Early Arrivals Get Sneak Peak at Royal Wedding Pageantry

BY Larisa Epatko  April 27, 2011 at 4:06 PM EDT


Camera position outside Westminster Abbey (Craig Johnston/CNN)

Crowds are building in anticipation of Friday’s royal wedding, with tent camps cropping up along the route the bride and groom will travel. Estimates say about 700,000 spectators will come to London for the celebration, while 2 billion viewers will watch from afar.

You can watch the wedding live here on the Rundown. Our online coverage starts Friday at 5 a.m. ET.

The early well-wishers in London were treated to a dry run of the military’s participation in the grand day in the pre-dawn hours Wednesday. Uniformed personnel lined the route between Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey as mounted troops escorted a look-alike carriage.

The Associated Press provides a report:

The drill gave people who are already camped out along the route a good show, said Craig Johnston, a cameraman and editor working for CNN who is positioned directly across from Westminster Abbey. “They were up and out of their tents, cheering. It was electrifying.”

Onlookers are making the most of the party atmosphere, getting pizzas delivered and decorating their temporary shelters with British flags. Even the men are wearing tiaras, Johnston reported. “That’s the wonderful thing about England; there are a lot of eccentrics.”

Some of the most enthusiastic visitors are those who were present when Prince Charles and Lady Diana married 30 years ago, and who wanted to return to see Prince William and Kate Middleton’s union, he added.

Feeling nostalgic about the wedding in 1981? Ray Suarez offers his recollections of covering the event 30 years ago. And the Washington Post has a slide show of their happy day.

We also got an on-the-ground perspective from GlobalPost reporter in London Michael Goldfarb about the wedding day plans of those not attending the nuptials.

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