Will and Kate get hitched – Or, a right royal wedding

A party atmosphere dominates London today and it’s been building for weeks. Thousands of visitors from all over the world have descended on the capital to be a part of the royal wedding celebrations.

Yesterday, this was no more apparent than in Green Park in the afternoon (full of freshly arrived people hanging out with their suitcases in the sun) and last night along Whitehall where people were camping out on the pavements. On my way home, I stopped to ask happy campers where they were from: some as far as the USA, others as close as London. Passing Westminster Abbey around 11pm, the red carpet was just starting to be laid out and it felt like something momentous was about to begin.

Last minute preps outside Queenie’s yesterday morning on my walk to work

Media village, Green Park yesterday – Ben Fogle’s back? and another

Laying out the red carpet at Westminster Abbey last night

Every day, I walk to work through Victoria, past Buckingham Palace and across Green Park. When the media village appeared in Green Park a few weeks ago, it disrupted access for pedestrians, and it seemed just that – a disruption. Then, the construction of multi-level studios began directly opposite the palace, and viewing platforms sprang up by the Victoria Memorial, and the anticipation crept in.

It’s been an amazing experience to see my routine daily walk across London so totally transformed for this historic event. By the start of this week, everything had suddenly taken shape: The Mall area was ready for today and even more people than usual have been attracted to Buckingham Palace’s gates. The atmosphere around Westminster Abbey last night was one of excitement. And now the big day is finally here.

07:00 – A bit dehydrated and clumsy, I’m feeling the effects of last night’s drinks after work. Who’s to blame? Oh, me. I prepare a right royal breakfast that includes bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese and a bottle of sparkling rosé.
08:00 – It’s a chilly start to the day and we’re on our way by bus to Marble Arch.
09:00 – On arrival at Speakers’ Corner, people are making their way into Hyde Park – it’s still fairly empty. Souvenir sellers are doing a roaring trade – everyone’s buying flags. There are three 100m² screens in the park and we lay out a picnic blanket in front of the centre screen and bed in. Time for breakfast and a hair of the dog.
10:00 – The park’s filling up quite quickly now. I note the exact position of our picnic blanket and head off to the porta-loos before Prince William is due to make his appearance. On my return, I aim for the centre screen but can’t find our spot now the crowds are pretty dense. Minor panic. I try phoning and texting but no luck*.
I go to the front of the crowds to take in Huw Edwards’ running commentary for ten minutes before going to look again, successfully this time.

11:11 – The sun comes out during the first hymn, changing the weather from cold and grey to sunny and well – proper picnic weather. There’s a relaxed, party atmosphere here in Hyde Park with corks popping all around me. Everyone’s cheering and waving Union Jack flags and having a good time. When the service ends and the wedding bells start ringing on screen, confetti spews over us all in the park.

13:20 – The first public kiss between the Prince and Princess on the balcony at Buckingham Palace (how many millions of people around the world are watching? Could that be the most viewed, most public kiss ever?) followed by the fly-past. We see and hear the Lancaster bombers in the ‘Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’ on-screen over Buckingham Palace first, and then – very excitingly – they do a lap above us, over Hyde Park.

14:00 – Live entertainment is well underway from MIB (they can really sing but are covering cheesey tracks of Stevie Wonder, Lionel Ritchie, Aerosmith, etc). Still, it’d be rude not to shimmy, and Robbie Williams’ Let me entertain you goes down well.
*Texts and voicemail messages start to come through now – the networks have been jammed, unsurprisingly

Dancing in the park on a sunny afternoon

15:00 – Leaving the park on Park Lane, the crowds disperse quickly and – passing Grosvenor Square and the American Embassy – it’s eerily quiet by the time we reach Berkeley Square. It’s suddenly back to busy on Piccadilly, where more crowds are leaving Green Park and queuing to get into the tube station, where I notice that I’m burnt pink from my couple of hours in the sun. What an English rose.

And what a thoroughly wholesome and top day out.

More royal wedding info:
~ Official Royal Wedding website
~ GLA info on royal wedding screening at Hyde Park

More photos:
~ Monarchy’s Official Royal Wedding photos
~ GLA’s royal wedding photos
~ A right royal picnic slideshow
~ Royal wedding photos

Hyde Park video-clips:
1. Crowds gather in Hyde Park – 10am
2. First sight of the bride’s dress by Sarah Burton
3. It’s not just the crowd that’s buzzing – interference
4. Patriotism in the Park – loadsa flag-waving
5. Hyde Park’s sing-along to God Save the Queen
6. Signing marriage registers at Westminster Abbey
7. Confetti fountains
8. Hyde Park Sreening – Along The Mall
9. First public kiss + fly-past
10. Dancing in the park on a sunny afternoon


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