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Royal wedding a melange of firsts

TOPSHOTS Kate Duchess Cambridge waves crowd as she travels an AstMartnext her husbBritain's Prince William after their wedding ceremony April

TOPSHOTS Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, waves to the crowd as she travels in an Aston Martin next to her husband Britain's Prince William after their wedding ceremony, on April 29, 2011 in London. TOPSHOTS / AFP PHOTO / WARREN ALLOTT (Photo credit should read Warren Allott/AFP/Getty Images) R:\Merlin\Getty_Photos\Was3893812.jpg

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Special section: Royal wedding coverage
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Updated: August 27, 2011 12:32AM



The royal wedding . . .

Dateline: London . . .

Fame fatale: Now that her older sister, Kate Middleton, has snagged Prince William, the heir to the English throne, her sister Philippa (a k a Pippa) has become the hottest “get’’ in town.

† Translation: Every newspaper in London is trying to get an exclusive interview with Pippa, who is now considered the most eligible female in Great Britain. Not only is she single, beautiful and thin . . . but she was always considered the daughter in the family who would gain fame.

Honeymoon hoopla

The newly married royal couple, after partying until 3 a.m. Saturday, left later in the day from Buckingham Palace — but not on a honeymoon. The couple were transported via helicopter to a two-day getaway at a secret spot somewhere in England — deciding to delay their honeymoon until later in the year so Prince William can continue his work as a helicopter rescue pilot for the Royal Air Force.

Numbers game

The royal wedding was a melange of firsts: the first British royal wedding where friends and family outnumbered official guests; a courtship that lasted eight years and included co-habitation; the first time in 300 years a future queen lived outside the royal’s inner circle. And, good grief, the bride’s parents actually worked for a living.

The Susman set . . .

Chicagoan Lou Susman, U.S. ambassador to London, who was invited sans his wife to the royal wedding, feels America’s obsession to the pageantry is our love of monarchy and royalty. (Methinks Chicago’s Irish may have a different opinion, Lou.)

† Susman, who is getting ready for the state visit of President Obama on May 24, told the press he “felt a special warmth” at the royal wedding. And he also emphasizes America’s special relationship with England, America’s best ally — even if his wife wasn’t on the invite list, huh? (Please note: No diplomats’ wives were invited.)

Postcards from London . . .

Dateline: The aftermath of the royal wedding.

The garbage left by thousands of tourists has been collected; the carriage horses are stabled, and Prince and Princess William of Wales are into honeymoon mode.

But here are a few back stories:

The scoop du jour . . .

† Behind a black wrought- iron fence in front of Buckingham Palace, where Queen Elizabeth and husband Prince Philip live, a caretaker tells Sneed he has been raking “Yorkshire” (horse-patootie) out of the palace’s pea gravel for the past 20 years.

“It’s different now,” he said. “There used to be more ‘Yorkshire’ to rake. Only about one-fourth ton this time and only five of us to do it. The horses and carriages don’t stay as long as they used to.

“Back in the day, we’d shovel about two tons of ‘Yorkshire’ with 20 men. And when the Queen Mum was alive, we’d be treated like family, you know. She’d send us a Christmas card. Times have changed.

“The rooms have been readied at the palace for the visiting royal families,” he said. “But I’ll never forget when the King of Saudi Arabia once visited and thought the television set was too small. So he sent out for one as big as a car as well as fetching a new private bathroom.”

It’s amazing what one learns behind a palace fence.

A Libyan line . . .

A raucous anti-Moammar Gadhafi/pro-rebel demonstration erupted Wednesday en route to Westminster Abbey. Waving flags and hoisting bloody posters, Libyan men, women and children urged Gadhafi’s ouster.

† The kicker: Of course, the women were on one side of the demonstration, and the men on the other. “The men don’t like to mix with us,” said a woman who said her first name was “Haifa” and she was from Misrata, which becomes more war-torn every day.

The royal drive-away . . .

Can’t change the rules, even if you are a future king.

† Translation: Not only did Prince William borrow his dad’s car, a classic Aston-Martin, for a wedding getaway from Buckingham Palace on Friday, but the license plate “JU5T WED” was affixed to the back of the classic car. Ostensibly, it couldn’t read “JUST WED” because the plate needed a number.

† Gas gab: Prince Charles, the owner of the car since 1969, ordered the car to be converted to run on E85 bio-ethanol made from English wine wastage in June 2008.

† Femme fodder: The captain of the helicopter hovering overhead during Prince William’s drive from Buckingham Palace to Clarence House, where he and Kate reside, was RAF Capt. Holly Steel.

Hair scare . . .

Hairstylist Richard Ward, who has been doing the Middleton family’s locks for nearly a decade, claims he put Kate’s hair through “many dress rehearsals.”

† Quoth Ward: “The one rule is by the time she gets to the end of the altar, her husband must recognize her.”

Tent tweets . . .

† On a sidewalk across from Westminster Abbey: An elderly Cynthia Fisher, of South York, who was sharing a small tent pitched in a prime spot across the street from the Abbey to view the exit of Prince William and his new bride.

“We’ve been offered money to give up this spot, but we’ve told everyone who has asked, this space is priceless. Nothing can compare to seeing the real thing.”

† On the mall near Buckingham Palace, where Aussie Carleen Quirk and Canadian Bill Sheppard have pitched a tent: “This is my seventh royal venture,” said Quirk, who just happened to be visiting London in 1963, when Princess Alexandra got married. “Since then it’s been the weddings of Princess Anne, Andrew, Edward, Charles and Diana, and Charles and Camilla — and sadly, the funeral of Princess Diana.”

“We’re retired and enjoying life,” said Sheppard. “It’s more important to learn how to be independently poor, than dependently wealthy.”

Finally . . .

Sneed has located Fergie, the controversial Duchess of York, who was not invited to the wedding due to her errant ways. Her daughters were invited, but Fergie has fled to Thailand — where she claims she is working on a book.



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