Collecting my thoughts about the wedding weekend is hard because it was such a crazy, amazing, tiring, fun, once-in-a-lifetime experience. But here goes nothing!
Let me back this train – or in this case, carriage – up and start back in 2011.
My husband and I found ourselves in London three weeks before Will and Kate’s wedding. Nothing says “womp womp” to a royal fan like a work trip that had been planned months before the wedding of the century was announced.
It couldn’t be changed (we were traveling back from a month in India through Heathrow and staying an extra week) and I was beyond bummed to miss the royal wedding.
As I was buying out the Westminster Abbey gift shop to console myself, my husband promised we could come over if/when Harry got married. Pretty sure he thought it was more of an “if” at the time, to be fair.
Fast forward to November 2017, and a gleeful me jumping up and down saying WE’RE GOING TO THE ROYAL WEDDING!!
Fist bump to you, Meghan.
The day before the wedding
We arrived in Windsor Friday morning, and the day went by in a blur. The sun was shining and the narrow streets were jam-packed with royal fans. Flags, signs, and Union Jack bunting covered every building and the shops were bursting with royal wedding souvenirs.
You couldn’t walk two feet without running into a camera crew! The amount of media from around the world who were broadcasting from Windsor was pretty staggering. It was really cool just to walk down the street and take in the scene.
It was a really lively and fun atmosphere, but also hard to navigate with an exhausted 5-year-old who just got off an overnight flight. Imagine Disney World during the holiday season when you can barely walk down Main Street USA.
We stopped for a late lunch at one of my favorite spots in Windsor, The Duchess of Cambridge pub. They had tons of royal family cardboard cutouts and American and British flags everywhere – it was the perfect way to get me excited for the wedding.
After some souvenir shopping (I’ll have an entire blog post on that!) we went to scope out the scene at The Long Walk. For those of you not familiar, this is the … well, long walk that leads to the castle. The Brits love to give things super obvious place names, don’t they?
It’s surrounded by plenty of trees and grass to run around so we let our son loose and took advantage of the ice cream trucks and other things already set up for the wedding crowd.
This was around 3 p.m. or so and there were plenty of people already camped out on The Long Walk and on the sidewalk in Windsor. Look, I love the royals (obviously, hence this blog) but I draw the line at sleeping on the street.
That time we saw Harry and William
My friend Lauren made the five-ish hour drive down for the wedding with her husband (who was a star and picked us up after the wedding was over). We decided to arrive around 3:30 a.m. the next morning because neither of us wanted to sleep outside in 40ish degree temps on a camping chair.
We made plans to meet up on Friday by the Queen Victoria statue and when I showed up she pointed out the pack of photographers behind her – including Getty Images’s Chris Jackson, who is basically THE royal photographer. (If you’re not familiar with him, his wife is also Kate’s stylist).
Now I’d heard rumors that Prince Harry might do a walkabout to meet fans the night before the wedding, but there was nothing concrete. Plus, I’d been traveling and running around nonstop and hadn’t had a second to catch up on social media to see what was going on.
However, when I saw the barriers set up for the press pen on the corner, I realized something was about to happen. Especially since Chris was there.
At first, we thought Meghan and Harry would be leaving the castle by car since it was reported they’d been over to have tea with The Queen. But then we heard the photogs chatting and found out that Harry and William were coming out to greet the crowds.
It was a long wait standing there – probably an hour or so – and people started packing in. At some point, we realized standing where we were had been a mistake (some of the photographers had brought step stools and ladders) but it was too late to cross the street. There were cops everywhere and barriers so it would’ve been impossible.
Finally, Harry and William came outside and the crowds went wild. Between the photographer in front of us standing on a big ladder and all the people with their hands in the air around us, it was too hard to take a picture. Plus, it probably would have been a crappy picture, and I figured I would enjoy the moment and leave it to the professionals.
But I did get to see the princes, which was really fun! Unfortunately, Harry and William didn’t walk very far down the road or stay out very long. And because we were standing behind the photogs, they didn’t come to talk to anyone near us.
Still, it was an exciting and unexpected moment.
Afterward, I said goodbye to Lauren and her husband and walked down to meet my family, who had gone back to The Long Walk to hang out and play while we waited for the princes.
My husband surprised me by handing me a matted print of The Long Walk from an art gallery we’d been browsing in earlier. I’d hemmed and hawed about whether to buy it because I was worried about transporting it home. But by the time I left the castle, the gallery was closed, and they weren’t open on Saturday or Sunday.
I figured it wasn’t meant to be, so I was excited when I saw he’d bought the print! Now I just need to get it framed and find a good spot to display it.
After grabbing some to-go food from the grocery store and checking out some of the shops, we went in search of a cab back to our B&B. Easier said than done.
Eventually, we had to walk down to Windsor & Eton Riverside station – not horribly far, but we were basically running on fumes at that point after only 2 or 3 hours of sleep. Because of the number of people in Windsor, it was hard to get a cab, so we were lucky to find one!
Our B&B, Park Farm, was lovely and the owner was so nice and accommodating. I would 100% return on my next visit! If you’re ever in Windsor, definitely check this place out.
The only downside was the B&B was about a mile and a half walk to go anywhere in town, so we had to rely on cabs the whole time.
On a normal weekend in Windsor this wouldn’t be a big deal but like I said, it was crazy crowded so the wait was long at times. Windsor Cars, by the way, are great and I highly recommend them.
Since I’ve written a novel at this point I’m going to break this up into three posts. Next week I’ll cover the day itself, and the day after the wedding. Plus, I have TONS of posts to prepare about London.
Until then …