TIME the backstory

The Royal Kiss: Photographs by Joachim Ladefoged

It was the moment an estimated 2 billion people around the world were waiting for. Photographer Joachim Ladefoged captures the Royal couple's first kiss.

It was the moment an estimated 2 billion people around the world were waiting for.

At 1:25 pm the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge emerged on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. The crowd chanted, “Kiss! Kiss! Kiss,” and in an instant, it was over.

Photographer Joachim Ladefoged, on assignment for TIME, had been waiting as well. Working in 2 feet of space on level 3 in spot 44 on bleachers far across a sea of well-wishers, Ladefoged trained his camera on the newlyweds and captured the historic moment.

Ladefoged said it was the longest he had waited for a single picture. Once in position, the photographers on the risers were not allowed to leave. “You’re stuck up there, you can’t move around,” said Ladefoged, who arrived at 7 a.m. “So I brought a book, sweets and a lot of clothes.” The book was a biography of soccer sensation Lionel Messi. “I finished it,” he added.

There was much discussion among the dozens of photographers waiting for the kiss. Which lens? Tight or loose? Include the family or not? Ladefoged, a member of the VII Photo Agency, compared it to sports photography.

But then something unexpected happened. As the couple disappeared into Buckingham Palace, Kate Middleton gave the crowd a parting glance. “For that kind of picture, what she does there—that’s perfect.” Ladefoged said.

Joachim Ladefoged was most recently on assignment to photograph Justin Bieber in concert for the TIME 100.

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