LONDON (CBS) -- With not one but two kisses and tender whispered words, Prince William and Kate Middleton smiled and blushed Friday as they started their life as future king and queen. A day of seamless pageantry inspired hopes that this royal couple might live happily ever after.
Even in the grandeur of Westminster Abbey, where royals are crowned, married and are buried, this was the un-stuffy wedding, CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reports. William arrived early so he could schmooze with the guests. Best man Prince Harry kept his brother loose as they waited for the bride.
They appeared at ease throughout their wedding day, with William fighting back giggles at times, while Kate's smile lit up television screens, especially when her new husband leaned over to say, "You look beautiful."
Their intimacy stood in sharp contrast to the lack of chemistry between a wooden Prince Charles and Diana Spencer 30 years ago when they began a marriage that ultimately collapsed in embarrassing tabloid headlines and turned many Britons against the monarchy.
A million people lined the procession route from the abbey to Buckingham Palace, many crying with joy. Cheers went up as the couple exchanged the traditional kiss on the balcony, followed by chants of "One more kiss!" The couple waved and smiled and, to a frenzy of delight, obliged.
An estimated 2 billion people tuned into the live broadcast in what may have been the most-viewed event in history.
The security operation was the largest since Charles and Diana's 1981 wedding, and the day went off without a hitch. Police dispersed scattered protests from anti-monarchists and anarchists and arrested 55 people for offenses including drunkenness, breach of peace, and theft, but the mood was overwhelmingly celebratory.
"Everybody's happy, everybody's united," said 61-year-old Sabry Darwish, who was in the crowd watching the parade route. "Everybody is behind the bride and groom."
Many praised the couple's rare combination of humility, humor and grace. Kate was a commoner from a wealthy but middle-class family who actually worked for a living after university; William has long had his mother's touch in connecting to the public, and surprised fans who slept on the pavement overnight by personally thanking them Thursday for braving the cold.
The 28-year-old prince even displayed a quality almost never seen among royalty: humor. Surveying the 1,900 guests filling the abbey in their wedding finery, he turned to his father-in-law, Michael Middleton, and quipped: "We're supposed to have just a small family affair."
Then after a reception at Buckingham Palace, he took his new wife for a spin, driving a dark-blue Aston Martin Volante festooned with ribbons, bows and balloons — and a license plate that read "JU5T WED."
It was the kind of display that made some wonder whether the couple just might bring the British monarchy back from the abyss.
"It's a real turning point for the royal family," Nicki Hookings, 47, said at one of thousands of street parties across Britain to celebrate the national holiday.
For much of the world, the wedding was a dramatic reaffirmation of 29-year-old Kate's beguiling star power. Despite the pressure, she carried the day with an easy smile, youthful exuberance and a sense of decorum that matched the event. And when it was over all over, she curtsied easily before Queen Elizabeth II, comfortably sharing the stage with the woman who has reigned since 1952.