and Countess of Wessex draw the crowds
'A Local Perspective'
by Lyn Chappell
We were eager to witness a slice of royal
history - the last royal wedding of the millennium - the last
child of the Queen to become married. Yes, we were off to Edward
and Sophie's wedding as 'privileged' Royal Borough residents
who had applied for tickets to allow us entry to the Castle precincts.
Queues around the Castle opposite
the Theatre Royal
Now - because we had a ticket, we should surely sweep straight
into the Castle as we brandished our ticket at the police shouldn't
we? Not quite... We left home at 2.30 pm thinking we shouldn't
have to queue for long... but... when we arrived at the Castle
ten minutes later we couldn't believe our eyes!
waiting to get into the castle grounds.
"People with tickets go to the back
of the queue" said the police. The 'queue' stretched as
far as we could see - around the castle, down the hill, past
the theatre, down Thames Street to the bottom, round the corner
past The Royal Oak pub, past the Southern Railway Station and
the road to the Home Park, where it finally ended! We trudged
our way down the hill, grumbling and marvelling at the size of
the crowds. Surely all these people couldn't have tickets too,
We gradually moved at a snail's pace back the way we had just
walked! When we got to the theatre, the queue was split into
two lines, depending on the area to which your ticket allowed
you access. Why this wait? Well, a policeman had told us that
they were trying to security check everyone, but it had all got
too much ... We whiled away the time by speaking to others in
the queue and watching the reporters on the balcony of the 'Harte
and Garter' speaking into their cameras.
We finally arrived at the Castle gates at 4.00 pm - the time
the tickets had told us "no admittance after 4.00 pm".
However, we were allowed in - but there was still a very long
queue behind us. Once again, we had to trudge our way - up the
hill within the Castle, carrying our fishermens' stools, past
the security guards, and down into the Lower Ward. We then managed
to secure a very good spot right opposite the side door of the
Chapel. It was here that the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret
and Lord Snowdon made their way to the service and where many
of the royal guests emerged after the service.
The majority of the guests, yes, even the Royals, travelled past
us in coaches, waving to the crowds. The Queen and the Duke went
past in a car, as did the bride-to-be. However, the bridegroom
and his brothers walked down the hill - although I don't think
they had to walk as far as we did!
The rest is history - or will be!
Going the wrong way! Queues stretch
out, away from the Castle and then back
into the town centre via the Home Park.
Thanks to Lyn for this story. It was a
surprise say the least that so many Windsorians wanted to be
a part of this, the last Royal Event of 1999, and indeed the
end of a century that had started as Victoria's reign was coming
to an end. The TV coverage was substantial and the weather was
threatening so it was reassuring to see such a turnout.
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