Royal wedding: Kate Middleton braves Blackburn rain

Crowds of up to 15,000 had been touted for their visit to Witton Country Park in Blackburn.

But while the rain may have meant only hardier souls braved the conditions, it could not dampen the enthusiasm or the promise of a warm Lancashire welcome for the royal visitors.

A weekend of sunshine had lasted only until this morning, just as crowds began to assemble under leaden skies, carrying Union Jack flags, fold-away chairs and, wisely, some umbrellas.

By 11am a steady drizzle had turned into a deluge with mothers and fathers sheltering their youngsters under brollies and the canopy of trees.

Also getting wet were some visitors not used to such a drenching, with television crews from as far away as Australia complaining about the ”English” weather.

They were among around 100 members of the media from across the globe assembled at the park, with the eyes of the world well and truly on Blackburn.

Crowds had gathered from early morning in good weather to claim a spot to catch a glimpse of the couple but around an hour before they arrived the conditions changed and rain swept in soaking the local residents.

But the well-wishers waited patiently against crash barriers, with some carrying umbrellas and others wrapped in raincoats against the showers.

The dignitaries also sheltered under brollies and were lined up outside the Community Academy for the royal and his bride-to-be.

When the prince and his fiancée arrived they were cheered by those nearby and the prince led the way, waving to the well-wishers as he headed to the officials.

Miss Middleton was a few paces behind him sheltering under a huge black umbrella that shielded her from the downpour.

She was dressed in a smart navy blue jacket and skirt and her hair was styled half up and half down.

They both found a moment to wave to the locals who responded with a cheer, then the engagement began as they greeted the senior officials from Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.

Handshakes and smiles were exchanged with the small group and Miss Middleton shared a laugh with one before they headed inside the building and out of the rain.

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