Skip to main content

Royal newlyweds leave palace in style

By Thair Shaikh, CNN
Click to play
Royal couple departs Buckingham Palace
  • Duke and Duchess of Cambridge drove Aston Martin convertible to Clarence House
  • The car is owned by the duke's father the Prince of Wales
  • It has been converted to run on bioethanol fuel

London (CNN) -- In a break from the pomp and ceremony of their wedding day, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge swapped their limousines and horse-drawn carriages for a stylish 1960s Aston Martin convertible to make the short journey from Buckingham Palace to Clarence House on Friday afternoon.

The pair waved and smiled as they drove the vintage 1969 DB6 Volante, complete with a large plastic red "L" for learner sign on the front grill, which is traditionally used by newly married couples in the UK on the cars they drive to their honeymoon. Colorful balloons were also strung from the rear bumper.

The car -- which is owned by the duke's father the Prince of Wales and has been converted to run on bioethanol made from English wine -- was closely followed by a black Range Rover carrying royal protection officers.

The Aston Martin was a 21st birthday present to the prince from his parents, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, and is similar to the one made famous in the earlier James Bond movies.

Gallery: Royal wedding: The big day
Prince kisses new bride...twice
Royal wedding excites enthusiastic crowd

The prince, who is a respected environmental campaigner, converted the car in 2008 to run on 100% bioethanol fuel distilled from surplus wine.

A search and rescue helicopter also made a fly past at the same time -- the duke is a serving search and rescue pilot based in Anglesey, Wales -- and the helicopter was flown by members of B Flight 22 Squadron, which is the same squadron the duke is a member of.

Many members of the public enjoyed the couple's surprise drive in the blue Aston Martin.

Julie Taylor-Kreft, 38, a mortgage adviser from Eastleigh in Hampshire, southern England, arrived in London at 7:30 a.m.

"I think they're really down-to-earth. It was brilliant. It was really good. It shows that he's in touch with the people because that's the sort of thing we would do if we got married here -- go off in a car with all bits and pieces on the back. It show that they're young and fun and like anyone else.

"They're a new generation obviously, and I think a lot of people have come round to them."

Sue Percival, 61, a retired Brit who is now living in Pasadena, California, came to England to visit family and friends but timed it to coincide with the wedding.

"I'm pleased they did that because it's something young and youthful for the two of them to do. ... That's who they are. I think he (the duke) would have liked to have brought his bike down there but they wouldn't let him -- he's got that big Ducati."

CNN's Mairi Mackay contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
'Not the royal wedding' street party
A lot has changed since the 15th century, when Oliver Cromwell overthrew the monarchy. Today, British republicans fight with ... street parties.
The best moments of the royal wedding
From the walk down the aisle to the vows and kiss on the balcony, we show you the best moments from the royal wedding.
The big day in big pictures
From camping out in Hyde Park to highlights of the wedding ceremony, take a look at the day in photos
Hats off to royal wedding guests
The biggest fashion show on earth, the royal wedding, got underway in a riot of bright colors, flamboyant fascinators and larger-than-life hats
Wedding dress mystery solved
At last, it's revealed! Kate walks down the aisle in a timeless dress designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen.
Unveiled blog
Crazy memorabilia, the skinny on the dress and more! Your spot for all things royal wedding right now.
Across the pond, a reason to party
Americans woke up at dawn to attend royal wedding parties complete with tea, scones and in some cases, clipped British accents
Join CNN's wedding party!
Share your photos and video and be a part of the royal wedding with CNN and iReport!