Kate & Wills celebrate their 1-year wedding anniversary

WEB EXTRAS: Watch procession, balcony kisses again

CLEVELAND - I can't believe it's been an entire year since thee big day. The royal wedding of Catherine Middleton to Prince Wills is the one thing that made me excited to get out of bed at 4:30 a.m.

Perhaps it's because every girl dreams of that magnificent fairytale day. At least I was one of them who fantasized about a "royal" wedding and always dreamt of what it would be like being a real princess.

I got a taste of the fairytale lifestyle on my wedding day in August 2009 when I married my best friend, Scotty. After tying the knot at our church, a horse (with pink hooves) and carriage (much like the one in Cinderella) took us up a long, winding road to a historical castle-like mansion as our guests lined the path awaiting our arrival. I was wearing a beaded ball gown dress, complete with glass slippers. Scotty and I felt like a real prince and princess that day, and we feel so blessed to continue living our happy fairytale.

The Victorian era/European style has always been a favorite of mine, with the seemingly prim and proper-ness that goes along with it. That's one of the things I liked most about the way the Royal Highnesses celebrated their special day: the long-sleeved elegance of Kate's gown, the extremely long walk to say "I do" to Wills, the waving, the procession -- everything, really. I loved instead of them receiving gifts, over $1 million pounds were donated to the Royal Wedding Charitable Gift Fund, where 26 charities personally chosen by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge benefited.

So, for their first wedding anniversary, I will drink a cup of tea and watch their wedding (still saved on my DVR) throughout the week.

As for the royal couple? They're celebrating their first anniversary in private, palace officials said. On Thursday they visited the London headquarters of the MI6 intelligence agency, and also attended a reception, with Kate looking resplendent in a charcoal gray dress.

I believe the royal wedding -- a television spectacle seen throughout the world -- gave William and his bride the chance to recast the image of the British monarchy as more down-to-earth. After the wedding, they shunned the spotlight to spend what would typically have been a honeymoon period on Anglesey, a wind-swept spot off northwest Wales where William works as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot at the Royal Air Force Valley base.

Their first year of married life has been a study in balancing their dual roles: Royal and regular. The couple like to dress down when they walk their dog Lupo, but they also wear designer duds at gala dinners and speak out in support of their chosen charities.

Kate has been widely praised for her fashion choices and her emphasis on British designers -- many of the outfits she chooses become immediate favorites, selling out within hours.

"The main point is that they look as if they're enjoying themselves," said Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine. "The first year of marriage is difficult for everybody and they've adapted to their role admirably."

Seward believes the royal couple, who were college buddies before romance developed, have benefited tremendously from their long, solid friendship. The first year of their marriage has been largely free of controversy.

"They were together a long, long time and maybe this is a demonstration of how much it helped for them to be the friends that they are," she said.

Of course, the ever-present question that trails all newlyweds, including the royal couple: When will baby make three?

Here's to many more happy, fairytale years, Wills and Kate!

On the Web: The Royal Wedding 2011 www.officialroyalwedding2011.org/

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