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If, by some impossible twist of fate, you have missed the fact that Prince Harry is set to wed Meghan Markle, congratulations on managing the unlikeliest of feats! Of course, that streak is broken now that you’re reading this — and it’s a good thing, too: You’re just in time to catch the festivities.
The British prince, sixth in line for the throne, and his fiancée, an American actress, will get married midday Saturday local time, when Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will preside over an elaborate ceremony at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. And the small town just west of London has seen an inundation of attendees, tourists and well-wishers — some of whom have been camping out for the opportunity to see the couple.
At least one man has been sleeping out on a street corner there for the better part of a week, NPR’s Frank Langfitt reports, just so that he can be set up with a good view when the royal carriage comes rumbling down the road. The hopeful spectator will be just one of what local authorities expect to be a crowd of tens of thousands Saturday.
As any newlywed might well sympathize, the wedding plans have remained in flux even up to the last minute, as doubts that had swirled around the attendance of Markle’s father have been confirmed.
“Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding,” Markle said in a statement Thursday. “I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health.”
On Friday, the royal family announced that instead it would be Prince Harry’s father, Prince Charles of Wales, to escort Markle down the aisle. “The Prince of Wales is pleased to be able to welcome Ms. Markle to The Royal Family in this way,” says a statement posted to the Kensington Palace Twitter account.
The couple spent Friday greeting many of their well-wishers as the countdown to the wedding crossed under the 24-hour mark. Joined by Harry’s older brother, Prince William, members of the wedding party shook hands with many of the people packing Windsor’s streets.
And though Markle’s father could not attend, her mother, Doria Ragland, did manage to make it.
If you happen to have failed to camp for days or secure an invitation yourself — the horror! — worry not, everyone: NPR’s Linda Holmes also has you covered with a handy, customizable guide on how to take in the matrimonial extravaganza from afar.