After Prince Harry and his bride-to-be Meghan Markle say their vows in front of their wedding guests and the watching world at this weekend’s Royal wedding, the young couple will embark upon a lifetime of royal tours as a married couple – and it seems they will waste no time getting started. The newlyweds’ royal wedding schedule sees them undertake a tour of Windsor immediately after their nuptials, to greet well-wishers who are expected to turn out from all over the world to see them. Here’s everything you need to know about how to watch it and where to stand. Why will there be a procession? Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will undertake a carriage ride through Windsor straight after the St George’s Chapel ceremony and before their reception. The journey is designed to allow members of the public to see the newlyweds in person while they are still dressed in their finery, in what is likely to be one of the most photographed occasions of the year. Such a display of ceremonial prowess has been used by kings and queens for centuries to celebrate as much as it has been used to impress their subjects and foreign powers. Be that with gun salutes, marching guards, or golden carriages. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their wedding carriage procession in 2011 Credit: Matt Cardy/AP There is no doubt that this royal wedding will pack a punch, just like Queen Victoria’s marriage to Albert which featured a 21-gun salute as she embarked on her carriage procession at St Jame’s Palace. But it was not until King George VI’s marriage to Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1923 that royal weddings became public affairs; they were married to great fanfare in order to lift the spirits of the nation after World War One (and royal weddings have been lavish events ever since). What time will the procession begin? At 1pm, immediately after the service, Prince Harry and Ms Markle will leave Windsor Castle by carriage. They will be driven along Castle Hill, the High Street and into Windsor town centre before returning along the beautiful, tree-lined Long Walk for their reception. The whole procession is expected to take just 25 minutes. Meanwhile, guests from the congregation will wait for the happy couple in St George’s Hall, to celebrate the first of the day’s two receptions. Where is Windsor Castle – and where will the procession go? After The Wedding Route Where is best to stand? The Long Walk To see the newlyweds up close, the best positions will be on the 2.64 mile stretch that rolls from Snow Hill to the gates of Windsor Castle. This is known as the ‘Long Walk’. The length of this section will allow thousands of spectators to catch a glimpse of Harry and Meghan in the final minutes of the procession. There will be events on the Long Walk throughout the day, with live screens showing footage from the ceremony. Snow Hill On the hilltop above the procession route, the eagle-eyed can find a sweeping aerial view of the carriage ride. Snow Hill will offer fantastic views of the final moments and will be a popular picnic spot on the day, so get there early to reserve a spot. According to legend, King Henry VIII sat on Snow Hill to wait for news of the execution of his second wife, Queen Anne Boleyn. A precedent that has fortunately not been followed since. Prince Edward and his bride Sophie Rhys-Jones pass the crowd inside the grounds of Windsor Castle in an open carriage in 1999 Credit: PA/PA The town centre Royal fans can also mingle with the residents of Windsor as the carriage passes through the streets of the town centre. Although you should probably arrive at the crack of dawn if you’re after a front-row High Street viewing spot – it’s bound to get busy. With Windsor dressed in bunting and ceremonial decorations – and bursting with local street entertainment – the town will provide a feast for the eyes. Expect big screens showing live footage of the wedding; plus an array of food stalls and general facilities will be available at both the Long Walk and Alexandra Gardens. Spectators can also line the entirety of the procession route, on Castle Hill, High Street, Sheet Street, Kings Road, Albert Road and the Long Walk. Disabled viewing spots will be available at the junctions of Victoria Street and Albert Road. The council has advised that visitors should not bring tents, but foldable chairs and umbrellas are fine. Also look out for the weather forecast on the day, and prepare for large crowds with plenty of food supplies, water, and sun cream. Further information will be published on the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council website. What about parking? Of the three parking options on offer, most motorists should make use of the 6,000 designated parking spaces available at the Review Ground, Windsor Great Park, which is located to the south of Windsor Castle and the town centre. Parking tickets must be booked in advance for a price of £30. These are being allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. With wedding invitations being sent to more than 2,000 members of the public and many more expected to watch the ceremony on the town’s live screens, it’s a good idea get these sooner rather than later. This car park opens at 4am and closes at 10pm. Though it is next to the Long Walk, motorists will have to take a 25 minute stroll to the nearest spectator spots. The second parking option is provided by Windsor Racecourse’s ‘Park and Float’ service, which must also be booked in advance. There are 3,000 spots available for £30, as well as weekend parking packages, and the opportunity to journey into the heart of Windsor on a return boat trip for £10. The third car park can be found at The Windsor Boy’s School, where motorists can park on a first-come-first basis on the day without pre-booking. This is expected to fill-up early in the morning. Royal wedding | Read more Will there be road closures in Windsor? To accommodate the large number of attendees at Windsor’s public events over the weekend, there will also be a series of road closures, beginning with a 9am – 2pm closure of the procession route on Thursday May 17. Then, from 10pm on Friday May 18 and until late on Saturday May 19, road closures will affect the procession route and surrounding roads. During this time Windsor residents will be able to leave the road closure area, but only emergency services vehicles can enter. Access to the car park on the Long Walk will not be affected by the road closures in place, at any time. Road closures beyond the procession route will take effect from 6am on Saturday May 19; these include Maidenhead Road, Clarence Road, Alma Road, St Leonards Road, Frances Road, Barry Avenue, and Datchet Road. Local authorities suggest that you check this live map of road closures to check what time the roads reopen from Saturday evening onwards. What are my options by train? Rail operators will be running a bumper service on the wedding to help everyone get in and out of the celebrations at Windsor, which is expected to be one of the largest one-day events ever held on the local rail network. Both Great Western and South Western will be increasing train frequency and capacity, with trains running up to four times an hour from London Waterloo and Slough. These services will also benefit from extra carriages to keep up with the expected demand, given that some of the 100,000 expected visitors will arrive by public transport. Windsor is served by two train stations that are within minutes of the town centre and Windsor Castle, making the railway a reliable option for getting to the Royal wedding celebrations: Windsor and Eton Central and Windsor and Eton Riverside. Queuing systems are likely to be in place at London Waterloo, Slough, Staines, and Windsor, whilst ‘park and walk’ and ‘park and glide’ bus services will help people get into town. Great Western Railway services connect Windsor and Eton station to South Wales and the West of England, as well as Reading and Oxford, via Slough. This branch-line service will be running with four carriages running every 20 minutes, from the very early hours of the morning to late on Saturday night. The journey from Reading or Oxford takes around 30 – 50 minutes and 50 – 75 minutes respectively, with a change required at Slough. Cardiff and Swansea are around two and a half hours away from Windsor, requiring changes at Reading and then Slough. London is connected to Windsor via the direct Waterloo to Windsor and Eton Riverside service, which takes one hour. Travellers have been advised not to take the London Paddington – Slough route, in order to ease rail congestion around Windsor. From the Midlands, take a Cross Country service from Birmingham New Street to Reading, and then change at Slough for the Eton Riverside station. This takes around two and a half hours. Train services from the North require changes at London terminals. Almost five hours of train travel await any royal super-fans making their way from Newcastle. Because it is such a huge event, it is wise to make travel plans ahead of time – so make ticket bookings and travel arrangements well before the big day. Up to date advice on the best routes and how to pre-book your tickets, can be found at: for Great Western Railway here and South Western Railway here. Royal wedding: the best hotels for celebrating Prince Harry’s and Meghan Markle’s big day Are there buses? There will be a designated pick up and drop off point on the wedding day at King Edward VII Hospital, St Leonards Road. This will be the termination point for buses towards Windsor, as well as local routes. A full timetable of buses is available at the Royal Borough website, and more information on transport and bus alterations can be found here. Staying in Windsor Hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses will be bursting at the seams, so expect no empty hotel rooms in town for the duration of the wedding weekend. Royal fans had only a few hours to book the local accommodation offerings before rooms ran out after the announcement that Windsor would play host for the big day. Many residents and visitors will no doubt find a solution via room sharing service AirBnb, with the average price of a room around Windsor currently standing at £321 for Friday night and £286 for the Saturday night. Such prices look like a bargain, with some of the most expensive hotel rooms in Windsor going for up to £10,000. Alternative locations with more ‘last-minute’ availability include Heathrow, Bracknell and Weybridge. The council also suggests that anyone wanting help to find accommodation can contact the Royal Windsor Information Centre on 01753 743907 or by emailing: windsor.accommodation@rbwm. gov.uk. Royal wedding processions in history The monarchy has embarked on grand processions from coronations, marriages, funerals and other state occasions since the 15th century. Each year, a carriage procession carries the Queen to the State Opening of Parliament and the races at Ascot, although royal weddings and coronations are arguably the grandest occasions. The last royal couple to undertake a carriage procession in Windsor was Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones – now the Earl and Countess of Wessex – after their wedding in St George’s Chapel in 1999. Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones pictured in their carriage after their wedding in 1999 Credit: SINEAD LYNCH/EPA It was the biggest occasion in the Berkshire town since since the funeral of King George VI in 1952. More recently, the newly-wed Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled through Westminster in a 1902 State Landau after their 2011 wedding, waving at thousands of well-wishers who had packed the streets to catch a glimpse of the happy couple. It’s possible Harry and Meghan could use the same carriage. Steeped in history, the carriage was specifically built for King Edward VII in 1902 and is usually used by the Queen to meet foreign heads of state when they arrive on state visits to Britain. The Prince and Princess of Wales used it to travel back from St Paul’s Cathedral after their 1981 royal wedding, as did the Duke and Duchess of York in 1986. It was also used by the Queen during her Silver Wedding anniversary celebrations in 1972 and in her Silver and Diamond Jubilees in 1977 and 2012.
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