FOR Prince William and his new bride, it was the most momentous day of their lives.
And for thousands of people across our area, the royal wedding wasn’t just an historic occasion – it was the perfect excuse for a right royal knees-up.
Streets across the region were deserted yesterday morning as families stayed glued to their televisions to watch the scenes in London as stunning Kate Middleton entered Westminster Abbey a commoner and emerged as wife of the future king.
Then, after Prince William and his new wife – now to be known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – emerged onto Buckingham Palace’s famous balcony for not one, but two public kisses, those same streets came alive in a riot of patriotism, colour and community spirit.
The News had urged readers to throw street parties both to wish the royal couple well and to build on the community spirit in our neighbourhoods.
And from the afternoon well into the evening, the party was in full swing at around 100 different celebrations.
David Byng, 69, who held a street party for his neighbours in Harold Road and Queens Crescent in Stubbington, said: ‘We are royalists. I like it because it’s someone to look up to.
‘They give us a lot of enjoyment which we don’t get a lot of in this world. It’s really lovely.
‘The wedding was absolutely marvellous. Everybody said she looked nice but I thought he looked very nice.’
Mr Byng loves the royal family so much that he and his wife Wendy have a scrapbook which they made for the wedding of Charles and Diana in 1981.
It is full of photographs and newspaper articles from the big day.
Now they are making another scrapbook to commemorate the wedding of William and Kate.
Meanwhile Clare Parrott, 43, who was partying with her neighbours in New Road in Fareham, said: ‘It was lovely. She looked lovely.
‘England, as a small country, do this sort of thing so well.’
Cheryl Steele, 31, organised a party for her neighbours in Birdwood Grove in Fareham.
‘We have been here for two and a half years now and we hardly know anyone down the street so I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to get everyone together and meet the neighbours.
‘I think Kate looked absolutely stunning.
‘This is about Great Britain and our monarchy.’
Helen Winning, 36, helped organise a party and disco for her neighbours in Chesterfield Road, Copnor.
‘I think it’s the perfect way to round off the day,’ she said. ‘But it has been quite hard work.
‘For me the best part of the wedding was seeing Kate in her dress – although Prince William did look very handsome in his red coat.
‘I just think the whole thing has been amazing.
‘The idea of community spirit doesn’t really exist any more but I think events like this really bring it back.’
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said he was delighted with the celebrations.
And he even made an invitation to the newlyweds to come and visit the city.
‘It’s been wonderful,’ he said. ‘People have been having a really good time.
‘We have got very close connections with the royal family in Portsmouth.
‘They visit a lot and I hope we will see them here very soon.’