|Windsor's Town Crier|
|The monitor of NBC's coverage!!|
|Windsor Guildhall in the distance|
|Guests who were going into the Castle grounds|
|A 'Mr Bean' Impersonator in the crowds!!|
|Al Roker, USA network NBC's Weatherman|
|A Policewoman laughs with one of Windsor's Ambassadors, who helped the crowds.|
|One of the many Police sniffer dogs who helped make the town safe|
|The Town Crier's scroll!|
|Harry and Meghan were everywhere!|
|The Long Walk, were the crowds were encouraged to go, this was the day before.|
|Marks and Spencer's new name for the day|
|One of Windsor's pub newly named in honour of Prince Harry|
|And finally me, after a LONG , exhausting but lovely Royal Wedding, the atompshere will stay with me, and I'm so glad I got one good picture to treasure!!|
Royal Wedding 2018:
After HRH Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle announced their plans to marry in Windsor, this overnight trip to Windsor had the planning of a military manouvere!!!
Arriving on the Saturday, and literally arriving in Windsor, ten minutes later I was stood opposite the King Henry VIII Gates of the Castle. They opened to reveal TRH Prince's William and Harry, about to embark on a pre-wedding day walkabout!!
They were absolutely lovely with the crowds, particularly the children. Prince Harry asking them what schools they went to, if they had a nice day, and what they were looking forward most to on the wedding day, carriages, horses, soldiers etc!!
Already people were starting to camp out, so I had this abiding thought in my head that I would get there at 5am on Saturday 19th May with no spaces! Thankfully this wasn't the case.
A ring of steel protected Windsor, with all spectators going through Airport style security. The space I would have like wasn't there so ended up further along the High Street, opposite the towns's Parish Church. And there I stayed for over EIGHT HOURS. My folding chair proving a life-saver!!
The tempertures at first were freezing, and they didn't really improve until late morning when the sun finally shone. and when it did it was the exact opposite! Scorching hot!!!
You made friends with your neighbours (and even shared some of their prosecco!) You watched the other members of the crowd popping champagne corks, one after another!!! Yes this was still 11am!! Definatly a Party atompshere!
The processions of the Armer Forces and bands kept us occupied. With a variety of freebbie flags being proffered!
Estimated crowds of 100,000 were expected to descend on this little town and I have to say everyone felt safe and secure, Yes, it can take some while adjusting to police carrying machine guns, but when its you they are also there to protect, you feel better.
The red jacketed Town Ambassador's handed out information guides, and opposite us there was some excitement with American television network, NBC's Weatherman Al Roker, drumming up his own crowd of American supporters who screamed madly for him!!
At 12pm the service began. No big screens for us, but there were loudspeakers, and if you squinted you could just see the shadows of a television monitor opposite. What was lovely was the atompshere, that I will always remember, The crowds singing along to 'Stand by Me' cheering the vows and appluading wildly when they were declared Husband and Wife.
Leaving after 1pm, the newly married TRH The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, in an Ascot Landau pulled by Windsor Greys, came into view, and it was like a football crowd cheering.
The pressure was on to get one decent photo!! Eight hours for a fleeting few seconds was hard, but I got something, maybe not the best but to me, priceless!!
I had a mental image of the one image I would get to be a carriage wheel going at 100mph!
Afterwards walking around Windsor (or rather walking so slowly as the crowds were huge!) you got to see some of the atompshere on the streets, the shops selling memorabilia/ or Tat! To Marks and Spencer (the famous UK department store), who for the day changed its name to ''Markle and Sparkle'', and outside its own bride and groom, Percy and Penny Pig (they feature on their own brand of sweets!)
It was a truly magical day, a couple who are so obviously in love. Here's hoping they have a long and happy marriage together.
Me, I was physically exhausted after that day but smiling!!!
Photographs strictly (C) Paul Ratcliffe
NOT FOR REPRODUCTION IN ANY FORM!!!!