LONDON – Newlyweds Prince William and Kate Middleton left Buckingham Palace by helicopter Saturday morning and will soon start their honeymoon. But their destination has been kept a closely-guarded secret.
A helicopter takes off from Buckingham Palace, in central London April 30, 2011. Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge were aboard the helicopter as they left for their honeymoon, following their wedding in Westminster Abbey on Friday. [Photo/Agencies]
The couple, who married Friday at an opulent ceremony at Westminster Abbey, walked to the helipad wearing casual clothes and stopped to shake hands with staff members before heading off. Prince William has two weeks leave from his military duty for his honeymoon.
Officials have not said where the couple is going for their honeymoon. They are believed to want to spend their time in a private location without media intrusion.
The couple have a wide range of honeymoon options, including a stay at Queen Elizabeth II's vast Balmoral Estate in Scotland, where they would likely have the privacy needed to evade paparazzi.
William at one pointed hinted he might take Middleton, now known as the Duchess of Cambridge, to Australia for a scuba-diving honeymoon, but it is also possible they would opt for a private island in the Caribbean, an African hideaway or an outdoorsy trip to Jordan that would include a visit to Petra.
The honeymoon is expected to be briefer than that of William's parents, Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, who combined a two-week Mediterranean cruise with several extended breaks in Britain.
William and Middleton celebrated their wedding in style Friday night and Saturday morning with a dinner and dance party at Buckingham Palace hosted by Charles. Middleton wore a second gown designed by Sarah Burton of the Alexander McQueen fashion house, while William wore a double-breasted tuxedo.
Some of the prominent guests, including Middleton's sister Pippa and Prince Harry's sometimes girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, returned to their rooms at the Goring Hotel at about 3 am Saturday as the palace celebrations wound down.
Harry had announced plans to make an early morning "fry up" breakfast for anyone with the constitution to stay awake through the night, but it is not known how many hungry partygoers he fed.
There was no fear about keeping quiet to avoid waking grandma — Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip had left the palace to the kids and retreated to another royal residence.
Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, walk together in Buckingham Palace, following their wedding on Friday, in central London April 30, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]