Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day three years on: a walk down memory lane

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Three years ago today, the Duke and Duchess left the St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding. (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)
Three years ago today, the Duke and Duchess left the St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding. (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

It's been three years since Harry and Meghan said their 'I do's'. We relive the beautiful day the Duke and Duchess of Sussex tied the knot, as experienced by Kirstin Buick, YOU's former digital editor. 

The crowds gathering on the lawns of the Long Walk leading up to Windsor Castle have been getting progressively merrier as the sun beats away the early morning chill.

Raucous cheers echo through the area as yet another bottle of bubbly is opened – so by mid-morning, when famous faces start arriving for the ceremony, the crowds are well-oiled and primed for a bit of action.

The noise is so deafening when Prince Harry appears with his brother and best man, Prince William, it’s impossible to hear yourself think. I’m in the thick of it and have been since before dawn.

Crowds of well-wishers – dressed up and draped in flags – were seen on the streets of Windsor from the day before the wedding. (Photo: Asia Wire/

I can barely imagine how loud things will get when Meghan Markle arrives – but when she finally steps through the chapel doors, resplendent in white with cute kids in tow, an eerie hush falls over the thousands of merrymakers gathered in the town of Windsor.

Prince Harry’s face fills the screen as he gazes upon his beautiful bride for the first time, his eyes glistening. “I’ve got sunscreen in my eye,” Katie Luton (22) from Bristol declares suddenly to no one in particular, wiping fiercely at her wet cheeks. “I can’t believe Harry’s getting married,” New Yorker Kaitlin Arbusto (23) drawls from my left for the umpteenth time today as tears roll unchecked down her cheeks too.

He’s a human being before he’s a prince – and he loves who he loves

Katie, a student, and her mom, Jane (56), a retired nurse, were so keen to see the parade they arrived the previous night and camped out on the lawns. “It was absolutely freezing,” Jane tells me cheerfully. Of the two, Jane is the real royal fan.

“I’ve been planning the trip since the engagement.” Still teary-eyed from Meghan’s entrance, she adds, “William and Harry were so young when they lost their mum. I feel like they’re my adopted sons.I think a lot of women my age feel that way.”

Royal-obsessed Kaitlin started planning her trip across the pond as soon as Harry popped the question. “Two weeks later I had my Airbnb, two weeks after that I booked my flight,” she beams.

“And here I am.” She was a royal fan long before Harry fell head over heels for a certain American actress, she insists – although she “would die for Meghan”, she adds seriously.

Harry is one of her favourites. “Being Princess Diana’s youngest makes him so loved. But Harry’s got a different kind of spunk. It’s like, he is who he is.

A royal fan and her dog wear matching crowns as they wait alongside the Long Walk in Windsor. (Photo: Asia Wire/

“He’s a human being before he’s a prince – and he loves who he loves. You know, he’s not going to put being a royal before being with someone he loves.” Jane nods vehemently on my left, half listening to the conversation with her eyes glued to the ceremony on the big screen.

“Meghan’s good for Harry,” she interjects like a proud mother hen. “And the way this marriage has brought people together is fantastic,” she adds, nodding towards a group from Seattle behind us and some Australians to their left.

But what exactly is it about the British royals that had people from all over the world camping out in the cold just for a fleeting glimpse of them in the flesh? “I love the fashion and the pageantry of it all,” says Kaileen Junier (30), who flew over from Seattle for the wedding weekend.

Laughing, her friend Kristen Holmes (37), a biologist, adds, “We love the royals because all we have in America are the Kardashians and the Trumps!”

There seem to be more Americans here than Britons. Among them are Monica Barajas and Zoe Lane, former pupils of Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles – the school Meghan attended. “We never met her,” Monica (32), a teacher, tells me, her Immaculate Heart poster flapping against the metal barrier.

“But we were there at the same time. She was four years ahead of us.” “Yeah, we were in middle school,” Zoe (32), a research assistant at a US TV network, chimes in. “So we were kind of awkward and weird and high schoolers didn’t want to talk to us.” The school got together for a party at 3am California time to watch the wedding, Monica adds.

“We’re so proud of her – it’s like a fairytale,” Zoe says. “Our teachers only have wonderful things to say about her. That she’s incredibly kind – all good things.”

Harry and Meghan in the Ascot landau during the procession after the wedding. (Photo: Asia Wire/

As the ceremony comes to an end, tears are displaced by expressions of frenzied excitement. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will soon be driving right past our spot on the Long Walk in their open carriage. Kicking away picnic blankets and empty Prosecco sparkling wine bottles, the crowd makes a mad barefoot dash towards the barrier.

Two middle-aged women dressed like the queen, who’ve been at the tipple since 7am, are obnoxiously elbowing people away from their spot, their crowns askew, so I battle to get close enough. Londoner Iona Mckenzie (25) sees my plight and takes pity on me. “Come on,” the marketing assistant says in her posh hot-potato accent, grabbing my arm.

“There’s room for one more.” Twenty-five sweaty minutes squashed up against the metal barrier in the heat ensue – the mercury is soaring over the 20°C mark, quite something for England – but that doesn’t dampen the mood.

Revellers in wedding dresses and Prince Harry masks at a street party in Hackney, London, to celebrate the special day. (Photo: Asia Wire/
Memorabilia celebrating the occasion was everywhere you looked in London. (Photo: Asia Wire/

We caught a brief glimpse of Meghan and her mom, Doria, in the car on their way to the chapel as they whizzed past us earlier today. “Probably didn’t want us to see her dress yet,” Katie says sagely. Now we’re itching for a look at the newlyweds. 

When the horsemen accompanying the couple crest the hill several hundred metres from us, the crowd roars. “Oh my gawd. Oh my gawd,” Kaitlin screams, her ample chest bouncing as she jumps up and down. “Harry’s coming! Harreeeeee!” Pocketing her cellphone, Iona starts waving her little British flag as if her life depends on it.

“No, I’m not taking pictures,” she says firmly. “I want to see this with my eyes, not through my phone.” I attempt a video clip, but it’s all over so fast. I barely glimpse Harry, riding on the side closest to us, as they go past. Watching it afterwards, it’s more a clip of Iona’s erratic flag-waving and Kaitlin’s desperate shrieking than anything else.

But I find that I don’t really mind. With a sob, Kaitlin turns to look at me, her eyes swimming again. “I can’t believe Harry’s married!” You and me both, lady.

Nabbing the best viewing spots, these fans camped outside Windsor Castle the night before the wedding. (Photo: Asia Wire/
Nabbing the best viewing spots, these fans camped outside Windsor Castle the night before the wedding. (Photo: Asia Wire/

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