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Royal wedding: What’s happening, who’s paying, why it makes some people mad, and how it includes the Mulroney family

At Legoland in Windsor, Lego-brick models of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle face their wedding guests in front of Windsor Castle. The real royal wedding takes place May 19 at noon local time (7 a.m. ET).

DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/Getty Images

The biggest royal celebration since the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee six years ago takes place on Saturday when Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. More than 100,000 people are expected to descend on Windsor to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds while millions watch the ceremony live on television.

The couple has broken royal convention by holding the wedding on the weekend instead of a weekday, and they aren’t planning to go on a honeymoon right afterward, preferring to do their first public engagement as husband and wife next week.

Ms. Markle’s background as a divorced American actress with mixed-race parents has also attracted much attention along with her recent confirmation in the Church of England. Kensington Palace says 5,000 members of the media will be covering the event, including 160 photographers and 46 television stations from the United States.

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The event has not been without controversy including a public row over calls in Windsor to round up homeless people before the wedding and attempts by some locals to cash in on the craze by renting out rooms for more than £500 a night, or $868. Ms. Markle’s father, Thomas Markle Sr., also caused a stir when he flip-flopped about coming after being caught up in a scandal over staged paparazzi photographs. In the end, he chose to stay home because of health concerns.

And while the Royal Family is paying for the cost of the wedding, taxpayers won’t be off the hook. The government will have to foot the bill for roughly £30-million to cover security costs. But the wedding could provide an estimated £80-million boost to the economy in increased tourism and added business for pubs and restaurants.

The wedding

The ceremony starts at noon in St. George’s Chapel, which dates back to 1475 and is the resting place of 10 monarchs including King Henry VIII. Members of the Royal Family will arrive around 11:20 a.m. by car and on foot, including Prince Harry who will be accompanied by Prince William, his brother and best man.

Ms. Markle and her mother, Doria Ragland, will stay at Cliveden House Hotel in Windsor the night before the wedding, where cottages go for up to £2,000 a night. Prince Harry will stay that night with Prince William at another Windsor-area hotel, the Coworth Park, where premium suites start at £1,270 a night.

On Saturday morning, Ms. Markle will arrive by car at the chapel with her mother. Mr. Markle was supposed to walk his daughter down the aisle but Prince Charles will do it instead.

The ceremony will last about an hour and it will be conducted by the Dean of Windsor, Right Rev. David Conner, and Most Rev. and Right Honourable Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, who officiates as the couple take their vows. There will also be an address by Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church of the United States, which is part of the global Anglican Communion.

After the ceremony, the newlyweds will board a horse-drawn carriage for a short ride through the streets of Windsor and back to the castle for a private reception.

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THE ROYAL PROCESSION

The royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will take place on the Windsor Castle grounds, roughly 44 km outside of London. The royal newlyweds will have a carriage procession

following the ceremony to greet

the public.

1 p.m.

The carriage will depart from

St George’s Chapel after the noon

ceremony

3.35 km

The distance of the carriage route

that winds its way through the town

of Windsor

2,640

Guests have been invited into

the castle grounds, to watch arrival

of couple and departure in carriage

150,000

Estimated public attendance

5,000

Members of the media

3,000

Estimated police presence

140

Volunteers to manage crowd control

START:

St Georges

Chapel

St Georges Hall

FINISH:

Windsor

Castle

Castle

Hill

Castle

Hill

High Street

High Street

Sheet Street

Sheet Street

Long Walk

Kings Road

Albert Road

The royal couple will have a Captain's Escort (28 mounted soldiers) by the

Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, with whom Prince Harry served from 2006 to 2009.

A team of four Windsor Greys, Milford Haven, Plymouth and father and son Storm and Tyrone, will pull the carriage and two others - Sir Basil and Londonderry - will be outriders. The carriage will be the Ascot Landau (or the Scottish State Coach in the event of rain). The carriage and horses are housed at the Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace.

TRISH McALASTER / THE GLOBE AND MAIL

IMAGE: GOOGLE EARTH

SOURCES: THE ROYAL HOUSEHOLD, CNN,

GRAPHIC NEWS,U.K. MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

THE ROYAL PROCESSION

The royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will take place on the Windsor Castle grounds, roughly 44 km outside of London. The royal newlyweds will have a carriage procession

following the ceremony to greet the public.

1 p.m.

The carriage will depart from

St George’s Chapel after the noon

ceremony

3.35 km

The distance of the carriage route

that winds its way through the town

of Windsor

2,640

Guests have been invited into

the castle grounds, to watch arrival

of couple and departure in carriage

150,000

Estimated public attendance

5,000

Members of the media

3,000

Estimated police presence

140

Volunteers to manage crowd control

START:

St Georges

Chapel

St Georges Hall

FINISH:

Windsor

Castle

Castle

Hill

Castle

Hill

High Street

High Street

Sheet Street

Sheet Street

Long Walk

Kings Road

Albert Road

The royal couple will have a Captain's Escort

(28 mounted soldiers) by the Household Cavalry

Mounted Regiment, with whom Prince Harry

served from 2006 to 2009.

A team of four Windsor Greys, Milford Haven,

Plymouth and father and son Storm and Tyrone, will pull the carriage and two others - Sir Basil

and Londonderry - will be outriders. The carriage will be the Ascot Landau (or the Scottish State Coach in the event of rain). The carriage and horses are housed at the Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace.

TRISH McALASTER / THE GLOBE AND MAIL

IMAGE: GOOGLE EARTH

SOURCES: THE ROYAL HOUSEHOLD, CNN, GRAPHIC NEWS,

U.K. MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

St Georges Hall

START:

St Georges

Chapel

FINISH:

Windsor

Castle

Castle

Hill

Castle

Hill

High Street

High Street

THE ROYAL

PROCESSION

The royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will take place on the Windsor Castle grounds, roughly 44 km outside of London. The royal

newlyweds will have a carriage procession

following the ceremony to greet the public.

Sheet Street

Sheet Street

1 p.m.

Long Walk

The carriage will depart from

St George’s Chapel after the noon

ceremony

Kings Road

3.35 km

The distance of the carriage route

that winds its way through the town

of Windsor

2,640

Guests have been invited into

the castle grounds, to watch arrival

of couple and departure in carriage

150,000

Estimated public attendance

5,000

Members of the media

3,000

Estimated police presence

Albert Road

140

Volunteers to manage crowd control

The royal couple will have a Captain's Escort

(28 mounted soldiers)

by the Household Cavalry

Mounted Regiment, with whom Prince Harry

served from 2006

to 2009.

A team of four Windsor Greys, Milford Haven, Plymouth and father

and son Storm and Tyrone, will pull the

carriage and two others - Sir Basil and Londonderry - will be outriders.

The carriage will be

the Ascot Landau (or

the Scottish State Coach in the event of rain).

The carriage and horses are housed at the Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace.

TRISH McALASTER / THE GLOBE AND MAIL; IMAGE: GOOGLE EARTH

SOURCES: THE ROYAL HOUSEHOLD, CNN, GRAPHIC NEWS, U.K. MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

Watch: Since the late 1800s, the grounds of Windsor Castle has been as popular a destination for royal weddings as Buckingham Palace. Here is what to expect at the ceremony and along the procession route. The Globe and Mail

The Mulroney connection

Ms. Markle won’t have a maid of honour at the wedding, but her BFF, Canada’s Jessica Mulroney, is playing a starring role in the ceremony.

Not only are Jessica and her husband, Ben Mulroney, guests at the wedding, but their four-year-old daughter, Ivy, will be one of six bridesmaids, and their two sons, seven-year-old twins Brian and John, will be page boys alongside Prince George and Prince Harry’s godson, Jasper Dyer.

Ms. Mulroney, a 37-year-old, Toronto-based bridal expert, stylist and public-relations manager, was reportedly flown to Kensington Palace in January to help Ms. Markle pick her dress for the big day. The two are believed to have been friends since 2011, when Ms. Markle moved from Los Angeles to Toronto to film Suits. They reportedly bonded over a shared love of yoga.

In 2016, Prince Harry and Ms. Markle hunkered down at the Mulroneys’ Toronto home to escape the intense media scrutiny of their relationship. The four hit it off smashingly, as the Brits might say. That same year, Ms. Mulroney and Ms. Markle took a trip to Italy’s Amalfi Coast, posting pictures on Instagram with the hashtag #MJxItaly.

Last year, Jessica was one of only three people to join Prince Harry and Ms. Markle in the royal box at the Invictus Games in Toronto, the multisport event for armed-services personnel and veterans founded by Prince Harry.

So if they’re besties, why isn’t Ms. Mulroney appointed Ms. Markle’s maid of honour, as many thought she would be?

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Ms. Markle is opting not to have one. “She has a very close-knit group of friends and she did not want to choose one over the other,” according to a statement from Buckingham Palace.

Happy wife happy life #fakehoneymoon. #MJxItaly #positano #posivibes

A post shared by Jess Mulroney (@jessicamulroney) on

The guests

There is no official guest list but about 600 people will be inside the chapel, all friends and family members. Most of the Royal Family is expected to attend, including the Queen. However, it’s not clear if Prince Philip, 96, will make it and palace officials have said Prince Louis, born last month, won’t be there.

The 600 guests will attend a lunchtime reception at St. George’s Hall hosted by the Queen and in the evening about 200 will be invited to the private reception hosted by the Prince of Wales at Frogmore House, near Windsor Castle.

Another 2,640 people have been invited inside the castle grounds to watch the arrival of the wedding party and the newlyweds’ departure by carriage (these guests will be standing outside the chapel). Roughly 1,200 have been selected by local officials for their charity work and the remainder consist of students from local schools and members of the royal staff.

A homeless man sleeps next to a souvernir shop near Windsor Castle. The head of Windsor's borough council sparked controversy by suggesting homeless residents should be rounded up before the wedding.

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The controversy

Windsor has a reputation for being snobbish given that it’s home to Windsor Castle, Eton College and the annual Royal Ascot horse race which is a favorite of the Queen. That reputation wasn’t enhanced when the head of the borough council, Simon Dudley, called on police to round up the city’s few homeless people before the wedding.

During a Twitter tirade in January, while he was on a ski holiday at Jackson Hole in Wyoming, Mr. Dudley said the town faced “an epidemic of rough sleeping and vagrancy” and he demanded police “focus on dealing with this before the Royal Wedding.”

In a letter to police he wrote: “Obviously, the level of tourist interest is set to multiply with the Royal Wedding in May, 2018, and there are increased concerns from our residents about their safety. ... The whole situation also presents a beautiful town in a sadly unfavourable light.”

Mr. Dudley faced a sharp rebuke from Prime Minister Theresa May, whose riding includes part of Windsor, and groups that work with the homeless. Police also responded by saying that all levels of government needed to work together to solve homelessness. Mr. Dudley later apologized and said he was not referring to genuine homeless people.

“They don’t care about us,” said Keith, who lives in a bus shelter opposite the castle and declined to give his last name. Keith has been living on the streets of Windsor for 10 years, ever since he lost his job and his relationship. Despite Mr. Dudley’s apology, he’s still convinced the council will try to get the police to clear the streets of the homeless before the wedding.

“Why should I move just because they want to spend millions of pounds on a wedding?” he said indignantly. “This is the real world. This is what’s happening out here.”

Royal fan Margaret Tyler poses with her dolls called Harry and Meghan and her collection of royal memorabilia that decorates her Bed & Breakfast establishment in London.

Frank Augstein/The Associated Press

A farm shop in Windsor sells a limited-edition craft beer for the royal wedding, dubbed Harry & Meghan's Windsor Knot.

DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/Getty Images

The wedding has led to a booming industry of unofficial royal merchandise, like these limited-edition "Crown Jewels" condoms in a London shop.

DANIEL SORABJI/Getty Images

The moneymaking

Almost everyone is trying to cash in on the wedding, from pubs and restaurants to souvenir sellers and even the Royal Family. The Royal Collection Trust, a charity that looks after the royal art collection, is offering a wide range of wedding memorabilia, including china sets, cakes, truffles, shortbread, candles, almonds, Champagne and jewellery.

Sales of the trust’s royal trinkets have been soaring in recent years and reached a record £19-million last year, up 20 per cent from the previous year. The wedding is expected to smash that tally.

Pauline Jack and her husband, Albert, are among those snapping up wedding souvenirs. “I’m a strong royalist and I’m very excited about the wedding,” Ms. Jack said during a recent visit to Windsor where she bought a souvenir bag, tea towel, scarf and a baby mug for the couple’s granddaughter, all featuring pictures of Prince Harry and Ms. Markle.

The couple lives near Portsmouth and Mr. Jack said they plan to host a wedding day party at their home, decorated with souvenir wedding bunting they bought at another store.

Another charity, the Windsor Homeless Project, is also hoping to cash in on the wedding and the controversy caused by the local council. It’s selling a line of wedding souvenirs called “For Richer, For Poorer” that includes a commemorative plate for £5,000 that will help furnish a new flat for a homeless person.

Some homeowners in Windsor are also trying to cash in with many renting rooms for £600 a night on Airbnb. One enterprising homeowner promised that for nearly £500 a night, visitors would be able to see “three to five minutes” of the royal carriage procession from the balcony.

But not everyone is so eager to profit off the wedding. Roger Gaywood and his wife, Dolly, live on the route of the carriage procession, giving him one of the best views in Windsor. He wouldn’t dream of missing the wedding and he’s invited some friends over to watch Prince Harry and Ms. Markle pass by.

A British television station asked to put a camera on his front step and Mr. Gaywood obliged. “They gave me a case of Champagne,” he said. “That’s enough payment.”

DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/Getty Images



With a report from Dave McGinn

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