Prince Harry and his bride, the former Meghan Markle, dressed in a Givenchy wedding gown and with one of Queen Mary’s tiaras pinning her lengthy veil to her hair, are processing out of St. George’s Chapel, having said their vows at their royal wedding. They have exited the west doors, where they kissed briefly, and are waiting for their carriage to ride down The Long Walk with the world watching and tens of thousands on hand outside Windsor Castle to help them celebrate.
The couple invited 2,640 people to watch them and their guests arrive at and depart from the chapel, including 1,200 people nominated by authorities in nine of the United Kingdom’s regions, as well as charity workers, local school children and employees of the queen. Six hundred guests will attend the ceremony.
Here’s the news breakdown from Windsor:
12:50 p.m. London time/7:50 a.m. ET: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have said “I will,” as the Anglican wedding service puts it, and are blessed and married, the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex. They signed the register, while 19-year-old cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and the orchestraplay a selection of classical music pieces, including one by an 18th-century woman composer. Kanneh-Masson won the 2016 BBC Musician of the Year award, the first black musician to win the award since it was founded 38 years ago.
12:32 p.m. London time/7:32 a.m. ET: Following the Rev. Curry’s animated address, the gossip choir, the Kingdom Choir, swings into Stand By Me.
12:22 p.m. London time/7:22 a.m. ET: The Most Reverend Michael Curry, the American Episcopalian bishop invited by Meghan Markle to give the sermon, delivers a passionate address on love and fire, starting out by quoting the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, and at times bring both bride and groom to laughter.
The prince and his bride are seated, her extra-long veil draped down the aisle.
12:15 p.m. London time/7:15 a.m. ET: Lady Jane Fellowes, elder sister to the late Princess Diana, gives her reading from the Song of Solomon, which starts out, “My beloved speaks and says to me: ‘Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.”
12 noon London time/7 ET: Meghan Markle is walking down the aisle with her pageboys and bridesmaids, and has met Prince Charles halfway to be escorted to the altar and her bridegroom.
Cheers erupted across the town of Windsor as royal fans and tourists watched a stream of celebrities, actors and high-profile friends and family of the royal pair file into St. George’s Chapel. Because of the town’s limited space, and the large numbers, giant screens were set up across Windsor.
11:53 a.m. London time/6:53 ET: Meghan Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, has entered the church, leaving her daughter in the car that will take her to the chapel’s west doors. Prince Charles and his second wife, Duchess Camilla of Cornwall, have arrived at the church, and Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are just behind them. Despite his hip surgery, he seemed in good shape, climbing out of the car unaided.
11:35 a.m. London time/6:35 ET: Prince Harry and his best man, Prince William, have arrived and and entered the chapel, causing the assembled guests to rise. The two are fully kitted out in military uniforms, as royal bridegrooms typically are.
They are wearing the frockcoat uniform of the Blues and Royals, Kensington Palace said, adding that the queen gave Harry, who is no longer in the British Army, permission to get married in his uniform.
11:30 a.m. London time/6:30 ET: As the arrival of the bride draws nearer, members of the royal family, the children and grandchildren of the queen, are in their places, such as Princess Anne the Princess Royal, and her husband, Sir Timothy Laurence.
By custom and royal protocol, Queen Elizabeth II is the last to arrive at any event she attends but that won’t be be case at the wedding: Her Majesty will arrive about eight minutes before the bride arrives at the chapel with her mother, Doria Ragland.
Markle will enter the chapel escorted only by her pageboys and bridesmaids, then will meet Prince Charles at the chapel quire about halfway down the main aisle, and he will escort her the rest of the way to the altar. Her decision to walk partway down the aisle unaided is being interpreted as a signal of her confidence and independence.
11:21 a.m. London time/6:21 ET: American royal-to-be Meghan Markle has left her hotel on her way to the chapel about 10 miles away. She’s with her mother, Doria Ragland, and in a burgundy Rolls Royce often used by the royal family for important events.
11 a.m. London time/6 ET: Sarah Ferguson — “Fergie” — the Duchess of York, has arrived, looking svelte. She was not with her ex-husband, Prince Andrew the Duke of York, and their daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, who also will be in the chapel. The four will be attending the queen’s reception for 600 later at the castle, but there is some question whether Fergie is invited to the more intimate dinner for 200 hosted by Prince Charles at Frogmore House in the evening.
10:53 a.m. London time/5:53 ET: American tennis superstar and new mom Serena Williams, a close friend to Markle, arrived with her husband, Alexis Ohanian. James Corden and his wife have arrived, as has another close friend to Markle, actress Priyanka Chopra.
10:46 a.m. London time/5:46 ET: Elton John and his husband, David Furnish, were spotted talking animatedly inside the chapel with David Beckham, as James Blunt stood nearby. John may be performing at the reception at the castle later.
10:28 a.m. London time/5:28 ET: Two superstar couples have arrived: American movie star George Clooney and his British wife, the human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin Clooney, and British soccer star David Beckham and Victoria Beckham, the former Spice Girl-turned-fashion designer.
10:18 a.m. London time/5:18 ET:
The Middletons have arrived: The family of the former Kate Middleton, now Duchess Kate of Cambridge after marrying Prince William in 2011, arrived together, including parents Michael and Carole Middleton, brother James Middleton, and Pippa Middleton and her husband of one year, James Matthews.
Pippa was clad in a pale green dress splashed with a flower pattern and full over the stomach, which fueled speculation that she’s pregnant as reports in the British media have suggested.
10:05 a.m. London time/5:05 ET: Kensington Palace released information on the wedding rings: As expected, Markle’s ring will be made of Welsh gold gifted by the queen, which is traditional for brides marrying into the Prince of Wales’ family.
Harry’s ring will be a platinum band with a textured finish. By choosing to wear a wedding ring, Harry is breaking with recent tradition: Neither Prince William nor Prince Charles wear wedding rings, nor does his grandfather, Prince Philip.
Both rings were made by Cleave and Company, the London jeweler with royal warrants from the queen and Prince Charles, and will be carried into the chapel by best man Prince William.
9:42 a.m. London time/4:42 ET: The first celebrity guests are arriving. Spotted immediately: British actor Idris Elba and Oprah Winfrey. Singer James Blunt, who served in the British Army with Harry, was seen.
Also, Harry’s uncle, Charles, the Earl Spencer, the late Princess Diana’s brother, arrived with his wife. His sister, Lady Jane Fellowes, will be delivering a reading during the ceremony.
9:15 a.m. London time/4:15 ET: Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted her best wishes to the bride and groom, and added a toast to all those celebrating at street parties.
6 a.m. London time/1 ET: The first train from central London to Windsor left at 5 a.m. local time. It was packed for the 45-minute ride.
Several hundred tourists, some with small children in tow wiping the sleep out their eyes, were in an excited, expectant mood for Harry and Meghan’s big day.
About halfway to Windsor, a cry rang out from a voice in one of the carriages.
“Are we excited!?”
“Yes! Yes! Yes!” a group of women from Florida shouted back, before erupting into giddy laughter.
James Turner, a 33-year-old from southern England who was seated near USA TODAY, asked: “Do Americans always get this worked up about weddings?”
He said he too was on his way to Windsor, but if not for his girlfriend’s insistence he would not have made the effort to get up so early to avoid the crowds. More than 100,000 people are expected in Windsor on Saturday.
By 6, tens of thousands were already on the streets cheering, waving flags and ready to party in Harry-and-Meghan royal memorabilia from earrings to scarves.
Earlier Saturday, Carol Ann Duffy, Britain’s poet laureate, published an ode to commemorate the royal wedding. It read:
“It should be private, the long walk on bereavement’s hard stones; and when people wave, their hands should not be mobile phones, nor their faces lenses; so your heart dressed in its uniform.
On. Then one blessed step and the long walk ended where love had always been aimed, her arrows of sweet flowers gifting the air among bells — yes, they all looked —and saying your name.”
7:45 a.m. London time/2:45 ET:Londoner Grace Gothard was wrapped in the flag of Ghana, where she originally hails from.
Gothard was wandering around the Long Walk, the three-mile, tree-lined avenue that the royal couple will ride down in an open-top, horse-drawn carriage after they are married in Windsor Castle.
Gothard, accompanied by her husband, Mike, had some advice for Markle: “I want you to be yourself after you are married, Meghan. Be a great woman. Be a great human being. And be happy.”
8:11 a.m. London time/3:11 ET:Buckingham Palace announced the royal titles bestowed by Queen Elizabeth for Harry and Meghan — the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
“The Queen has today been pleased to confer a Dukedom on Prince Henry of Wales. His titles will be Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel,” the palace said in a statement. “Prince Harry thus becomes His Royal Highness, the Duke of Sussex, and Ms. Meghan Markle on marriage will become Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Sussex.”
9:00 a.m. London time/4 ET:Spectators heading into Windsor town center hoping for a view of the festivities were diverted by specially appointed marshals down the winding streets, with many closed.
Hawkers were selling memorabilia including royal wedding flags and scarves. Large groups of police officers were stationed on the banks of the Thames River and close to the castle.
There was a carnival atmosphere opposite the castle, as the excited crowd waited for the day’s events to unfold.
In nearby Eton, a sign announced a road leading to the bridge to Windsor would be closed for a street party: one of many being held to mark the big day. Some here didn’t have the day off to watch the festivities. Boys from the exclusive Eton College — Prince Harry’s old school — headed for lessons as usual on Saturday.
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