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Mike Tindall and Zara Phillips on their wedding day.

No one was expecting Zara Phillips‘ wedding to rugby star Mike Tindall to be very much like Kate and Will‘s historic nuptials.

And it wasn’t.

Held in the Cannongate Kirk on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, the ceremony on Saturday afternoon was a much smaller affair than the April royal wedding, and it was private, closed to the press and the public.

But whatever it may have lacked in size was more than compensated for in the vigor of the after-party celebrations, which took place at Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official palace in Edinburgh.

“The palace was transformed into a nightclub” wrote the Scotland Daily Record, “as the couple’s wedding party shook the streets.”

The revelry went on for so long that the newlyweds didn’t make it back to their wedding suite until two o’clock — that’s two o’clock in the afternoon of the next day, Sunday.

“It was just a family knees-up,” a “royal source” told The Daily Mail, using a British slang term meaning a wild party. “Your archetypal wedding, really. Except with a lot of royals and rugby players. And a lot of drinking. In fact make that a hell of a lot of drinking.”

Most of the older folks wisely decided to get out of the way. The Queen and Prince Philip left for Balmoral via helicopter shortly before six in the evening on Saturday. Prince Charles and Camilla also departed early, leaving the partying to the younger generation of royals, celebrities, and sports stars.

However, Mark Phillips, the father of the bride, was reported by a number of news organizations to have been seen slumped over, asleep in a hotel chair at 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

The party went on for long enough that some guests had to run out to get fish-and-chips to sustain them into the night. But much of what happened in Holyroodhouse may stay in Holyroodhouse. One of groom’s rugby pals told The Telegraph: “Mike doesn’t really want anyone to talk about the wedding. I’m sorry, but I can’t say anything, it’s not my call this is what they have decided.”

Nevertheless, one highly embarrassing detail did emerge: there was karaoke. “Can’t say too much about the real royal wedding,” tweeted another friend of Mike’s, “but what I will reveal is that Prince William does an uncanny Bon Jovi impression.”

In other royal-related news about the wedding in Edinburgh:

• The chaplain who performed the ceremony itself told The Telegraph,”It all went very smoothly.” The Rev. Neil Gardner said, “It was a good day and there were no stutters or stumbles. Other than that I am staying mum.”

The Mail reported that one source said the hymn “Jerusalem” was “a big hit with all the rugby boys” and that when one guest remarked to the Queen how loudly the song had been sung, the Queen is said to have replied: “Well, we’ve had enough practice at it.” William and Harry were also said to have read from The Velveteen Rabbit, the children’s book that’s a special favorite of Zara’s.

Here’s video from outside the church, from The Telegraph:

But overall, the Mail thought the wedding just wasn’t royal enough, commenting that it was “so studiedly downbeat, so determinedly normal, so doggedly no-frills that it ended up being much more like a Friday night down the rugby club than any regal occasion.”

“There were no golden carriages, no trumpets — voluntary or otherwise — and almost a complete absence of pomp,” the paper wrote.

• Zara’s dress was by Edinburgh College of Art-educated Stewart Parvin, who also designed the Queen’s dress. Grazia style director Paula Reed gave the wedding dress high marks, telling the Telegraph that it’s “a design for Zara that works with her natural athleticism, while also having a fairy tale femininity.”

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a cream brocade jacket by Jane Troughton, which was widely believed to be the same outfit she wore to the 2006 wedding of  Laura Parker Bowles. And the green Diane von Furstenberg dress Kate wore to Friday night’s reception was one that she’d also worn before during her recent Los Angeles visit. Most observers said it was a conscious choice, made to avoid taking any attention away from the bride.

Princess Beatrice and her fascinator.

This being a royal wedding, there were of course fascinators, those oversized ladies’ hats whose existence could probably be explained by some theory of evolutionary psychology. Either that, or these royal women are being paid by satellite dish companies. Princess Beatrice‘s was turquoise, Princess Eugenie‘s was brownish and Kate’s was…enormous.

• Partial playlist for the wedding party: Lenny Kravitz, “Are You Gonna Go My Way?”; The Trammps, “Disco Inferno”; Black Eyed Peas, “I Gotta Feeling”; Prince, “1999”; Indeep, “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life”; Michael Jackson, “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough”; Katy Perry, “I Kissed A Girl”; Amy Winehouse, “Valerie”; Blondie, “One Way Or Another”; Adele,  “Rolling In The Deep” (via The Scotland Daily Record)

• And the yenta award goes to The Daily Star. “Glowing Kate wasn’t spotted drinking alcohol once all weekend,” the tabloid wrote. Even worse than an annoying relative, the Star used this sketchy assertion to report that there was “frenzied speculation” that the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant. The paper cited some other pieces of evidence, including the astounding allegation that that “despite beaming sunshine and a very warm day, Kate wore a coat over her dress, completely disguising her figure.” (The aforementioned outfit which, we just noted, she’d worn to another wedding five years ago.) Also, the paper noted the highly suspicious behavior of her husband, Prince William, who was seen several times with a “protective hand” on his wife’s back.

The Star also cited this bombshell from a Palace source: “This is the last time we will see them in public for the rest of the summer, they now want some private time. William has said, ‘We want some time for ourselves, a private summer’.”



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By Paul Hechinger