US actress Meghan Markle set off in a limousine on Saturday for her wedding to Prince Harry at Windsor Castle, a union that supporters hope will modernise the British monarchy for the modern age.
Royals and celebrities streamed into St George’s Chapel for what was set to be a glittering display of British pageantry at the world’s oldest inhabited castle.
Hours before the ceremony, Queen Elizabeth bestowed the title of Duke of Sussex on her grandson, a step that means the American actress, star of the TV drama “Suits”, will become a duchess when she marries Harry.
Under clear skies and glorious sunshine, a military band in scarlet uniforms and bearskin hats entertained thousands of excited fans gathered behind barriers. Police armed with semi-automatic rifles patrolling streets and watching from rooftops.
The couple, who met on a blind date in 2016 and fell in love in a tent under the stars in Botswana, will tie the knot at the15th-century St George’s Chapel, in a castle that has been home to 39 English monarchs since 1066.
More than 100,000 fans are expected to cram the narrow roads of Windsor, about 20 miles (30 km) west of London. Visitors had to pass through police search points set up around the castle.
Hundreds of TV crews from around the world were present for the union of Harry, 33, sixth-in-line to the British throne, and Markle, 36, a divorcee whose mother is African-American and father is white.