Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding day: 6 moments that nearly upstaged it

Megan C. Hills
·4-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

In 2011 a wedding between two twenty-somethings captivated the world.

Around two billion people tuned in to watch Kate Middleton tie the knot with long-term boyfriend Prince William, and us Brits were given the day off to celebrate, throwing street parties and camping overnight at Westminster Abbey to get a front-row glimpse of the young royals.

One of the biggest royal moments of the last decade was marked with a balcony kiss and a fairytale wedding dress by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.

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But though the bride and groom stole (most) of the show, a few things threatened to upstage them - including the chief bridesmaid's derriere...

Pippa Middleton

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Kate’s sister Pippa and her derriere became household names during the 2011 Royal Wedding.

Between wrangling the young bridesmaids and groomsmen and adjusting her sister’s train, her svelte white Alexander McQueen by Sarah Burton gown became a major talking point.

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Dan Rentillo, the design director of David’s Bridal, said to the New York Times in 2011, “I can’t think of one [wedding] where there was such a fuss over the bridesmaid’s dress."

From then on, Pippa was catapulted into minor celebrity.

"It's a bit startling to achieve global recognition before the age of 30 on account of your sister, your brother-in-law and your bottom. One day I might be able to make sense of this. In the meantime, I think it's fair to say that it has its upside and its downside" Pippa wrote later in the foreword to her cookbook.

Kirsty Wigglesworth/WPA Pool/Getty Images
Kirsty Wigglesworth/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Kate Middleton repaid the favour as matron of honour at Pippa’s wedding to James Matthews, where sweet pictures of her with her daughter Princess Charlotte became some of the defining moments from the day.

Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice's hats

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Hat designer Phillip Treacy is typically the royal go-to for stylish modern hats, but his designs for Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie became infamous.

The sisters' hats became a major talking point from the moment they stepped out of their car, though Princess Beatrice’s oversized hoop and ribbon fascinator drew most attention (with one social media user saying it looked like she had “left the toilet seat up”.)

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Princess Beatrice’s hat was later auctioned off for charity and raised over £81k for Unicef Children In Crisis, though Princess Eugenie later revealed to Vogue that they had both cried over the public reaction to their looks.

She said, “There was a horrible article that had been written about Beatrice and she got really upset.”

“We were just about to step out and she had a bit of a wobble and cried. I was looking after her. And then about an hour later, I had a wobble and started crying and Bea was there for me,” she continued.

Larry the Cat

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If you type in ‘royal wedding 2011’ into Getty Images’ search tool, the most popular pictures to be downloaded aren’t of Kate or Will.

In fact, the top three pictures are of No. 10 Downing Street’s resident feline: Larry the Cat, all dressed up for the big day.

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Getty Images

He technically dressed up the night before in preparation (who doesn’t plan their outfit ahead of time for such an occasion?) and was seen wearing a large Union Jack bowtie.

Larry was photographed prowling the table in the empty Cabinet Room and lounging on a chair as he waited for the ceremony to begin.

The cartwheeling clergyman

After the ceremony ended, one clergyman at Westminster Abbey was caught on camera elatedly cartwheeling down the aisle as people watched on in amusement.

Dressed in a black cassock, he was seen gleefully running into the church and doing not one, but two cartwheels before running out of shot.

It seems like we’ll never know who the man was, as a spokesperson declined to identify him.

They said to The Guardian at the time, “I think he was just reflecting the exuberance of the nation. It was after the wedding had long finished.”

The celebrity guests

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As with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nuptials, a number of celebrities attended Kate and Will’s wedding in style.

These included Joss Stone, Rowan Atkinson and Princess Diana's old friends Sir Elton John and David Furnish - and each dressed to the nines as they waved to the crowds and photographers.

There was also plenty of hype around Victoria and David Beckham, who arrived in matching navy blue outfits - a heavily pregnant Victoria expertly striding in sky-high heels.

The grumpy bridesmaid

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Scowling three-year-old Grace Van Cutsem became the breakout star of the Royal Wedding, when she was pictured covering her ears and frowning as Prince William and Kate Middleton had their iconic balcony kiss.

It was later reported that the bridesmaid was upset because of the loud cheering from the crowd below (rather than the kiss) and swiftly became a meme.

Spurring Facebook fan pages and Photoshop contests, Mashable declared her the “royal wedding’s best meme.”