Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will get married on 19 May in the UK, and some of their biggest fans are already preparing to travel more than 10,000 miles to be in Windsor for the occasion.
Some of those super-fans have told us why they’re making such a huge effort to get as close to the action as possible.
‘This wedding is very significant for me as a black American woman with bi-racial children’
Marzy Bedford-Billinghurst, from Virginia, USA, and her friend Vanessa Kerr-King, from Jacksonville, Florida, are both travelling to the UK for the wedding, “I know it is a long shot but I want to see the couple,” Marzy explained.
Marzy, whose father was stationed in South Ruislip when he worked in the United States Air Force, was in London to see the wedding of Princess Margaret to Anthony Armstrong-Jones in 1960. It was her first royal wedding.
Vanessa has watched every royal wedding from afar and often pretended to be a princess. “I used to wear a beautiful flowing dress, crown and had a well-rehearsed British accent. But I was told that a brown girl like me would never be a princess, much less a queen.”
For both Vanessa and Marzy, a British prince marrying a mixed-race American woman is a really positive thing.
“My children are bi-racial in the same way as Meghan. I am black and my husband is white,” Marzy explained, “I am thrilled that history has changed the way we view races and that the royal family is embracing this beautiful, bi-racial, American woman. Growing up I could never have imagined this.”
Vanessa is also looking forward to collecting some royal memorabilia while she is in the UK.
“I inherited memorabilia from the 1947 wedding of Queen Elizabeth from my mother-in-law. I hope I can get my granddaughter something she can treasure from the wedding, something that reinforces the message that little brown girls can now grow up to become princesses.”
‘I was in the front row at Princess Anne’s wedding in November 1973. I hope to get this lucky again’
Margaret and Stuart, both originally from Tasmania, went out together when they were 19, and 50 years later, their paths crossed again.
“We realised that the UK, British history and the royal family were all common interests, so decided to deepen our new relationship with a trip to a royal wedding,” Margaret said.
“I have a bit of a history with royalty as my father organised all the royal visits to Tasmania from 1954 to 1980 and was personally decorated by the Queen with a CVO.
“I was working in London in 1973 when Princess Anne married Mark Phillips at Westminster Abbey.
“I was on the number 88 bus from Clapham with an Australian girlfriend when we saw a commotion and realised it was the day of the royal wedding! We raced home to get our cameras, found a spot in the crowd and moved forward every time someone breathed in or turned a bit. By the time the carriages came past we were at the front.
“For Kate and William’s wedding, two girlfriends and I just sat on the couch glued to the TV wearing very cheap tiaras but drinking very expensive champagne!”
‘I am looking forward to watching the procession through Windsor’
Juanita made plans to travel to the UK as soon as the wedding was announced.
“I’m an American Indian and my tribe, Pascua Yaqui, is from Arizona. This wedding is special for me because it will be like experiencing a real-life fairy tale, even if just for one day.
“I will be there celebrating with other royal fans. I believe Harry and Meghan are perfect together. I’m really looking forward to seeing them in all their splendour.
“I’m counting the days!”
‘I have a collection of royal teacups’
Sarah Wasyluk, from Malmo, Sweden, was in the crowd for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011 so attending Prince Harry’s wedding was only fitting.
“My love for the royal family was passed down from my mother, Margot Wasyluk, who adored Princess Diana.
“But before her, my great-grandmother, Ethel Cleminson, was the original fan of all things royal.
“She travelled to London frequently, even taking my mother and her cousins to London to see the Queen in 1980.
“I haven’t a doubt she would be absolutely delighted to know I was there for this special day.
“I have a collection of royal teacups, one of which commemorates the wedding of William and Kate, another from the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana and I have a teacup from when the Queen visited Canada.”
‘This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me’
Donna Robinson is a huge fan of the royal family. Her fascination with all things royal started with the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.
“I was so impressed with Lady Diana’s wedding dress.”
When Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited Jamaica in 2002, Donna was there waiting. “I stood at the gate of my workplace just to wave at them as they passed by.
“I have been to England twice before, in 2011 and 2014. I went to see Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Kensington Palace.
“I also watched the wedding ceremony for William and Catherine and the introduction of George and Charlotte to the world on TV.
“I’m really excited to be there for Harry and Meghan’s wedding.”