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British royal newlyweds Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, walk hand-in-hand at Buckingham Palace in London on Saturday, after they were joined at a ceremony at Westminster Abbey the previous day. EPA
British royal newlyweds Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, walk hand-in-hand at Buckingham Palace in London on Saturday, after they were joined at a ceremony at Westminster Abbey the previous day. EPA

Royal newlyweds William and Catherine delay honeymoon

Prince William will return to his job as a rescue pilot for the Royal Air Force on Monday, though the couple will spend the weekend together in Britain following their Friday wedding.

LONDON // Prince William and his new bride sprang a surprise Saturday, announcing they would not leave immediately on honeymoon and the prince will return to his day job as a helicopter pilot next week.

A statement from St James's Palace said William and Kate would spend the weekend in Britain following their wedding on Friday and have a honeymoon abroad in the future but it "will not be disclosed in advance".

The prince "will return to work as a search and rescue pilot next week", it added.

The announcement appeared to be a way of throwing the media off their trail amid fears that photographers would pursue the couple wherever they chose to spend their honeymoon.

The prince is known to enjoy outwitting the media, whom he still holds responsible 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 prince's office stressed that the couple "have asked that their privacy be respected during the coming weekend and during their honeymoon".

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

So after being the focus of the world on Friday, watched by an estimated global television audience of two billion, William will return to the rural tranquility of his Royal Air Force (RAF) base in Anglesey, northwest Wales.

After a night of partying, the couple departed from Buckingham Palace on Saturday by helicopter.

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 had given way to a night of dinner and dancing for the royal couple and 300 guests, who partied until 3:00 am.

The new duchess said Friday the couple had had a "great day" and expressed relief that the forecast rain never came.

Speculation about their secret honeymoon destination has focused on Africa, as William proposed to Kate in Kenya last year.

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 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.

Amid estimations that the wedding was watched by roughly a third of the world's population, the BBC said almost 25 million people saw it live in Britain alone, with nearly 35 million catching some of their coverage throughout the day.

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 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.

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