The sun shone, the caviar was on ice and the heavenly scent of a thousand pink roses filled the air.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the church during the tender moment when Pippa and Mr Pippa stood at the altar of St Mark’s in Englefield, in front of friends, royalty and Roger Federer, and proceedeth to plight their gorgeous troth to one other.
As I imagine it, the vicar’s voice rang out loud and clear over the forest of exotic millinery.
"Do you, Pippa . . ."
"Just a moment, my dear. Do you, Pippa Middleton take . . ."
"My child, you must be calm. Do you Pippa Middleton take this random billionaire to be your lawful wedded…"
"Yes, yes, yes!" cried Pippa, as everyone cheered, especially those in the Middleton pews.
And lo, the church bells pealed out as a troupe of sulky knickerbockered page boys and tiny flower girls scattered petals at the feet of the newlyweds.
For at last Pippa has claimed her ultimate prize, and one that puts big sister Kate firmly in the shade.
On Saturday, the younger sister of the Duchess of Cambridge wed James Matthews, the man she and her family probably affectionately know as Wotsisname, Thingy and Give Him The Bill.
Those naysayers who thought that following the royal wedding in 2011, Pippa’s life was destined to be lived out in second place, cloistered in the gloom of her big sister’s regal status, had to eat their words.
After she agreed to wed James in sickness and in health, for richer or richer, her prospects changed in a trice. No longer in the royal shadows nor confined to the runners-up podium in the husband stakes, Pippa’s triumph was apparent to all.
And the photographs taken on the church steps confirmed it all; Kate looking mousy in badly seamed salmon pink, relegated to fixing hems and scolding children, while Pippa was radiant and dimpled, a Krakatoa of contentment.
The pendulum of power has swung in the Middleton sisters’ relationship, for it is now Miss Pips the Hips rather than her No Lips Big Sis who is in the ascendant.
Look at who she has married! Not only does lovely James Matthews resemble a rather kindly version of Disney’s Big Friendy Giant, he is wealthier than some small countries — and, say what you like, that kind of stuff is important in the hedgerows and byways of downtown Bucklebury.
James is a hedge fund manager, a 41-year-old City financier who can buy his young wife her heart’s desire, including as many diamonds, skiing holidays and Reiss handbags as her well-muscled arms can carry.
In addition, his family fortune is not predicated on boring coal mines, chicken sheds or a string of dreary factories in the grimy north; dull places full of worker bees that have to be visited once a year, oh God anything but that. Thankfully, after making his fortune in property and car dealerships, James’s clever father David helpfully bought the exclusive Eden Rock resort on the heavenly Caribbean island of St Barth’s, where rooms start at £550 a night. Pippa can now be guaranteed excellent service and a favourable rate every time she sets her perma-tanned tootsies on the white sands.
And no doubt staff will be very grateful for her celebrated tips on posh catering as told in her party planning book Celebrate, such as making tea (put the teabags in a teapot) and having a picnic in the country (walk or cycle to your favourite picnic spot).
By marrying Mr Matthews, Pippa has fired a starting gun on a life of luxury that will be the envy of many, especially her sis.
Instead of being confined behind the crenellated ramparts of royal castles, forced to spend summers in front of a three-bar electric fire at Balmoral, Pippa’s marriage trajectory is a ribbon of silk weaving through a tapestry of unbridled opulence, unhindered by the frugal royal protocol that constrains the duchess.
No wonder that in today’s world, any smart, modern girl would rather wed a billionaire that a Prince — does Meghan Markle have any idea what she might be letting herself in for? For while Kate may have married into royalty — her husband is a future king of England, her son ditto — it is Pippa who stands to live the kind of unrestrained wealthy wife lifestyle that the Duchess can only dream of.
Despite the prestige inherent in her married title, Kate will always be a bird chained inside a modestly gilded cage. From now until forever more, protocol and societal demands mean that the duchess must be prudent and thrifty: dutifully pairing her borrowed tiaras with her LK Bennett shoes, always making sure her children don’t look too elitist in their pre-war rompers; keeping her own skiing trips down to a once-a-year mini break.
And she must never, ever boast about her new kitchen units at Kensington Palace, for fear it might lead to rioting in the streets.
In contrast, Pippa can do as she pleases. She can take off on a whim whenever, opt for unashamed five-star luxury at every turn, do a desultory bit of charity work while relaxing on the teak deck of her favourite yacht. She doesn’t ever have to work again — not that she ever did much — and continue to indulge in her beloved sporty lifestyle, including swimming, cycling, mountain climbing, skiing on every continent and sprinting towards the nearest beach lounger.
Meanwhile, husband James can be relied upon to supply hot-and-cold-running private jets and the kind of gilded high life to which she must now become even more accustomed.
Honestly, if I was wearing a wedding hat right now, I’d doff it in respect to magnificent Pippa. I might even drop her a curtsey, too.
Not only did the 33-year-old socialite look beautiful on her fairy-tale wedding day, not only did she refuse to baulk at having a knees-up in a giant glass terrarium in her parents’ back garden plus a Spitfire flypast — more restrained brides might have opted for the village hall and balloons — she has snaffled the golden ticket in the lottery of life.
What is the secret of her success? Tatler once suggested that Pippa had a thing for "tall men who work in finance", which I thought was putting it politely.
Well, she certainly has a type. She likes ’em tall, dark — and rich. The kind of suede loafer, blazer-wearing, cash-and-asset-rich posh boys who would gladden her mother Carole’s heart.
At Edinburgh University, Pippa wasted no time in dating banking heir JJ Jardine Paterson. After this, it was dashing millionaire Alexander Spencer Churchill, a wealthy quasi-aristo whom she met in Mustique. In 2010, she stepped out with Alex Loudon, a former England cricketer who had attended Eton with Prince William. It was Alex who escorted her to the royal wedding in 2011 — but by the end of the year, their romance was over.
The following year it was the turn of gorgeous stockbroker Nico Jackson. Their relationship ended in October 2015, when he moved to Geneva without her.
What next for a girl looking for love? The cavalry came a-galloping in with James Matthews — a man whom Pippa had known for ten years, had briefly dated but always remained friends.
Soon that friendship turned into love and ended up with the kind of £1-million celebration that made the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee look like a non-event.
Yet I feel happy for Pippa, and believe that she has made a love match. In many ways, she and husband James are secondary siblings, for both of them live slightly in the shadow of a sibling who is much more popular and celebrated.
Pippa’s light once dimmed in Kate’s shade, while James has been overshadowed by his idiot brother Spencer, his younger and more handsome sibling, known to some from TV reality show Made In Chelsea. But, together, Pippa and James have now jet-streamed ahead in the race of life.
Good for Pippa. Far too many of society’s sisters, still beautiful and well-connected, end up lost and lonely, or on a downward spiral of less and less impressive beaus with each passing year.
In marrying fabulously wealthy James, Pippa has seen off this fate worse than Princess Margaret or tragic Tara Palmer-Tomkinson. Clever Pippa!
She had to kiss a lot of Mr Rights to find her Mr Very Very Right, but she got there in the end.