June 29, 2011 12:00 PM

The Queen held a champagne-and-canape reception for 650. Prince Charles hosted a dinner dance for 300. And Harry got in on the act with a disco for the party-hardy. The royals showed they know how to get down—and get back up again: morning-after breakfast, anyone?


The numbers alone are enough to induce a sugar rush: 17 individual fruitcakes in total; 900 iced flowers with 17 varieties of leaves, all be-decked in garlands that match the ones that line the ceiling of the Buckingham Palace Picture Gallery, where the confection was displayed. As if that weren’t enough, William requested an additional chocolate biscuit cake. Why? It’s his favorite.


At the Queen’s afternoon reception, guests nibbled on quail eggs and Cornish crab salad, and the speeches were short and very sweet. Prince Charles shared fond memories of William’s childhood: tales of pedal-car mishaps and little cottages built from chairs. William thanked the bridesmaids, and his Gran, for putting up with his “silly” questions. The evening party, however, was a more raucous affair. After a dinner of lamb and sherry trifle, and more speeches (from Harry, Mike Middleton and some friends), strobe lights flashed, a deejay spun tunes, and “everyone was dancing and singing and enjoying themselves,” reports a guest. Among the last revellers were William and Kate, who boogied to the Beatles’ “She Loves You” before driving off in a Fiat Cinquecento. Says another insider: “They really went for it and let their hair down.”


It was a surprising moment in a perfectly orchestrated day. Around 3:30, the Duke and Duchess ventured out for a spin in Prince Charles’s 1969 convertible Aston Martin Volante, thrilling the crowds that still lingered near the palace, as well as the millions watching at home on TV. It added “a personal touch,” says wedding guest Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, who knows William and Harry from their charity projects in his country. “It showed their uniqueness, who they are.”

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