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Essential guide to the Royal Wedding

Here's everything you need to know about the Royal Wedding . On the day we will be running a live blog on our website featuring all the action as it happens.

Reporting Team

Everything you need to know about the Royal Wedding

How the wedding will play out 

Crowds are expected to start lining the streets from 6am and more than 100,000 people are expected to attend.

The ceremony will take place at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle at noon.

The couple have invited 2,640 members of the public to Windsor Castle to watch the couple arrive and 600 guests are expected to attend the ceremony.

The guests have been made up of 1,200 people nominated by nine regional Lord Lieutenant offices, 200 people from a range of charities and organisations who the couple have a close association with and 100 pupils from The Royal School in Windsor Great Park and St George’s School in Windsor Castle, 610 Windsor Castle community members and 530 members of the Royal Households and Crown Estate.

Royal Family members will begin to arrive at the church from 11am and the full Order of Service will be published on the Royal Family’s website on Saturday morning.

The service will be conducted by the Dean of Windsor, David Corner, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby will officiate.

Last week it was announced an American bishop, the Most Reverend Michael Curry, will give an address at the wedding.

After the couple have said ‘I do’ they will embark on a carriage procession commencing at 1pm along a route from St George’s Chapel, leaving Windsor Castle via Castle Hill, through the High Street and Windsor town, before returning to Windsor Castle along the Long Walk.

A statement from the Palace said: “They hope this short journey will provide an opportunity for more people to come together around Windsor and to enjoy the atmosphere of this special day.”

Following the service there will be a reception at St George’s Hall for the couple and guests, and later that evening the

Prince of Wales will give a private evening reception at Frogmore House for the couple’s  close friends and family.


Need to know details

The flowers: Foliage from the gardens of Windsor Great Park will form part of the floral display at the wedding.

London-based florist Philippa Craddock has been chosen to create the display with the help of flower arrangers from St George’s Chapel and Buckingham Palace.

The gifts: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have asked well-wishers to donate to good causes, including a national homelessness charity, rather than sending gifts.

Charities include Crisis, the Children’s HIV Association, Scotty’s Little Soldiers, Surfers Against Sewage, The Myna Mahila Foundation, StreetGames and The Wilderness Foundation.

The cake: The owner of a small East London bakery has been chosen to make the  cake.

Claire Ptak, originally from California, will rustle up a lemon elderflower cake covered in buttercream and decorated with fresh flowers.

The night before the wedding: Meghan Markle will be staying at Cliveden House Hotel the night before the wedding.

She will be staying with her mother, Doria Ragland, at the estate in Taplow.

Prince Harry will stay at the Dorchester Collection’s Coworth Park where he will be joined by best man Prince William.

The carriage: The single horse-drawn carriage selected is one of five Ascot Landaus in the Royal Mews that are used for royal engagements, including The Queen’s procession up the course at Royal Ascot.

The music: The music during the ceremony will be under the direction of James Vivian, director of music at St George’s Chapel.

A selection of choral groups, soloists, and musicians will perform, including 19-year-old Sheku Kanneh-Mason, a cellist who won BBC Young Musician 2016.

Karen Gibson and the Kingdom Choir is a Christian gospel group who will perform, as well as the choir of St George’s Chapel.

The photographer: Alexi Lubomirski will be the official wedding photographer. Alexi  is a well-known portrait photographer who captured Prince Harry and Ms Markle last year at Frogmore House, Windsor, to mark the news of their engagement.

The Armed Forces: More than 250 members of the Armed Forces will perform ceremonial duties.

Regiments and units that hold a special relationship with Prince Harry will provide ceremonial support during both the wedding and the carriage procession through Windsor town centre.

Within the grounds of Windsor Castle, the Household Cavalry will form a staircase party at St George’s Chapel with the State Trumpeters and a Captain’s Escort from the Household Cavalry providing support.

Bridesmaids and page boys: Princess Charlotte will be a bridesmaid on the day along with Prince Harry’s three-year-old goddaughter Florence van Custom, and two-year-old goddaughter Zalie Warren, Meghan’s goddaugthers,six-year-old Remi Litt and seven-year-old Rylan Litt, and four-year-old Ivy Mulroney.Page Boys include Prince George, Prince Harry’s six-year-old godson Jasper Dyer, and Brian and John Mulroney, both seven.


Alternative places to watch the action 

  • Riverside Gardens/Boulters Lock, Maidenhead. Enjoy Maidenhead is hosting a live screening of the wedding. Everyone is welcome to come along and bring a picnic.
  •  M&S Windsor and M&S Maidenhead. Both stores will be screening the event so customers can do their weekly shop and watch the Royal event of the year. There will be a selfie booth complete with props and the opportunity to send a personalised message to the happy couple.
  • Windsor Racecourse. Big screens will be set up for those who want to watch the action in Windsor but away from the crowds. It will also show the FA cup final from 5pm.

Entertainment on the Long Walk 

Giant screens will be put up across Windsor to display the action.

Screens on the Long Walk and in Alexandra Gardens will display the wedding ceremony in St George’s Chapel and the following procession as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle travel through the town.

The Royal Borough has revealed that those gathering to watch the Royal Wedding will also have musical entertainment either side of the nuptials.

Visitors planning to line The Long Walk and Windsor High Street will be serenaded from approximately 9am-noon and after the Royal Procession from 2pm.  

A number of groups are preparing to perform on the day including the 1st Battalion Irish guards, The Windsor Boys’ School, Windsor Girls’ School, Rock Choir and Pop Goes The Choir.

Cllr Samantha Rayner, (Con, Eton Wick) cabinet member for culture and communities, said: “The Royal Borough has brought together some fabulous entertainment to help residents and visitors celebrate the Royal Wedding.”

There will also be food stalls and toilet facilities on the Long Walk and in Alexandra Gardens.

A PA system relaying the full service of the wedding will cover Castle Hill, Thames Street, High Street and Sheet Street.  

Visitors have been asked not to bring tents to the event, but folding chairs and some forms of cover will be allowed.


How the roads are affected

People planning to drive to and from Heathrow or to Legoland on the day are advised to allow extra time, roads will be very busy.

For those going to Legoland, an alternative route is in place  to avoid the majority of traffic heading to Windsor.

Some roads in Windsor will be shut from 10pm on Friday, May 18, while others will shut early on the morning on Saturday, April 19.

The affected roads will remain closed until the evening on Saturday, with the time of reopening to be decided on the day.

Those who live in the closed areas will be able to leave but not re-enter, with only emergency vehicles permitted to enter the closed areas.

  • All the roads on the procession route will close from 10pm on Friday, May 18. They are:  Castle Hill, High Street, Sheet Street, Kings Road, Park Street, St Albans Street, Market Street, Queen Charlotte Street, Thames Street, River Street, Brook Street, Windsor Greys Roundabout A308,  Albert Road A308.
  • There will also be a number of additional closures from 6am on Saturday, May 19. They are: Maidenhead Road, Clarence Road, Alma Road, St Leonards Road, Frances Road, Barry Avenue, Datchet Road.
  • There will be parking suspensions from Thursday, May 17 until the evening of Saturday, May 19 in Thames Street, High Street, Sheet Street, Kings Road and Park Street.

 Where to park

There are a number of parking options that will not be affected by the road closures including 6,000 pre-bookable parking spaces available at the Review Ground offered by the Royal Borough.

The permit costs £30 and the site can be accessed from the A332 (Sheet Street Road), which is outside the road closure area.

Those coming from the M25, Staines or Old Windsor will need to take the signed diversion route from the Runnymede roundabout along the A30, towards Egham.

Windsor Racecourse is offering a reserved park and float scheme with space for more than 3,000 cars. An all day car pass costs £30 and a return riverboat ride will cost £10.

The Windsor Boys School will also be offering spaces at a first come, first served basis on the day.

A number of town centre car parks and on-street parking areas will be closed or suspended. River Street will be closed to the public, Victoria Street will be set aside for resident permit holders, Romney Lock will be closed to the public and part of King Edward VII Avenue will be closed to the public.

Anyone who has not pre-booked their parking is advised not to attempt to drive into central Windsor.


By bus

There will be a designated pick up and drop off point for getting the bus into and out of Windsor on Saturday at King Edward VII Hospital, in St Leonards Road.

Changes to the bus services: 

  • The number 1 White Bus route towards Windsor will operate a normal line of route to Rangers Gate then A332 Sheet Street Road to Fernhill, A383 Mounts Hill, B3022 Winkfield Road, High Standing Hill, St Leonards Road, traverse the one way system and terminate at the site of the old bus garage.
  •  The number 8 First Beeline service to Heathrow T5  – All services up to the 07.10 from Slough and 06.59 from Terminal 5 will divert via Datchet. After 07.10 there will be no Slough-Windsor or Windsor-Old Windsor services. Number 8s will operate Slough-Heathrow (via A4)-Old Windsor and return. Buses will pass all these points at the usual time. This service will remain in operation until the end of the day.
  • Courtney Buses – 16/16A – will only run as far as King Edward VII Hospital where it will terminate. Buses towards Maidenhead will start from King Edward VII Hospital.

Train service

A bumper train service will be provided to cope with the number of visitors travelling by train.

Rail providers have advised passengers to expect trains to be very busy and to allow extra time for journeys.

Great Western Railway services will be running at full capacity, with trains from Slough to Windsor and Eton Central doubled from two carriages to four – the maximum the line can operate – and running every 20 minutes.

Queuing systems will also be in place at those stations to get people to and from the event as quickly as possible and 2,300 meters of fencing will be used for queues across key stations on route.

An additional 200 GWR staff will be working across the network and the train operator will provide more than 1,000 boxes of confetti for Windsor wedding goers, 100 metres of bunting, 60,000 chocolates and more than 10,000 bottles of water for the party atmosphere.

South Western Railway’s 10-carriage service from London Waterloo to Windsor and Eton Riverside will be running four times per hour rather than twice to cope with the extra demand; queuing systems may be in place.


Safety measures

High visibility patrols, specialist searches with police dogs and patrols with the mounted section have all been carried out ahead of the wedding by Thames Valley Police.

The operation will see hundreds of officers patrolling the streets on the day.

Other security measures will include automatic number plate recognition technology, CCTV and anti-terror barriers. 

TVP added there will also be ‘many security measures that you can’t see’.

The force has appealed to ‘businesses, communities and visitors’ to act as ‘eyes and ears’ and alert officers to anything considered suspicious.

It also advised motorists to be prepared to be stopped on the day by its roads policing team and that once in Windsor there will be an additional ‘screening and search regime’.

British Transport Police will be on hand to patrol public transport networks.

A Restriction of Flying Regulation has also been granted as part of the overall security operation. This restricts aircraft from flying below 2,500ft but does not affect commercial operations at London Heathrow.

It also covers use of all drones.


Homeless bus

A homeless support bus will be pitching up in Windsor to care for the town’s rough sleepers during the Royal Wedding.

The double-decker belongs to the Sussex Homeless Support charity and provides temporary shelter for people living on the streets of Brighton. Volunteers from the charity are planning to travel up to Windsor the day before.

They aim to park near the Windsor Castle pub, in Kings Road, and hand out supplies including drinks and food to rough sleepers in the area.


Protesters

Protesters who attempt to disrupt the Royal Wedding will be dealt with in a ‘robust yet proportionate manner’, police say.

Anti-monarchy campaign group, Republic, has written to Thames Valley Police seeking assurances that peaceful protests will be allowed in Windsor on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s special day.

In an email to the force’s Chief Constable Francis Habgood, Republic chief executive Graham Smith said: “Can you please reassure me that anyone found carrying a placard or a banner or appearing to be heading to the site to protest will not be arrested or obstructed, unless there is a genuine risk to public safety?”

 

The email added that any attempt by the police to disrupt peaceful demonstrations would be ‘wholly inappropriate’.

A TVP spokesman said: “Thames Valley Police will be working closely with our partners to deliver a safe, secure and happy event for all. 

"Everyone has a right to express their views peacefully, however anyone looking to disrupt the event will be dealt with in a robust yet proportionate manner.


 How you can support the homeless

Shoppers hunting for Royal Wedding memorabilia can help raise money for the Windsor Homeless Project.

Non-profit brand For Richer, For Poorer has released a special collection of commemorative products to celebrate Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day, with money raised supporting the town’s rough sleepers.

A fridge magnet costing £15 will fund a week’s worth of hot meals at the Windsor Homeless Project.

A set of four postcards costing £10 will pay for a mobile phone and credit to help homeless people stay in touch with their support workers while a £20 mug will cover a toiletry kit.

Those wishing to go the extra mile can buy a commemorative plate worth £5,000 which will keep a rough sleeper off the streets for a year.

Each souvenir will feature a crest by illustrator Alex Machin depicting issues faced by those who have fallen on hard times.

Murphy James, of the Windsor Homeless Project, said: “Prince Harry and Meghan are both passionately committed to supporting those in need, including the UK’s homeless.

“By celebrating their special day with a hard-hitting message, For Richer, For Poorer really highlights the challenges our homeless communities face on a daily basis.

“Together we can make a difference to their lives.”

Visit www.forricherforpoorer.org for details.


Health advice

The council and the East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Group have assured residents their health needs have been taken into account on the day.

Health workers and carers will be on call to help any resident who receives support from adult social care provider Optalis or from the NHS.

If you are pregnant or close to your due date you should speak to your midwife, who will make arrangements for you.

Cars will be able to leave the area within the Windsor road closures, but traffic will be very heavy and in an emergency 999 should be called.

If you have an urgent medical need or concern on the day call NHS 111. Alternatively King Edward VI Hospital will become a walk-in-clinic for residents and visitors with minor injuries or illness on Friday from 4-10pm and Saturday from 8-8pm.

Pharmacies in central Windsor will be open, but it may be difficult to get through the crowds into the town centre.

Visitors have been urged to wear comfortable shoes, bring plenty of water, sunscreen and a hat, and an extra layer if it’s raining on the day.

Cllr Stuart Carroll (Con, Boyn Hill), cabinet member for adult social care and public health, said: “We have been working behind the scenes with partners to ensure that Windsor residents can access all the services they need. 

“If you have any sort of health problem on May 19 services will get to you.”

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