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Royal newlyweds leave palace in style

By Thair Shaikh, CNN
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Royal couple departs Buckingham Palace
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Duke and Duchess of Cambridge drove Aston Martin convertible to Clarence House
  • The car is owned by the duke's father the Prince of Wales
  • It has been converted to run on bioethanol fuel

London (CNN) -- In a break from the pomp and ceremony of their wedding day, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge swapped their limousines and horse-drawn carriages for a stylish 1960s Aston Martin convertible to make the short journey from Buckingham Palace to Clarence House on Friday afternoon.

The pair waved and smiled as they drove the vintage 1969 DB6 Volante, complete with a large plastic red "L" for learner sign on the front grill, which is traditionally used by newly married couples in the UK on the cars they drive to their honeymoon. Colorful balloons were also strung from the rear bumper.

The car -- which is owned by the duke's father the Prince of Wales and has been converted to run on bioethanol made from English wine -- was closely followed by a black Range Rover carrying royal protection officers.

The Aston Martin was a 21st birthday present to the prince from his parents, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, and is similar to the one made famous in the earlier James Bond movies.

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The prince, who is a respected environmental campaigner, converted the car in 2008 to run on 100% bioethanol fuel distilled from surplus wine.

A search and rescue helicopter also made a fly past at the same time -- the duke is a serving search and rescue pilot based in Anglesey, Wales -- and the helicopter was flown by members of B Flight 22 Squadron, which is the same squadron the duke is a member of.

Many members of the public enjoyed the couple's surprise drive in the blue Aston Martin.

Julie Taylor-Kreft, 38, a mortgage adviser from Eastleigh in Hampshire, southern England, arrived in London at 7:30 a.m.

"I think they're really down-to-earth. It was brilliant. It was really good. It shows that he's in touch with the people because that's the sort of thing we would do if we got married here -- go off in a car with all bits and pieces on the back. It show that they're young and fun and like anyone else.

"They're a new generation obviously, and I think a lot of people have come round to them."

Sue Percival, 61, a retired Brit who is now living in Pasadena, California, came to England to visit family and friends but timed it to coincide with the wedding.

"I'm pleased they did that because it's something young and youthful for the two of them to do. ... That's who they are. I think he (the duke) would have liked to have brought his bike down there but they wouldn't let him -- he's got that big Ducati."

CNN's Mairi Mackay contributed to this report.

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