It all feels like a dream now that I am back at home, catching up on domestic chores in my old jeans. But I did go, honest…. I have to pinch myself to get back to the hour before the service when we were wandering past George Clooney, Idris Elba and Earl Spencer, who were all rubbing shoulders whilst standing over the tomb in which Charles I’s headless corpse is interred. Surreal doesn’t quite do justice to it. I am pretty sure that Windsor Castle has never seen a day quite like it. And the royal family may never be quite the same again. It was an early start so I made sure everything was laid out the night before; jewellery, hat, shoes, makeup, handbag. Oh, and phone charged and ID in my bag. I checked this a few too many times, but then it would not be cool to be turned away at the gate.
We arrived at the Windsor Farm shop at 8.15 and there was already a queue. But everything within the walls was amplified to perfection. Sunshine, huge trees, manicured fields, beautiful houses spotted along the way, and then the spectacular drive up towards the Castle itself. Once inside we were left to wander down to Middle Farm Shop where we were due for our first interview. Unlike any other royal occasion I have been to this was super relaxed, with families picnicking on the grass and everyone dressed up. There was a palpable sense of holiday and celebration. It felt like the smartest village fete or festival you have ever been to. We bumped into a few insiders who seemed to feel everything was going smoothly. Harry was okay and Meghan too. Both had weathered the difficulties of the previous week with calm determination. So we sat at our vantage point and watched an increasingly steady stream of guests flow past. First up were all the ushers who looked like an SAS task force storming the castle – an intimidating and purposeful stride of men. I’m told they decided not to wear sunglasses in case they were mocked for being too Oceans 11.
There were lots of printed dresses, small hats and loosely coiffed hair. Someone very short went past. I thought it must be a jockey, but actually it was James Blunt… I’m a terrible celeb spotter! Next up, not hard to spot, film royalty. Oceans 11 in the flesh – George Clooney and Amal. She looked ravishing, but it is quite some day when George and his wife are not the biggest draw. They were followed closely by Victoria and David Beckham. She outrageously stole my colour combo, which was navy and orange shoes. She looked very serious indeed. We followed them into the Chapel later and she was very smiley away from the cameras. David looked very sharp. Having had a good gawp and gossip we headed to the chapel as I wanted to take a look around before taking our seats. We were sitting right at the back as we had to leave just before the end to get up to the ITV studios for an interview post service.
The inside of the church was a buzz of chat – everyone milling around, no one sitting down. It was like a great party was about to start. We went up to the altar and stood where they were to exchange their vows, trying hard not to stroke George on the way. With my handy historian of a husband I learned we were walking over the royal vault where Henry VIII and his favourite wife Jane Seymour are buried, along with poor old Charles I. A very lovely woman started chatting to us. She introduced herself Caroline Bartholomew, Harry’s godmother and friend of Diana. It brought home how poignant it was that Harry’s mother was not here on this day of all days. What a journey Harry has been on. Then to sit down. Beautiful music, doors opened and Harry and William came in, spurs clanking on their boots. They looked somehow very young. The bonus of sitting at the back was that we had a chance to watch the page boys and girls getting ready. Little Charlotte rose to the occasion and was busy organising the others. George looked like he wasn’t quite sure what he was doing there. And then the big moment; the arrival of the bride. I had goosebumps when I saw she was on her own, but she looked just herself, and exactly as I had imagined her to be; simple, elegant, chic and stunning. As she waited for the bridesmaids, she glanced over at them and beamed a genuine smile. She’s one classy lady. Obviously the first thing I spotted was the gorgeous slinky Cartier bracelet and then the tiara. They looked amazing on her, and the bracelet was a real masterstroke. It felt modern but classy. And both have her clean aesthetic in their simple but beautiful lines.
The service you will all have seen. It was stunning. The gospel choir sang right behind us, their powerful anthem so moving it brought tears to my eyes. The love and passion emanated from both Harry and Meghan through the service, as so brilliantly told by Michael Curry. Loved his sermon. We could all do with listening to it. Properly. We slipped out of the service early to get to the ITV studios to share our views of the service and give ourselves a wonderful birds eye view of the couple’s departure. They certainly did look very happy and relaxed. Once they had gone, we walked up the hill to the reception. We were greeted with Pol Roger champagne and delicious bowl food (I had pea risotto and fish and quinoa) and we whiled away the next few hours chatting to old friends and new. I met a few heros, from Elton John to Sarah Rafferty (Donna from Suits, who was there with her lovely husband of 24 years). I brushed past a few others (Jonny Wilkinson, James Corden) and missed many more entirely (Oprah, Tom Hardy, Carey Mulligan and the whole of the Suits cast – I’m a HUGE fan). But you can’t win them all. Prince Charles gave a brilliant speech – very warm and loving, and ended up rather emotionally saying how wonderful it was his ‘darling old Harry’ had found love. Harry’s speech was full of thanks to everyone, and especially to Dora, when he got quite overcome by emotion and said she mustn’t start or he would too…. He is obviously totally smitten. The guests cheered every time he mentioned ‘my wife.’ And finally, the cake. Sublime. Oh, and Elton John played live for us on the stage (Harry got up and asked; ‘anyone here know how to play the piano?’). He gave us five songs and dedicated Tiny Dancer to Meghan. He finished on ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’ in tribute to the charity work he and Harry do together in Africa. It was very moving, and somewhat unreal.
After that we slipped out. My husband was insistent we were not the last to leave. And then it was back to doing the washing and preparing for another working week. Here are a few final thoughts… the most stylish women of the day that I’d most like to look like!! Gina Torres (Suits), Delfina Blaquier (loved her rocking the Argentinian/fedora type look; her dress was beautiful in the flesh, her husband very cool with no socks and loafers), Amal Clooney, and, of course, Meghan’s night time outfit stole the show for me.