I went to the Royal Wedding!
After hoping my invite would miraculously appear after being lost in the mail, I stood amongst the other estimated 10,000 people in the streets of Windsor.
I had been planning this trip to London since December when I realized that I'd be abroad for the Royal Wedding. Although I had been eagerly awaiting for that moment that I saw Prince Harry in person, it didn't actually hit me that I was in Windsor for the wedding until I saw the carriage pass by. For those watching at home or flipping through photos in the tabloids, the couple did look as happy in person as they did in media pictures!
Early Saturday morning I got on a train out of London to Windsor in attempts to beat the crowd. After reading countless reports on all things Royal Wedding related, I knew that Windsor was going to fill up quickly. By 8am I was in Windsor following the crowd and staring up at the gorgeous palace grounds.
Windsor felt like the setting of every Disney princess story. Cute shops and rowdy pubs lined the narrow streets. Some women, specifically those invited to the wedding and to private parties, were decorated with elegant jewelry and massive hats. Royal Weddings just don't seem complete without big hats!
Right when I got off the train in Windsor I scoped out a spot along the carriage route. From my view (on my tippy toes) I could watch guests enter into the castle. I was hoping that maybe the Queen would enter on that route but gave up when I heard the roar of the crowd from across the city. The newlyweds did exit and travel down the road I was camping out on! After standing for nearly 6 hours I was relieved that the spot proved to be beneficial.
During the day I met friendly Brits, ate fish and chips, and hung out in The Prince Harry Pub to watch the FA Cup. It was a long journey for the short glimpse I saw of the royals, but so worth it for the atmosphere.
News anchors set up their camp for the day in the streets of Windsor. By 9am I had already taken a selfie with The Today Show's Al Roker! He casually sat near a church along the carriage route and took videos on his Iphone of the crowd. While the actual wedding ceremony was taking place I snuck over to watch from the NBC monitors. It was hilarous to see countless people gathered around trying to see the screen yet completely unaware that it was THE Al Roker holding up the Ipad.
The entire city fell silent during the service. It was actually very eerie to hear a booming voice over the speakers but complete silence in the streets. Everyone broke the silence to sing "Stand By Me." It was a moment I will never forget.
Although I promised myself that I'd act calm, cool, and collected, I totally freaked out when the carriage came by. They cruzed down the route but I was able to see them twice!
I'm sure the royal's ceremony was great, but the city wide celebration in Windsor was a blast. Everyone was relaxing at the base of the castle or grabbing food in the streets. British flags were strung all over the city and countless news reporters were still covering what was happening in Windsor.
Events like this make studying abroad feel so unreal. I was able to go to THE Royal Wedding and spend the day taking in the atmosphere around the castle. Although I would have loved to be inside the castle for the ceremony, being in Windsor was absolutely magical.