flags and shouted greetings to the newlyweds.
Given the international nature of the day, many also held US flags in honour of Meghan’s homeland, as well as Canadian ones from her time living in Toronto filming the TV show Suits .
“I’ve never known anything quite like this before,” an onlooker told HELLO! , as the carriage passed right in front of her and the Duke and Duchess waved. “Meghan is so beautiful and Harry looks so happy.”
‘I’m ready for a drink now,’ Harry told his new wife as the carriage disappeared into Windsor Castle for the celebrations to begin
The streets around the castle were lined by members of the Windsor Castle Guard from 1st Battalion Irish Guards and personnel from the Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving, the Royal Marines, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, the Royal Gurkha Rifles and RAF Honington, all of which have a connection to Harry.
The atmosphere of excitement reached a crescendo as the procession made its way up the Long Walk before disappearing from view inside Windsor Castle.
The formal part of their big day over and the celebrations to come, an overwhelmed Meghan was seen declaring: “Wow,” before laughing as Harry told her: “I’m ready for a drink now.”
The drink was waiting – along with their 600 guests at a lavish lunch in St George’s Hall, hosted by the Queen and compered by Prince William.
To round off the magical afternoon, both Harry and his father delivered heartfelt speeches, while Sir Elton John, who shares a close bond with Harry and his family, serenaded the newlyweds with his hit Circle of Life . ■