The royals headed to a pal's wedding Saturday before returning home to celebrate their anniversary in private

By Simon Perry
Updated April 29, 2012 03:00 PM
Credit: Luke MacGregor/Reuters/Landov

A year ago the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were saying their vows in a wedding watched by hundreds of millions around the world.

Saturday, memories of their special day would have been reawakened in a far simpler way, as the couple quietly attended the nuptials of close friends in an English country church.

William and Kate spent the day celebrating the wedding of one of her close pals, Hannah Gillingham, who also attended Marlborough College.

With the windy, wet weather bringing the need for umbrellas rather than the springtime hats of last year’s sun-kissed wedding day, it was markedly different from the celebration at Westminster Abbey.

But surrounded by many of their closest friends, it made it a perfect occasion to mark their own special weekend.

“The guests made it feel like a re-run of the royal wedding as they had so many of those people who matter the most to them there,” says royal photographer Mark Stewart, who was there.

As well as Kate’s sister Pippa Middleton, friends like Emilia d’Erlanger, Nicholas and Alice van Custem, Harry Aubrey-Fletcher and his wife Louise and Tom van Straubenzee were among the congregation.

And, just like last year, William drove his wife away from St. Andrew’s church in Wingfield, Suffolk. The couple had arrived the same way, and dashed up the church path under the cover of umbrellas, Stewart says.

The couple spent their actual anniversary, Sunday, at home in their farmhouse on Anglesey in North Wales.