Tension is building, excitement and joy fills the air outside Westminster Abbey where hundreds of thousands of people have camped out overnight, braving the cold and immense discomfort to keep their places, so they can be part of this royal wedding that could easily be the wedding of the century. Some have slept in tents, but many have just slept on the ground. People of all ages, and this morning they’re smiling and excited, waving flags, cheering.
It’s too beautiful for words. Enthusiasm for William and Kate and the romance of it all is really moving. It’s fantastic to see so many people enjoying themselves and abandoning themselves to an occasion that has captured the hearts of practically the whole world. And for good reason.
Soon-to-be Princess Kate and Prince William are such a great couple and I’m sure they’re going to lead the British Royal Family into a new era. They’re both down-to-earth, personable and seem each to have a kind of quiet confidence within themselves that’s unusual. They’re also clearly enjoying themselves hugely. Both of them are relaxed and excited about the wedding. They’re having fun. That’s a good omen, I’d say, and speaks to strength of character in both that they’re not overwhelmed by the immensity of the occasion.
They’re both really good at connecting with people, too and in Prince William you can see the spirit and influence of his mother. Last night he spent the evening with his father and brother and others, and suddenly said “let’s go out”. So he and Prince Harry went walkabout to talk to all the people camped out. That made everybody love him all the more. News footage showed him shaking hands with people reaching out to him, laughing, talking, saying something personal to everybody. Enjoying the connection.
They’re both good at that, and it seems to be something they truly enjoy. Connecting. Kate was shown as she entered the Goring Hotel where she spent the night with her family, smiling, waving at people. Relaxed, normal, beautiful. What I admire most about her is that she’s respecting that world and fitting in, but not losing her identity. She’s a strong young woman. Much better equipped, I think, to handle what’s ahead of her than Princess Diana.
Neither of them has lost their sense of who they are. And obviously they’re both aware of what a huge occasion this is but neither of them has let that overwhelm them or their capacity to enjoy it hugely. The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke about them this morning, saying he had really enjoyed getting to know them. He said that at the core they’re both very clear about how important it is to be solid in their relationship and their love for each other. He said they’re both very sensible in that way.
They both chose to give Westminster Abbey a more informal feel of an English country garden, and their friends who’ve been invited have been given places up front, which speaks to who they are. The Abbey looks absolutely gorgeous, decked out in trees. Guests are arriving now – and every time a car drives towards the Abbey the crowd goes wild. I’ve never seen so many people so happy and full of joy. It’s very infectious. I’m smiling and cheering with the best of them and every now and then my heart is in my throat.