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Britain's Royal Wedding Is 1 Day Away

May 18, 2018
Originally published on May 18, 2018 9:27 am
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Tomorrow is the big day. Britain's Prince Harry will marry former American actress Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle outside of London. Harry is sixth in line to the throne, so he's highly unlikely to ever become king. But suffice to say, this wedding has the world's attention. And fans are already showing up.

JOHN LOCKERY: (Singing) Congratulations and celebrations on Prince Harry and Meghan's wedding day.

GREENE: NPR's London correspondent, temporary royals correspondent, Frank Langfitt has shown up as well. That was not him singing there, but Frank is with us. Hi, Frank.

FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: Hey. Good morning, David.

GREENE: So people are writing songs for this wedding. That sounds lovely.

LANGFITT: They are. We were just listening to John Lockery (ph). He's from London. He's actually been sleeping out for four nights on a street corner here in Windsor...

GREENE: What?

LANGFITT: ...So he can get - yeah. No. I...

GREENE: To get a good seat?

LANGFITT: He's right there on the side of the road. And he will be there when the carriage comes by with Harry and Meghan Markle tomorrow. So he's very, very excited about it. And the place - I'm looking up at the turrets of the castle right now. They're - got the pedestrian's barriers out. And they're expecting tens of thousands of people.

GREENE: Tens of thousands, so how does that compare to the last royal wedding, you know, back in 2011? I mean, I actually covered that, and it was crazy in London. I mean, the streets...

LANGFITT: Yeah. I think...

GREENE: ...Were just overflowing.

LANGFITT: ...I think because there's space - there's more space here out in Windsor. We're outside of London, could be more people here. But I think we've seen much fewer block parties than we had before in London. So I think because he's sixth in line to the throne, people are not quite as interested. But what I think people are interested in is this unusual choice - Meghan Markle. She's an American actress, biracial and divorced. And a lot of people say it speaks to kind of multicultural London, some of the changes that are going on in England and in the rest of the United Kingdom. I was chatting with a woman named Emma Jones. She lives in London in a place called Peckham. And she's very excited to see Meghan Markle's mother, who is a black social worker from Los Angeles. She's going to be here tomorrow. And here's what Ms. Jones said.

EMMA JONES: Meghan Markle's mom is black. She's a black woman with locks. Do you know what I mean? Bring that on. I love that. And the thing is, if Harry did it, who else would have done? Probably no one.

GREENE: Oh, that's interesting, Frank. So she's saying that only Harry would have made...

LANGFITT: Yeah.

GREENE: ...This choice. What does that say about how Harry is viewed in Britain?

LANGFITT: Well, he's actually - along with the queen, he's the most popular royal here. And people see him as very personable and thoughtful. And he's changed a lot. You know, he started off as a kid. He lost his mother in 1997. And they've watched him go from a hard partier to a much more mature guy. And I was talking to Kate Williams, she's a royal historian. She's watched him at events. And she said, here's what he's like.

KATE WILLIAMS: He spots someone. He - if it's someone in a wheelchair, or an old person or a child who's been waiting for ages, he spots them and he's often hugging them and chatting to them. He's incredibly fun to follow. And he's such a warm personality. It's not a chore for him doing work about.

GREENE: All right. But I guess one of the things - there's been a lot of drama to cover around this wedding as well, Frank.

LANGFITT: There has. Meghan Markle's dad is not coming because of heart surgery and from a bit of a scandal. It turns out that Prince Charles, Harry's dad and the future king of England, he's going to be walking her down the aisle.

GREENE: OK. NPR's royals correspondent Frank Langfitt, who will be covering the wedding tomorrow. Frank, thanks. We appreciate it.

LANGFITT: Happy to do it, David. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.