The Prince and Princess of Asturias kiss on the cheek after taking their vows in Madrid's imposing Almudena cathedral
Photo: PA
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The groom makes the short walk across the royal palace courtyard to the cathedral with his mother Queen Sofia, who was wearing a traditional black lace 'mantilla'
Photo: AFP

Click here for our Spanish Royal Wedding special

30 JULY 2004

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Resplendent in full military regalia, Spain's Crown Prince Felipe stood alone at the altar of Madrid's Almudena cathedral, awaiting his beautiful bride, Letizia Ortiz.

At precisely 11am, Felipe's face lit up with a broad smile when he caught sight of a group of little page boys and flower girls, dressed in yellow and white 17th-century Goya-esque costumes, entering the flower-filled cathedral.

Outside, under a sea of umbrellas, crowds were patiently awaiting the appearance of the bride, who arrived in a black Rolls-Royce alongside her father. Driven to the entrance of the cathedral to protect her from the downpour which had begun only minutes before, she emerged from the limousine, followed by two bridesmaids.

The most highly-anticipated moment had arrived the unveiling of the Manuel Pertegaz gown six months in the making. It was a simple creation, in line with Letizia's pared-down style, allowing the bride's picture perfect beauty to shine through.

As music rang out throughout the church, Letizia met her smiling groom at the altar, where she received a kiss on the cheek. While the tiny attendants could be seen playing and fidgeting nearby, the couple took their seats, exchanging occasional whispers and glances as the wedding mass began.

Both composed throughout the service, Felipe and Letizia stood to say their vows, holding hands before exchanging coins as well as rings in line with Spanish tradition. Afterwards, the couple suddenly broke into smiles, and, as the two prepared for communion, Felipe could be seen discreetly playing with the brand new wedding band on his right hand.

After communion, the couple kissed on the cheek and the chorus sang out in celebration. They then signed the registry followed by the king and queen officially making the former TV newscaster Crown Princess Letizia.

With the choir singing the rousing Hallelujah chorus, the congregation stood to honour the royal couple, who left the church arm in arm. And though Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia emerged into pouring rain, there was no containing their spontaneous smiles of delight as they descended the steps to the joyous peals of the cathedral bells.

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