Trips abroad, charity galas and even a new dog: It's been a big year for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who have captivated the world with their good looks, charm and graciousness. As the couple prepare to celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary, we take a look back at the highlights of their married life.
The year couldn't have started any better, with a wedding watched by millions around the world. Well-wishers couldn't help but smile — and maybe even shed a tear or two — as the beaming couple spotted each other for the first time in Westminster Abbey. When William kissed his bride on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, a roar went up from the crowd, who eagerly egged them on for a second peck on the lips.Video: Just married: Will and Kate celebrate (on this page)
The newly-named duke and duchess, on their way to get ready for the night's festivities, left Buckingham Palace in style, thanks to Prince Charles's favorite blue Aston Martin convertible. Though it looked like it was smooth sailing - or driving - it turns out that William actually had a tough time getting from one palace to the next, since he forgot to release the car's handbrake.
Pushing off their honeymoon to the Seychelles for several weeks, life returned to normal pretty quickly for this new generation of down-to-earth royals. Just a week after her fantastically glamorous wedding, the Duchess of Cambridge was spotted walking down the aisle yet again - this time at a local supermarket in Anglesey, Wales. Despite the presence of five security officers, she loaded her shopping bags into the car herself.Video: William and Kate’s honeymoon delayed (on this page)
Later in May, the world's hottest new couple welcomed the Obamas to Buckingham Palace during their state visit to the U.K. Fashion trumped ceremony in the eyes of the press, which quickly reported that Kate's Reiss dress sold out within hours. Mrs. O's pastel choice was a little less popular, with the U.K. Daily Mail calling the first lady's dress "safe."
'Horrid and dreadful!'
Kate and William, determined to live as normal a life as possible, spent the next few months settling into their small cottage in Wales. However, royalists from around the world weren't quite ready to forget about the wedding. Thousands lined up to catch a glimpse of Kate's Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen wedding dress as it went on display over the summer at Buckingham Palace.
But there was one person that was rather less impressed. As she and Kate looked at the dress, which was mounted on headless mannequin, the queen quipped, "Horrid, isn't it? Horrid and dreadful!"Video: Queen doesn’t hold back
It didn't take long for the queen to put Britain's most popular new ambassadors to work. On their first official overseas tour, William and Kate charmed crowds in Canada and California.
In an action-packed 10 days, William practiced his helicopter water landings , competed against his wife in a boat race and played street hockey with local youths on a tour of the Northwest Territories. In Hollywood, the couple outshone even the hottest stars at a BAFTA Brits to Watch gala evening.
Perhaps tired of constantly smiling for the cameras, Kate and William stepped out of the public eye upon their return home. Duchess Kate took to the books, getting private tutorials on the rich, 1,140-year history of the British royal family. She also studied up on local charities to decide which ones to support in her official role as a royal.
By November, baby watch was in high gear. On a trip to Copenhagen to promote UNICEF , the duchess got tongues wagging when she refused to taste high-nutrition peanut paste. The speculation continued when Kate appeared at a palace dinner wearing a loose-fitting silver gown by British designer Jenny Packham, but died down a month or so later when she stepped out in a tight jersey dress that showed off her flat stomach.
Although the baby rumors turned out to be unfounded, the couple did became the proud parents of a new black cocker spaniel puppy they named Lupo. They got him around the holidays and in the months since have been spotted taking him for walks on the grounds of their new home, Kensington Palace.
As tradition calls for, William and Kate spent Christmas with the royal family at the queen's Sandringham estate, but this year there was one notable absence. Prince Phillip spent the holiday in the hospital, recovering from the insertion of a coronary stent several days earlier.Slideshow: William and Kate's anniversary (on this page)
A day after making a splash on the red carpet at the premiere of Steven Spielberg's movie "War Horse," Kate celebrated her 30th birthday. Contrary to press speculation in the weeks leading up to the big day, there was no raucous theme party to mark the event.
Meanwhile, Kate chose her pet charities , taking honorary positions with several organizations that help young people, including the Scouts that she was a part of as a child. In the months after her selection, the duchess visited each of the charities, wowing onlookers by her ease with sick and troubled children.
But it was when William — a.k.a. Flight Lieutenant Wales — began a six-week stint in the Falklands that Kate really came into her own.
After months of public appearances, the duchess finally made her first speech in February at a children’s hospice. She wrote the four-minute address herself, mentioning her husband who was away on his deployment. "I am only sorry that William couldn't be here today; he would love it here," she said.
Comparisons to Diana's first speech were inevitable, and Kate had a much easier time than her husband’s late mother, who spoke several sentences in Welsh.Slideshow: Life of Prince William (on this page)
The duchess also spent some major quality time with Wills' kin while her husband was in the south Atlantic. She tagged along with the queen and her step mother-in-law Camilla on a visit to the royal grocer, Fortnum & Mason, and helped the queen and Prince Phillip kick off their Diamond Jubilee tour on a trip to Leicester. Later in March, she went with Prince Charles and Camilla on a gallery visit to see the work of a local art charity.
Now, nearly one year after her big day, Kate is doubtlessly glad to have her husband back by her side. She was certainly all smiles despite the rainy weather on Wednesday night as they attended the film premiere of "African Cats," a documentary that is raising funds for the conservation charity Tusk Trust.
What's next for the duke and duchess? A tour to the South Pacific on behalf of the queen is likely in the coming months, and their new apartment in Kensington Palace should be finished off soon. Kate's charity work will almost certainly pick up speed as she settles into her new role, and of course, royal watchers will have their eyes firmly on her belly.
Whatever the young royals end up doing, stay tuned here to find out.
Archive video: Relive the magic of the royal wedding
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