Royal wedding: Harry & Meghan, by the numbers
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As Britain’s Prince Harry weds California-born TV star Meghan Markle in a lavish ceremony on the grounds of Windsor Castle, FRANCE 24 takes a look at the festivities by the numbers.
East London’s Violet Bakery is assembling an “ethereal” lemon and elderflower wedding cake that includes 500 organic eggs from Suffolk, 200 Amalfi lemons, 20kg each of butter, flour and sugar, and 10 bottles of Sandringham Elderflower Cordial. Pastry chef Claire Ptak, a California native like the bride, will complete the three-part layered cake’s assembly on Saturday morning with her team of six bakers.
British police are expecting more than 100,000 people in the streets outside Windsor Castle. The throngs of well-wishers will be craning for a glimpse of the newlyweds after the ceremony when they roll through the ancient town’s streets for 25 minutes on a 19th-century Ascot Landau carriage pulled by four Windsor Grey horses. On calmer days, the town of Windsor, 30 kilometres west of London, has a population of about 30,000.
5,000 media badges
More than 5,000 British and foreign media and support staff are credentialed to cover the wedding in Windsor, including 160 photographers and reporters from 79 television broadcasters from across the globe. No fewer than 46 US TV broadcast affiliates have descended on the town, keen to relay the nuptials of a rare American royal bride. An estimated three billion people worldwide tuned in to watch Harry’s brother Prince William wed Kate Middleton in April 2011.
4am wake-up call
The hour-long wedding ceremony is due to begin at noon local time, which will mean a very early start for Markle fans at home in her native Los Angeles, an eight-hour time difference behind. By the time the sun rises over the City of Angels, the newlyweds will be attending their reception behind closed doors at St George’s Hall. Markle’s mother, 61-year-old Doria Ragland, landed Wednesday in London after making the 11-hour journey.
The Windsor Castle grounds will host 2,640 members of the public, in addition to the 600 wedding guests invited to the service inside the 15th-century St George’s Chapel. The lucky ticket-holders include 200 people from charities the bride and groom are associated with, 100 pupils from two local schools, 610 people associated with the Windsor Castle community, 530 members of the royal households and crown estate as well as 1,200 people chosen by the Queen’s regional Lord Lieutenants, meant to include “young people who have shown strong leadership, and those who have served their communities”.
The youngest member of the wedding party is 2-year-old bridesmaid Zalie Warren, Harry’s goddaughter. Harry’s nephew Prince George of Cambridge, 4, will act as a page boy and his niece Prince Charlotte, 3, a bridesmaid in a cast of 10 children, the three oldest of whom are only seven.
Buckingham Palace confirmed Friday that 96-year-old Prince Philip, Harry’s grandfather, would attend the royal wedding, just five weeks after undergoing hip replacement surgery. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, who has largely retired from public duties, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in November. For his part, Prince Charles, the 69-year-old heir to the throne, will walk Markle down the aisle on Saturday at her request, after her ailing father was obliged to skip the trip.
A recent poll by the Opinium Research firm found 71 percent of Britons view Harry favourably, second only to his brother William (72 percent) among royals and three points ahead of his 92-year-old grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, 66 years into her reign.
A YouGov poll, meanwhile, commissioned by Republic, a British anti-monarchy group, found 66 percent of Britons saying they were not interested in the royal wedding. But commenting on the survey, The Guardian surmised, “Judging by the readership for stories involving the wedding, it seems some members of the British public may be saying one thing to pollsters and then acting differently.”