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A Background View of
the Royal Wedding

Earl 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.
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!

Queues around the Castle opposite the Theatre Royal
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, could they?
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!

Lyn Chappell

Going the wrong way! Queues stretch out, away from the Castle and then back
into the town centre via the Home Park.

Editor's Note

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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