Harry was said to have made a light-hearted best man’s speech, laced with jokes at his brother’s expense, after a dinner hosted by Prince Charles to celebrate Williams’ marriage to Kate Middleton in front of 300 guests.
After the royal wedding party, guests filtered out slowly through the side gates of Buckingham Palace between 11pm and 3pm.
Most of the departing guests got into cars and taxis that picked them up from inside the palace walls. Some couples were seen kissing on the back seat as they left. Others shielded their faces.
The end of the party was announced with around 20 seconds of fireworks, greeted by loud cheers and shouts from inside the palace walls.
Harry left in a minibus at about 3am, minus his bow tie, accompanied by a dozen fellow party-goers thought to have included Kate Middleton’sbrother James.
A small number of guests left on foot, describing it as a “great evening”. Most late-departing guests were in their twenties or thirties but there were some who were much older. Most of the older guests left before midnight.
Some hailed taxis and others walked down Buckingham Palace Road towards Victoria Station.
Earlier in the evening, Prince William and the Prince of Wales used parts of their speeches to mock each other, continuing the tradition of father-son speechmaking.
The Prince of Wales drew attention to his son’s baldness and, in return, Prince William highlighting his father’s waistline.
His father said he hoped Prince William would look after him in old age before joking that William would “push his wheelchair of a cliff”.
The young prince described being “in love” with his bride and emphasised the importance of family.
Kate Middleton had worn her second dress of the day by the designer Sarah Burton of fashion house Alexander McQueen. Following her Grace Kelly-style wedding dress, she opted for a strapless white satin gazar evening gown with a circle skirt and diamanté embroidered detail around the waist.
The Queen, meanwhile, had decided to absent herself from the evening event.
Prince Harry, his brother’s best man, had suggested in recent weeks that he would have to tone down his speech if his grandmother was present, so it appeared she had given tacit approval for a fun rather than formal celebration.
Prince William and Kate left Clarence House for the party at Buckingham Palace shortly after 8pm in a Jaguar with tinted windows. Crowds on The Mall who had waited several hours for another glimpse of the couple were left disappointed that there was no walkabout.
The bride’s family left the Goring Hotel about half an hour earlier, along with two minibuses full of guests. Pippa Middleton had changed into a long emerald green sleeveless dress with a jewelled embellishment and a plunging neckline.
Mrs Middleton wore a black capped sleeve dress, cut low at the front and back, with a tiered skirt.
The Duchess of Cornwall wore a light blue hand-embroidered high-collared floor length Anna Valentine dress.
Other guests expected to attend included Guy Pelly and Thomas van Straubenzee, the couple’s close friends.
The palace’s State Rooms, including the grand Ballroom, were used for the party. The ballroom, measuring just over 118ft (36m) by 60ft (18m), is the largest of the 775 rooms in the palace.
The singer Ellie Goulding, best known for her version of Elton John’s Your Song, was among those who performed at the event. Joss Stone, the singer from Devon, was also among the guests.
Prince Charles hired chef Anton Mossiman to cater, with guests enjoying crab to start, followed by lamb.
Prince Harry was said to have insisted that bacon and sausage sandwiches were available later in the night. An ice cream van was also said to have been hired to provide an alternative dessert.
Adding to the informality of the event, a giant glitter ball was said to have been installed, at the suggestion of the bride’s sister, to the reported chagrin of some of the more traditional courtiers.