Royal wedding: Excitement builds in Windsor after fans camp outside

  • Royal fans are camped outside Windsor Castle hoping to claim a prime viewing spot for the royal wedding
  • They bundled up in union flags and clothing bearing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's faces
  • More than 100,000 spectators are expected to descend upon Windsor on Saturday
  • A rehearsal for the wedding is scheduled later today and 250 officers will line the streets the day of the event

By Cheyenne Roundtree For Mailonline

Published: 04:33 EDT, 17 May 2018 | Updated: 07:41 EDT, 17 May 2018

Wedding fever is ramping up in Windsor, as royal fans camp outside the castle overnight and drape themselves in union flags and scarves.

The diehard enthusiasts braved the chilly 8C (46F) weather as they staked their ground for a prime viewing spot two days before the wedding of the year.

Fans, who are bundled up in union flags and clothing bearing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's faces, have set up camp behind the barriers on the route that the royal procession will take through the Berkshire town.

Royal fanatic Donna Werner, who travelled from the U.S. to get a glimpse of the soon-to-be newlyweds, dressed in a mix of British and U.S. flag-themed attire, including a shirt that read 'Prince Harry, I'm still available. Last chance!'

Meanwhile Windsor is anticipating for hundreds of thousands of spectators to descend upon the quaint town on the River Thames, just west of London on Saturday.

Shops have put up royal-themed decorations to celebrate the event and visitors have flocked to Windsor in royal fancy dress, posing as Meghan, the Queen and even Buckingham Palace guards.  

Royal fanatic Donna Werner, who travelled from the U.S. to get a glimpse of Prince Harry and Meghan, dressed in a mix of British and U.S. flag-themed attire on Wednesday, including a shirt that said 'Prince Harry, I'm still available. Last chance!'
Royal fanatic Donna Werner, who travelled from the U.S. to get a glimpse of Prince Harry and Meghan, dressed in a mix of British and U.S. flag-themed attire on Wednesday, including a shirt that said 'Prince Harry, I'm still available. Last chance!'

Royal fanatic Donna Werner, who travelled from the U.S. to get a glimpse of Prince Harry and Meghan, dressed in a mix of British and U.S. flag-themed attire on Wednesday, including a shirt that said 'Prince Harry, I'm still available. Last chance!'

A royal fan poses with her dog gather outside Windsor Castle on Thursday morning
A royal fan poses with her dog gather outside Windsor Castle on Thursday morning
A four-year-old boy dressed up in uniform, complete with a drum
A four-year-old boy dressed up in uniform, complete with a drum

A royal fan poses with her dog gather outside Windsor Castle on Thursday morning (left). Four-year-old  George dressed up in a soldier's uniform, complete with a drum (right)

People await the rehearsal of the carriage procession today for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Pictured: Royal superfan Terry Hutt, who was dubbed 'Union Jack Man' by the Queen, stationed himself outside Windsor Castle
People await the rehearsal of the carriage procession today for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Pictured: Royal superfan Terry Hutt, who was dubbed 'Union Jack Man' by the Queen, stationed himself outside Windsor Castle

People await the rehearsal of the carriage procession today for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Pictured: Royal superfan Terry Hutt, who was dubbed 'Union Jack Man' by the Queen, stationed himself outside Windsor Castle

Royal fans, who bundled up in union flags and clothing bearing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's faces, have set up camp behind the barriers on the route that the royal procession will take through the Berkshire town
Royal fans, who bundled up in union flags and clothing bearing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's faces, have set up camp behind the barriers on the route that the royal procession will take through the Berkshire town

Royal fans, who bundled up in union flags and clothing bearing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's faces, have set up camp behind the barriers on the route that the royal procession will take through the Berkshire town

A police officer chats to fans of Britain's Royal familly in Windsor on Thursday morning ahead of a rehearsal 
A police officer chats to fans of Britain's Royal familly in Windsor on Thursday morning ahead of a rehearsal 

A police officer chats to fans of Britain's Royal familly in Windsor on Thursday morning ahead of a rehearsal 

People await the rehearsal of the carriage procession on Thursday for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle 
People await the rehearsal of the carriage procession on Thursday for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle 

People await the rehearsal of the carriage procession on Thursday for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle 

People who spent the night outside Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, pose for a photo early on Thursday morning, ahead of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding on Saturday
People who spent the night outside Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, pose for a photo early on Thursday morning, ahead of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding on Saturday

People who spent the night outside Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, pose for a photo early on Thursday morning, ahead of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding on Saturday

Ms Werner said on Wednesday: 'I want them to come through those gates. I want them to look at me, wave and smile.'

The 66-year-old, who flew 3,000 miles from New Fairfield, Connecticut, to be in Windsor, added: 'That will make it all worthwhile. It really will.'

A rehearsal for the royal wedding took place on Thursday morning, as police were out in full force to give organisers a chance to put some finishing touches to the global event.

Some 250 soldiers, sailors, marines and air crew are expected to take part in Saturday's festivities, lining the streets as the newlywed Prince Harry and Meghan head on a 25-minute carriage ride through the town.

'There's a lot of planning and preparation that goes into this,' said the Royal Navy's state ceremonial officer Eddie Wearing.

'The guys will be able to cope with the pressure on the day because we have done a lot of training and it's all about repetition.

'Nerves are a good thing and a bit of healthy nervousness is good in my book. We are absolutely ready to go.'  

Camilla the King Charles spaniel wears flags and decorations as she sits alongside Windsor Castle in Windsor today 
Camilla the King Charles spaniel wears flags and decorations as she sits alongside Windsor Castle in Windsor today 

Camilla the King Charles spaniel wears flags and decorations as she sits alongside Windsor Castle in Windsor today 

A rehearsal for the royal wedding took place today, as police were out in full force to give organisers a chance to put some finishing touches to the global event
A rehearsal for the royal wedding took place today, as police were out in full force to give organisers a chance to put some finishing touches to the global event

A rehearsal for the royal wedding took place today, as police were out in full force to give organisers a chance to put some finishing touches to the global event

Royal watchers Faith Nicholson (left) and Michelle Poggi (right) in Windsor today
Royal watchers Faith Nicholson (left) and Michelle Poggi (right) in Windsor today

Royal watchers Faith Nicholson (left) and Michelle Poggi (right) in Windsor today

Donna Werner from the U.S., who is a super-fan of the royal family, arranges decorations near the spot she has chosen outside Windsor Castle from which to witness Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's carriage procession after their wedding
Donna Werner from the U.S., who is a super-fan of the royal family, arranges decorations near the spot she has chosen outside Windsor Castle from which to witness Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's carriage procession after their wedding

Donna Werner from the U.S., who is a super-fan of the royal family, arranges decorations near the spot she has chosen outside Windsor Castle from which to witness Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's carriage procession after their wedding

The fans bundled up with union flag-printed hats, red, white and blue blankets and waved flags with the faces of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on them
The fans bundled up with union flag-printed hats, red, white and blue blankets and waved flags with the faces of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on them

The fans bundled up with union flag-printed hats, red, white and blue blankets and waved flags with the faces of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on them

A Royal fan with a union flag and Harry and Meghan pins, camps on the street close to Windsor Castle
A Royal fan with a union flag and Harry and Meghan pins, camps on the street close to Windsor Castle

A Royal fan with a union flag and Harry and Meghan pins, camps on the street close to Windsor Castle

Windsor, which is dominated by the royal castle, was decorated with swathes of red, white and blue 'Union Jack' flags. Stalls sold Harry and Meghan scarves for £15 ($20) and commemorative caps for £10.  

As businesses hawk royal wedding themed goods, it's estimated people will shell out a total of £225million across the UK celebrating the royal wedding, according to research by VoucherCodes.

Londoners are set to spend the most at £106million, while Scots are expected to splash £29million on the big day and the east of England comes in third place at a sizeable £14million. 

More than 100,000 people are expected to descend on the town on Saturday. 

They will have to clear airport-style security before being allowed near the main venue, said Superintendent Jim Weems, the police's tactical commander for the day. 

Britain is on its second-highest threat level of severe, meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely. Last year 36 people died in four attacks. 

 Despite the tight security, Mr Weems said there was no particular threat against the wedding.

Crowds gather on the streets near Windsor Castle on Thursday morning ahead of a rehearsal for the wedding 
Crowds gather on the streets near Windsor Castle on Thursday morning ahead of a rehearsal for the wedding 

Crowds gather on the streets near Windsor Castle on Thursday morning ahead of a rehearsal for the wedding 

A dog wears a union flag coat as he waits alongside Windsor Castle in Windsor on Thursday 
A dog wears a union flag coat as he waits alongside Windsor Castle in Windsor on Thursday 

A dog wears a union flag coat as he waits alongside Windsor Castle in Windsor on Thursday 

A rehearsal of the carriage procession through Windsor for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took place today  in Windsor ahead of the Royal Wedding on Saturday
A rehearsal of the carriage procession through Windsor for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took place today  in Windsor ahead of the Royal Wedding on Saturday

A rehearsal of the carriage procession through Windsor for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took place today  in Windsor ahead of the Royal Wedding on Saturday

On Windsor's streets, hundreds of tourists and journalists mingled with dedicated royals fans - some draped with UK flags and holding photographs of Harry and Markle - while armed police patrolled
On Windsor's streets, hundreds of tourists and journalists mingled with dedicated royals fans - some draped with UK flags and holding photographs of Harry and Markle - while armed police patrolled

On Windsor's streets, hundreds of tourists and journalists mingled with dedicated royals fans - some draped with UK flags and holding photographs of Harry and Markle - while armed police patrolled

Women take photos on their smartphones as they lean out of the window of a building near Windsor Castle on Thursday 
Women take photos on their smartphones as they lean out of the window of a building near Windsor Castle on Thursday 

Women take photos on their smartphones as they lean out of the window of a building near Windsor Castle on Thursday 

Windsor residents complain of police crackdown on rough sleepers ahead of royal wedding 

Officers talk to a homeless man on Thursday
Officers talk to a homeless man on Thursday

Officers talk to a homeless man on Thursday

Police have been clearing away sleeping bags and other possessions belonging to homeless people in a crackdown before the royal wedding.

The 'extensive' measures are part of the policing plan to 'deliver a safe, secure and happy event for everyone'.

Some Windsor residents are complaining of the security effort. 

Homeless Nick Thomas, 27, said to the Independent: 'They have had the sniffer dogs out today. They went through my stuff yesterday. 

'They don't want everyone to see the homeless problem. They are trying to keep it out of sight and out of mind.'

Jaswinder Singh, who runs a business in Windsor, also disapproved of how police were handling rough sleepers. 

He added: 'The police are searching their bags. I don't know why they are searching when they have got nothing.

'I don't know where the homeless people have gone. The police have chucked them - have taken them away somewhere but I don't know where they have taken them.'  

As the big day nears, it was reported that Meghan's father has been left 'heartbroken' as he will miss the wedding. 

Thomas Markle is said to have successfully undergone heart surgery on Wednesday to implant three stents, so will be unable to give his daughter away as he needs time to recover.

He told US website TMZ he was 'OK', although it will take a 'long time to heal'.

'Staying in the hospital a few more days. Not allowed to get excited,' he said.

Ms Markle's mother, Doria Ragland, has been tipped as a stand-in to walk their daughter down the aisle at Windsor Castle's St George's Chapel. 

'It must be heartbreaking for them, because her father can't come because he is in poor health,' said 46-year-old Maria Scott on Wednesday who had travelled from Newcastle to get a glimpse of the couple on Saturday.

'It must be really upsetting but I'm sure her mum will do a fine job,' Ms Scott told Reuters.  

On Thursday, Meghan released a statement that confirmed her father wouldn't be attending her wedding. 

It said: 'Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding.

'I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health.

'I would like to thank everyone who has offered generous messages of support.

'Please know how much Harry and I look forward to sharing our special day with you on Saturday.'

Thames Valley Police are enforcing a no tent rule for security reasons, forcing people to sleep in the open air or on fold up chairs.

Some have criticised the ban on camping as 'really sad'.

Carl Martin, 33, a royal fan from Felixstowe, Suffolk, said he received an email from the council telling him that 'camping will not be allowed... but folding chairs and some form of cover will be allowed'. 

It comes after police were seen clearing away sleeping bags and other possessions belonging to homeless people ahead of the royal wedding.  

Diehard royal enthusiasts braved the chilly 8C (46F) weather as they staked their ground for a prime viewing spot two days before the wedding of the year
Diehard royal enthusiasts braved the chilly 8C (46F) weather as they staked their ground for a prime viewing spot two days before the wedding of the year

Diehard royal enthusiasts braved the chilly 8C (46F) weather as they staked their ground for a prime viewing spot two days before the wedding of the year

 Royalists are now a major fixture at wedding and funerals, with hundreds trying to bag key spots along procession routes days in advance, but some have criticised the ban on camping as 'really sad'
 Royalists are now a major fixture at wedding and funerals, with hundreds trying to bag key spots along procession routes days in advance, but some have criticised the ban on camping as 'really sad'

 Royalists are now a major fixture at wedding and funerals, with hundreds trying to bag key spots along procession routes days in advance, but some have criticised the ban on camping as 'really sad'

A royal fan sits on a camp bed as she waits alongside Windsor Castle in Windsor on Thursday morning 
A royal fan sits on a camp bed as she waits alongside Windsor Castle in Windsor on Thursday morning 

A royal fan sits on a camp bed as she waits alongside Windsor Castle in Windsor on Thursday morning 

Prince Harry and Meghan will head on a 25-minute carriage ride through the town after their ceremony on Saturday
Prince Harry and Meghan will head on a 25-minute carriage ride through the town after their ceremony on Saturday
Meghan's mother Doria Ragland arrived in London on Wednesday
Meghan's mother Doria Ragland arrived in London on Wednesday

Prince Harry and Meghan will head on a 25-minute carriage ride through the town after their ceremony on Saturday. And with just days before her daughter's big day, Meghan's mother Doria Ragland arrived in London on Wednesday (together right)

Union flags are displayed in the street in front of Windsor Castle ahead of the royal wedding
Union flags are displayed in the street in front of Windsor Castle ahead of the royal wedding

Union flags are displayed in the street in front of Windsor Castle ahead of the royal wedding

Windsor Council leader Simon Dudley had called for homeless people to be removed from the streets because they would show the borough in an 'unfavourable light'. 

The council considered introducing fines of up to £1,000 for rough sleepers but scrapped the plans following public outcry. 

The 'extensive' measures are part of the policing plan to 'deliver a safe, secure and happy event for everyone'.

Shops and buildings are being searched in the days leading up to the wedding and plans are in place to stop trains from calling at Windsor railway station if the numbers of people in the town causes a 'public safety risk'.

Meanwhile Kensington Palace announced that Harry's niece and nephew would be among Meghan's young helpers at the nuptials at St George's Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle this weekend. 

Shops have put up royal-themed decorations to celebrate the event and visitors have flocked to Windsor in royal fancy dress, posing as Meghan, the Queen and even Buckingham Palace guards
Shops have put up royal-themed decorations to celebrate the event and visitors have flocked to Windsor in royal fancy dress, posing as Meghan, the Queen and even Buckingham Palace guards

Shops have put up royal-themed decorations to celebrate the event and visitors have flocked to Windsor in royal fancy dress, posing as Meghan, the Queen and even Buckingham Palace guards

A police dog handler passes the area where fans of Britain's Royal Family are camped out on Thursday morning 
A police dog handler passes the area where fans of Britain's Royal Family are camped out on Thursday morning 

A police dog handler passes the area where fans of Britain's Royal Family are camped out on Thursday morning 

Police officers carry out security checks near fan memorabilia alongside Windsor Castle
Police officers carry out security checks near fan memorabilia alongside Windsor Castle

Police officers carry out security checks near fan memorabilia alongside Windsor Castle

Military personnel walk the processional route around Windsor Castle on Thursday morning 
Military personnel walk the processional route around Windsor Castle on Thursday morning 

Military personnel walk the processional route around Windsor Castle on Thursday morning 

Some 250 members of the armed forces are expected to take part in Saturday's festivities, lining the streets
Some 250 members of the armed forces are expected to take part in Saturday's festivities, lining the streets

Some 250 members of the armed forces are expected to take part in Saturday's festivities, lining the streets

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