Mystery over Kate and William’s royal honeymoon

London: Prince William and his bride left for their honeymoon on Saturday, heading to a secret destination having partied through the night following their wedding watched around the world.

The couple departed Buckingham Palace by helicopter for an undisclosed location and have made it clear they want the media to respect their privacy during their honeymoon.

The Duchess of Cambridge, as Kate is now officially known, wore a belted short blue dress, with a cropped black jacket and black wedge heels, while the prince was dressed in an open-necked white shirt, dark blazer and beige chinos.

The smiling couple held hands as they strolled through the palace grounds, then shook hands with royal staff before leaving.

The pageantry of their wedding service gave way to a night of dinner and dancing for the royal couple and 300 guests, who partied until 3:00am.

The secrecy surrounding the couple`s honeymoon destination has led to intense speculation.

All that is known is that William has taken two weeks` leave from his job as a Royal Air Force search and rescue helicopter pilot.

William, the second-in-line to the throne, has a deep love of Africa and he proposed to Kate in Kenya last year, so that has been mooted as a possible honeymoon spot.

Jordan has also been touted as a possibility and would have nostalgic appeal for Kate as her family lived in the kingdom for two years when she was a child.

But given the current upheaval in the Middle East, it might be considered a compromised choice.

A secluded Caribbean island would allow the couple to escape the prying eyes of the media.

Bequia and Necker Island all have the benefit of being easily secured, and Kate`s wealthy entrepreneur parents are frequent visitors to the ultra-exclusive Mustique.

Lizard Island, off the coast of Queensland, Australia, has also emerged as a contender.

Whatever the choice, the honeymoon is set to be the first test of the married couple`s relationship with the famously voracious British press.

William is believed to be determined that after they shared their wedding with the world and an estimated one million people on the streets of London, he wants to have some private time with his new wife.

He is known to still blame the media for the death of his mother Diana, princess of Wales, killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997 as she was being pursued by photographers.

The royal family is thought to be prepared to take legal action to prevent any media outlet attempting to disrupt the honeymoon.

Following the wedding of Diana and Prince Charles in 1981, they spent the first stage of their honeymoon in England, staying at the home of the groom`s great-uncle, before embarking on the royal yacht Britannia, visiting Gibraltar before cruising to Algeria, Tunisia, Sicily, the Greek islands and Egypt.

But Britannia -- which solved the headache of royal security for holidays -- was decommissioned in 1997.

The wedding was watched by an estimated worldwide television audience of two billion. The BBC, the official broadcaster, said almost 25 million people watched in Britain alone, according to early estimates.

More details of the wedding service in Westminster Abbey emerged in Saturday`s newspapers.

With the help of lipreaders, they reported that as Kate walked up the aisle William`s best man and brother, Prince Harry, turned to him at the altar and said: "Wait till you see the dress".

The new duchess told a photographer that the couple had a "great day".

The ivory satin and lace wedding gown by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, featuring a hand-embroidered veil and lace sleeves, received unanimous praise in Saturday`s media.

"The House of McQueen and the future Queen surpassed all expectations," said The Times` fashion correspondent.

Harry was said to be the driving force behind Friday`s evening party at Buckingham Palace, featuring a disco and a live performance from pop starlet Ellie Goulding in what royal sources said was a chance for the younger royals to let their hair down.

Bureau Report

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