Three hundred close friends and family were at the royal reception and Prince William was so worried about keeping the event private, he asked some guests to sign a secrecy agreement. When William and Kate arrived at the palace, they walked through a passage lined with flaming torches and as they stepped into the ballroom, they were greeted with thunderous applause.
The 30 circular tables were named after the couple’s favourite places such as Rhoscolyn - a village on Anglesey, Tetbury - a Gloucestershire village, Lewa - a Kenyan game reserve and Maun - a town in Botswana. The menu was all British and relatively simple. To start they had Welsh crayfish, prawn and salmon langoustine, followed by roast lamb from Charles’ Highgrove estate and for desert, three mini deserts on a single plate – sherry trifle, chocolate mousse and honeycomb ice-cream in a brandy snap basket.
When it was time for the speeches, William and Harry both paid tribute to their mother. But by far the best speech of the night was given by Kate’s father Mike Middleton and was described by a few guests as ‘brilliant'. Among other things, he made reference to the time when William landed an RAF Chinook on his lawn as part of a training exercise. He said “I knew things were getting serious when I found a helicopter in my garden and thought he must really like my daughter.”
After the speeches, guests drank Pol Roger champagne, Sambuca slammers, cocktails including mojitos and Crack Baby – vodka, passion fruit, raspberry liqueur and champagne. The song William and Kate chose for their first dance was Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ sung by Ellie Goulding.
When Charles and Camilla and Princess Anne and her husband left around 12.30, Kate appeared to relax – she took off her fluffy white cardigan and danced the night away. And in early morning hours the stragglers all piled into mini buses to continue the party at the Goring hotel.