LONDON – The ceremony went smoothly, the guests were all smiles and the couple's jitters seemed sweetly endearing.
As Prince Charles (search) and his bride, now Camilla (search), the Duchess of Cornwall, began their married life Sunday on a Scottish honeymoon, even Britain's hypercritical press stopped carping long enough to join in the good will.
"So Happy" enthused the Sunday Express. "At Last!" the Sunday Mirror and The Mail on Sunday agreed in matching front-page headlines.
The anti-monarchist Independent welcomed the nuptials as "The end of the affair," although it relegated the royals to page four and put another Windsor wedding — that of commoners Thomas Crapper and Deborah Biltcliffe — on its front page.
Charles and Camilla began their quiet Scottish honeymoon with a visit to Crathie Parish Church and then headed back to his Balmoral estate.
They took a twisting and sometimes bittersweet path to a late-in-life marriage, and the two months of planning for their wedding were plagued by glitches.
They had originally planned to marry at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, but had to move their civil ceremony to town hall when they realized licensing the palace for their nuptials would force the queen to let commoners wed there too.
There was endless speculation about the monarch's decision to skip the wedding and attend only a religious blessing afterward. Some saw that as a snub, but Queen Elizabeth II said she was only honoring her son's wish to keep the service "low key."
And at the last minute the pair pushed their wedding back a day to avoid a conflict with Pope John Paul II's funeral in Rome.
Despite everything, the day was a success.
An overwhelmingly friendly crowd of about 15,000 gathered outside to cheer the couple as they drove through Windsor. After the closed civil service, live television broadcast a grand blessing of the union, led by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and held under the majestic Gothic arches of St. George's Chapel with about 800 guests.
Later, the queen toasted the newlyweds with an extended horse racing analogy at a private party in the castle.
"It was so obvious how happy they were, that just radiated from the whole room," said the comedian Joan Rivers, who attended the party. "There was no formality, no reception line, they mingled. ... It was so fabulous, it was really like a family and friends get-together."
"When Charles made his toast a whoop went up when he said 'I love Camilla,' that's what made it truly different and special," Rivers said in a telephone interview.
Others also noted the casual feel of the event, unusual in the formal, pomp-filled world of royalty.
"What it reminded me of was not other state occasions, other royal events, it reminded me of other weddings I've been to of friends over the years," the actor Stephen Fry told British Broadcasting Corp.
"After all the dire prognostications, all the twists and turns on the way to this day, it was suddenly just a wedding," he said. "And it was sort of gossipy, giggly ... as weddings always are, that much more gossipy and giggly because of course it was a family that's very well known."
Some had their complaints, though.
"No kiss for Cam," the Mirror commented in one headline, disappointed the couple didn't pucker up for the cameras.
A survey by the MORI polling firm for The Observer and Sunday Mirror newspapers found 63 percent of those questioned said they supported the marriage, up from 49 percent in a 2002 poll.
More sobering for the prince, 42 percent said he should step aside and let his son, Prince William, be king when Elizabeth dies. That was an increase from 34 percent who said the same in a poll four years ago.
Sixty-three percent said Camilla should not become queen if Charles takes the throne. While the prince's office says she plans to use the title "princess consort" after Charles is crowned, she will be queen no matter what she's called.
MORI interviewed 1,002 people from Thursday through Saturday, with a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
At least on television, the wedding wasn't as as popular as Britian's other national event on Saturday — the Grand National steeplechase, one of the biggest races on Britain's equine calendar.
The British Broadcasting Corp. reported that its coverage of the race, which was pushed back 25 minutes to avoid a TV coverage conflict, drew a peak of 9.5 million viewers. The BBC wedding coverage drew a peak of 7.6 million viewers.
Rivers said she thought Britons would quickly warm to Camilla — whom many still see as the woman who wrecked Charles' marriage to Princess Diana — now that she will take on a more public role.
"They're going to love her once they know her," the comedian said. "She's so terrific. ... She's a very earthy, funny woman."