US women delight in royal wedding

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Hundreds of fancy hat-wearing women in their formal best, and a handful of less excitable men, gathered before dawn Friday at Washington's Ritz Carlton for a royal wedding viewing party and breakfast buffet.

"Oh... oh, wow. It's a wow moment," gasped Jan Boswell, hugging tightly her French bulldog Lucy -- outfitted in a canine ballgown -- as Kate Middleton began her walk down the aisle at Westminster Abbey to wed Britain's Prince William.

"It's such a wonderful fairytale, it's spectacular!" exclaimed Boswell under a wide blue-frilled brim.

She had arrived a little past 4:00 am (0900 GMT) to the underground ballroom that was flanked with two enormous screens showing the scenes in London, along with some 250 other guests for the sold-out $40-buffet of English favorites like baked beans and black pudding.

Organizer Audrey Slade, part of the of Ritz public relations team, was amazed at the response.

"At first we thought it would be great if 30 people showed up, but in a few days we sold all the tickets, and had 100 people on a waiting list," she told AFP.

She was overseeing the smiling crowd that despite the early morning start oohed and aahed at Middleton's dress, and giggled at the prince's bashful smile.

Twenty-two people had also undertaken the $429 wedding package that included a night's stay, and celebration bar drinks the night before.

One of the few men in attendence, Jason Baletsa, gladly lapped up the attention his presence brought -- especially with his tuxedo and plastic crown, and his friend Richard Olson sitting nearby in a kilt.

"It's just great to be part of history. It's a special day," a grinning Baletsa told every camera crew and reporter lining up to speak with them.

© 2011 AFP

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