What It Was Like to Be at the Royal Wedding in Person

The royal wedding drew thousands of eyes to Windsor Castle, as royal fans from around the world watched Prince Harry and Meghan Markle say “I do.” For the lucky few who managed to be close in person though, it was an even more special experience. Just ask CNN’s Alisyn Camerota. The anchor—who also published the book Amanda Wakes Up last year—was right there for the festivities, and she gave InStyle the inside scoop on what really went down in Windsor on May 19. Read on for her first person account of covering Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding.

People had been lined up for days. [My CNN crew] arrived yesterday morning, so that’s more than 24 hours before the ceremony, and people were already camping out on the street. I saw some tents. People had tried to use a little masking tape to cordon off an area but that was just futile because there were 100,000 people.

Because it’s the royal family, everything is choreographed to the tee. So I don’t know if everybody at home realized that we had a whole run of show. We knew that at 11:41 a.m., the mother of the bride would be showing up. We knew that at 11:45 a.m., Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles would be showing up. We knew that the last person to enter would be Queen Elizabeth. It was all laid out with military precision, so it wasn’t just that people were arriving willy nilly. We could time it; we could time our watches to it. And sure enough, everybody arrived at exactly the moment that our run of show said they were going to.

Courtesy of Alisyn Camerota

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Nobody does stagecraft like the Brits and the royal family. They had everything so perfected. That procession afterwards, and the cavalry, and all those the horses and the military men decked out in all of their uniforms, that’s all such a living fairytale, and they really know how to pull off those kind of heart stopping moments.

The part where I realized, “Uh oh I didn’t bring enough tissues,” was when Prince Harry and Prince William were first walking through the town down the main street. They were making the walk from where they had gotten ready over to St. George’s Chapel, and it was poignant in a way that I wasn’t expecting. Just watching these two brothers who we’ve known since their birth, and who we’ve watched through every possible life passage including, of course, the grief of losing their mother.

That the last time, well not the last time we saw them walking together, but the time that we felt the most watching them walk together was behind the funeral procession for their mom, behind the casket. Then they were these like little heartbroken boys, and they’ve grown into these handsome men who were going to this heartwarming moment today. Seeing that they’ve been together, and that they have each other, and that they have this solidarity where they support each other, it was poignant to me. Literally at that point I was like, “Can somebody hand me a hanky?” Because I knew that there were going to be those emotional moments of thinking about their mom.

There were all these different little symbols of Diana. They had a blue ribbon that Diana had also worn sewn into the inside of Megan’s dress, as it had been to Kate’s, so that each bride was carrying a little piece of Princess Diana with her down the aisle.

WPA Pool

London and Windsor are notorious for their lousy weather. It’s generally gray, it’s generally a light drizzle. It’s often chilly. I was here doing the Megan and Harry special in February, and it was sleeting. And today, there is not a cloud in the sky. It is a blue sky here at the perfect temperature, perfect warmth, no humidity, not too hot, and a little teeny beautiful breeze. Everybody was remarking that they felt that Princess Diana had a hand in this. Not to have a cloud in the sky is just very unusual here, and it felt as though there were something charmed from the heavens happening.

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I just love this love story. I just love it. In my day job, I spend most mornings often covering really bad news, or hard news, or troubling news. You know often there are those stories—just yesterday there was a school shooting, and I’ve done far too many of those than I can ever care to count. But this is such a good news story. It’s a global good news story, and it makes everybody feel loved. It reminds us all of when we first fell in love, and it reminds us of the transcendental power of love. I don’t know, it’s contagious, their love story and how connected they seem to be. It is contagious, and it’s wonderful to be able to see all of these news crews from around the world covering such a happy positive story.

—As told to Alexandra Whittaker