Television brings wedding pageantry to world

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NEW YORK (AP) - Like guests who whisper asides to their friends from the back pews, the commoners in the media kept the mood lighthearted Friday as cameras captured every angle of the royal wedding of Britain’s Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Millions followed the event throughout the world on television, their computers and hand-held devices. The media enabled anyone who cared to become a wedding guest.

“At this moment every woman in the world envies Kate,” a blogger who writes under the pen name Xiao Luolo said on China’s Internet news portal Sohu.

Without a royal title, royal friendship or celebrity pedigree, few made it into the ceremony in person. Yet the cameras made it a remarkably intimate event: You could see William struggle slightly to fit a ring on his new wife’s finger and the choir singer who neglected to shave in the morning. You wondered whether William’s heavy eyelids indicated he would drift off during the service. He didn’t.

Even the private moments truly weren’t. Media members used lip-readers to suggest that William joked on the altar to his father-in-law, “We were supposed to have just a small family affair.”

“I’ve been crying,” said Jenny Crwys-Williams of South Africa’s Radio 702, where the wedding dominated the media in early afternoon there. “I don’t think anyone who’s watching the ceremony hasn’t been crying.”

Media members studied up on royal trivia, and commentators stood at the ready to opine on Middleton’s dress and tiara. The verdict was mostly thumbs-up, with magazine editor Tina Brown, working for ABC News in the U.S., calling the gown “deceptively sexy.”

“Doesn’t she look gorgeous?” asked ABC’s Barbara Walters.

The bride’s always a star on her wedding day, so much so that NBC’s Martin Bashir even seemed impressed that Middleton could hold a bouquet in one hand and wave with the other as she was driven through the crowds to Westminster Abbey.

During the ceremony, a cheer from the crowd outside could faintly be heard at the moment the couple officially married.

“We hope you could hear the roar of England at that moment,” ABC’s Diane Sawyer said.

Wedding coverage started at 4 a.m. on the U.S. East Coast, and was a late-late night affair out West. Commentators kept mostly quiet during the ceremony, usually adding brief asides _ like when CBSKatie Couric noted that William wouldn’t be wearing a ring, unlike his wife.

After the ceremony and the carriage rides to Buckingham Palace, things got a little giddy. NBC’s “Today” show ran a ticking “countdown to the kiss” clock for when William and Kate were expected to appear on a balcony and share a smooch for the crowd below. Then it happened so quickly the cameras almost missed it.

“That was a peck!” complained Meredith Vieira.

NBC ran a slow-motion replay of the kiss before the couple bowed to pressure from the chanting crowd to kiss again. “Yeah, that’s it,” an approving Vieira said.

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