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Horse breaks royal wedding script

The timing was perfect, the lines delivered without a hitch. The royal wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton unfolded in picture-perfect fashion - except for one horse.

The black horse's frightened dash was seen momentarily by a viewing audience estimated at two billion as it flashed past the open carriage carrying the newlyweds in a procession from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace.

The couple were accompanied by soldiers on horseback from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.

The rider was unseated shortly after the royal procession left the abbey, and bolted past the couple's carriage near 10 Downing Street.

While one eyewitness said the horse appeared to lose its footing and fell as it trotted around a corner, other reports said it was spooked by the noise from the cheering crowd.

The rider - a member of the Blues and Royals horse guard - ended up on the ground. Another rider grabbed the horse by the reins and tried to move the animal to one side, but the horse bolted before the rider, who was back on his feet, could fully take back control of his horse.

Reports suggested the animal managed to make it back to its barracks in Hyde Park by itself, while others said it was stopped by members of the Horseguards. The rider and horse escaped injury.