By Laura Lynch
Friday was the ultimate example of the Royal Family's triumph in controlling every detail of the day. As Kate Middleton stepped onto the red carpet, her dress was revealed.
Created by a British designer, it was only part of a day that will billed as displaying the epitome of Britishness. The bride's slow procession down the long, long aisle to her waiting prince was accompanied by a traditional British hymn.
With 1,900 guests inside the Abbey and hundreds of thousands more listening on loudspeakers outside on the streets nearby, the couple proclaimed their vows.
When they emerged soon after as a married couple, they also emerged as the newest standard bearers for the House of Windsor – a family stained by scandal and tragedy now looking to its youngest generation to restate its claim to relevance and legitimacy.
The effort seemed for pay off for people like Ralph Mirarchi who travelled from Baltimore to be part of the day.
"We come from a monarchy, you know, even though we have a totally different way of life over there," Mirarchi said. "Over here, they've maintained that tradition and it's a beautiful one, I think."
There are many in Britain and abroad who grumble about the cost or meaninglessness of a monarchy in the modern age. But when the couple kissed on the palace balcony, Erin Pankiw, Kelsey Gallagher and Lisa Hank felt a little bit of magic.
"Oh we loved it," they chimed. "It was so exciting we've been here since … four o'clock in the morning. I think."
For the three American students, the best moment of the day came at Buckingham Palace.
"When they came out on the balcony … when they kissed, yeah the kiss was really good. The kiss was quicker than we thought but it was still such an experience to see it live," the women said.
The crowd may have been liberally laced with Americans, but London is an international city.
The British royal family, more than any other, attracts an international crowd.
"I think it's like a fairytale, isn't it," said, Joyce Hui who is from Taiwan. "So yeah, it's like something to celebrate and I'm really happy I made it today too."
If you needed to see the royals' success in marketing its image globally, look no further than Neil Medina of the Philippines. Decked out in a garish Union Jack suit, accompanied by a friend wearing a hat featuring Big Ben that he designed, Medina said today's ceremonies put Britain back on top.
"The envy of the world, we don't have the royalty in the Philippines. Imelda Marcos wanted to be the queen but only the queen of three thousand shoes she was," Medina chuckled.
As British planes roared overhead, the crowd cheered and the royal family beamed. For them, this was much more than a wedding.
It was also the right moment to try to move beyond a troubled past.
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after the wedding (Photo: Magnus D)
Ralph and Jan Mirarchi
Erin Pankiw of Chicago, Kelsey Gallagher of Pittsburgh and Lisa Hank of St. Louis got dressed up for the big day.
Neil Medina - from the Philippines and his friend. He made both costumes because he loves the royal family. (Photo: Laura Lynch)