WINDSOR, United Kingdom — A family of Canadian royal fans was among the many people who were camping out around Windsor Castle in order to catch a glimpse of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
After months of anticipation, people around the world watched as the couple wed Saturday at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor.
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But unlike most, this family’s viewing party wasn’t centred around a television set — Pat and Angie Hart, along with their teenage daughters Camille and Charlotte and Angie’s mom, Janice Cox, flew to London from Brantford, Ont. to celebrate the nuptials.
Pat Hart says they laid claim to a prime spot near the castle on Thursday afternoon.
They spent an especially chilly first night sitting in red and white lawn chairs and huddling under blankets as temperatures dipped to just four degrees Celsius.
Cox says this isn’t the first time they’ve done something like this — she and her daughter also slept on the pavement in front of Buckingham Palace for the wedding of Prince William and the former Kate Middleton in 2011.
She says they couldn’t pass up an opportunity to do it again, this time with the rest of the family.
“Of course, as soon as the announcement was announced, I was on the phone and (said), ‘Let’s go,'” Cox, 69, said.
“And the next thing we knew, we couldn’t leave everybody else out, so here we are.”
Cox said it’s wonderful to feel like they’re a part of history in the making.
“We’re all a little dot in the history books from now on,” she said.
Hundreds of celebrants clogged walkways leading up to The Long Walk and along the metal barriers that lined the route to the castle. During the ceremony, which was broadcast on screens, the crowd sang along to “Stand By Me” led by the choir in the chapel.
Among them were Canadians festooned in red Olympic team sweaters, mountain equipment co-op backpacks, and in the case of one Guelph, Ont., woman, a red and white fascinator with red and white feathers and a Canadian flag.
Nikita Thompson from Kitchener, Ont., says she couldn’t resist the chance to see the couple in person.
“We’ve loved the royals for years and now we actually get to watch … a beautiful wedding,” said Thompson, in town with her sister and friend.
“Ever since Diana, my mom waking us up to watch her wedding, Kate and Will, even Charles.”
Royal fans cheered and hooted as a black car believed to be carrying Markle zipped by towards the chapel. It was a moment of sheer excitement after many hours of waiting in the morning sun for Thompson: “It’s worth it,” she said.
Markle arrived to a fanfare and walked down the aisle accompanied part of the way by Prince Charles, and by 10 young page boys and bridesmaids, who were corralled by Canadian Jessica Mulroney, a friend of the bride.
The children included four-year-old Prince George and three-year-old Princess Charlotte, children of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge. Mulroney’s daughter four-year-old Ivy was a bridesmaid, while seven-year-old twins Brian and John served as pageboys and even the long train of the bride’s veil before she entered the chapel.