The Day After: Royal Wedding Euphoria Lingers in London

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REUTERS / Kieran Doherty

The debris may have been swept away, but the afterglow and excitement of Kate Middleton and Prince William’s royal nuptials continues to float in the air in the early hours of Saturday morning. As the crowds emerged from the Tube, they were met with a sunny breeze and the chimes from London’s iconic Big Ben outside Westminster Abbey. With an estimated 140 tonnes of garbage having been collected, the immaculate streets were a stark contrast to yesterday’s 1 million well-wishers who descended upon London to witness the momentous occasion.

Jill Wood, a 50-year-old British Airways employee who worked with Kate Middleton’s father, was among the few Londoners who awoke early on Saturday to get a glimpse of the Abbey. She gazed upon the wedding’s floral arrangements that are still on display and include trees and 30,000 flowers – when she attended the communion ceremony early at 8 a.m. “[Inside the Abbey] it smelled of Lily of Valley, one of the most beautiful aromas. It really was a magnificent green wedding.”

(More on TIME.com: See the sights and sounds of the Royal Wedding in the streets of London)

But the euphoria and curiosity that drifted through Westminster was not just a British affair. Throngs of tourists gathered outside the Abbey before its
9 a.m. opening to see what they might have missed yesterday. Visitors from France to Japan and America filled the hour-long lines and were entertained
by foreign press and TV crews keen to capture the post-Royal Wedding mood.

“The crowds are starting to build outside the Abbey and recapture what they might have missed yesterday,” said 29-year-old Ellen Touzot, a customer-service manager from Valence, France who traveled to London with her sister. “We came to London to celebrate with the British people. Now we want to see the sights.”

(More on TIME.com: See photos of the world’s most beautiful tiaras)

But not all had planned their trips to London around the royal wedding.  “I forgot it was the wedding,” said Father Rene Hernandez, a Spanish Catholic priest from Toledo, Spain. “It was Easter and I wanted to get out of Spain. I’d love to visit the Abbey, but the lines are too long.”

And of course, Americans were also out showing their support and enthusiasm for the historic event. Amongst the tourists circling Westminster were Jules and Mary Prinz, a retired American couple from New Orleans. “Everybody’s trying to see the interior of the Abbey even though they are a day late and a dollar short. Yesterday, we ended up in a solid jam of 10,000 people and all we saw was the back of a soldier’s hat on a horse. Today we’ll walk the route to experience the whole thing,” said Jules.

“The atmosphere is euphoric. Yesterday is something we’ll never forget. And today is even more special because we get to re-experience it all over again,” added Mary.

(More on TIME.com: See photos of the mad hatter royal wedding guests)

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