By POLLY DUNBAR
Happy: William and Kate surrounded by, clockwise bottom right, The Hon. Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Miss Eliza Lopes, Miss Grace van Cutsem, Lady Louise Windsor, Master Tom Pettifer, Master William Lowther-Pinkerton
The echoes of a Royal wedding from an earlier era are difficult to ignore.
The backdrop is the same: the opulent red-and-gold decor of the grand Throne Room at Buckingham Palace. And the mischievous smiles on the faces of some of the bridesmaids and page boys – and endearingly bewildered expressions on the others – are strikingly similar.
The 1981 wedding party. From back, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, Diana and Charles, Edward van Cutsem; front: Lord Nicholas Windsor, Clementine Hambro, Catherine Cameron, India Hicks, Sarah-Jane Gaselee and Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones
But, 30 years after the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, the official wedding picture of Prince William and Kate Middleton also reflects the differences between the two couples' relationships.
The photograph of Charles and Diana, taken by Patrick Lichfield, seemed to capture a moment of spontaneous informality, with the wedding party collapsing in a fit of giggles. But, as we now know, the warmth was not reflected in the marriage itself.
By contrast, Kate and William's picture, by photographer Hugo Burnand, appears more formal, despite little Tom Pettifer's insistence on leaning in as close to the bride as possible.
Full of joy and not a care in the world: William and Kate smile broadly as they stand arm-in-arm in the official wedding album
Despite the organised nature of their shot, they look relaxed, their smiles unforced, and her hand rests on his knee.
Mario Testino may have received praise for his engagement portraits of William and Kate, but their choice of Hugo Burnand to take their official wedding pictures has cemented the latter's status as the Royal Family's favourite photographer.
Mr Burnand, 47, has been entrusted with capturing many of the Royals' most important occasions in recent years, including Prince Charles's 60th birthday and his marriage to Camilla. He has also won the respect of the Queen and Princes William and Harry after taking their pictures on previous occasions.
The family photo: Front row left to right is Grace van Cutsem, Eliza Lopes, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Queen, Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Louise Windsor, William Lowther-Pinkerton. Back Row left to right is Tom Pettifer, Camilla, Charles, Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate, Michael Middleton, Carole Middleton, James Middleton and Philippa Middleton
Mr Burnand, 47, has been entrusted with capturing many of the Royals' most important occasions in recent years