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Pre-Royal Wedding Live Coverage. Aired 3-4a EST

Aired May 19, 2018 - 03:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- tell us about the ring possibly the tiara. We're also going to get our first glimpse of Meghan Markle hopefully as she leaves Clifton House in her car.


MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The crowds gathering. The British and American flags are waving. The excitement truly is growing the final touches are being put in place here in Windsor, England as the modern monarchy puts their stamp on centuries of history. Good morning. I'm Max Foster.

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Isha Sesay live outside Windsor Castle where we are just hours away from the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. What a day. It's been such a build up, up to this moment but before that in less than an hour the first guests will enter the grounds of Windsor Castle. Nearly 1,200 members of the public were specially invited to stand outside the chapel during the Royal Wedding. And Max, a huge part of the discussion today is just how Harry and Meghan are reshaping the centuries old monarchy. I mean, this is such a remarkable moment for this family.

FOSTER: It really is. And Meghan Markle has chosen to walk down most of the aisle herself as well. I spoke to someone very close to her that was with her last night in fact. They said she's not making a feminist point per say. She's just doing it the way she likes to do things. You know she is a feminist so it is a feminist moment for many people today. The American actress and her British Prince will also use a modern set of wedding vows. And the ceremony will also include tributes to the late Princess Diana many nods to the United States as well including in the dress so look out for them.

And we're also learning more about the guest list. Tennis superstar Serena Williams has just confirmed she will be attending the wedding. Now CNN has crews all over this for you. The crowds along the procession routes, crucially the hotel. We're going to take you there as soon as we see Meghan. We're going to have a camera peering through that car window to see what she's wearing. Bringing you all that excitement only as CNN can. Let's start though with Kate Bennett. She's with the gathering crowds and she's going to give us a look at royal fans. They are peculiar to the UK. Don't you think Kate? KATE BENNETT, CNN REPORTER: Well as an American I've been bowled over

by how patriotic and -- and excited everyone seems here. I'm on Eaton Bridge which connects Eaton to Windsor. We're seeing a lot of those 1,200 people who got the special invitation in the mail so that they could be inside the castle walls. Not necessarily one of the 600 people inside the chapel but certainly inside the festivities. These are people associated with many of the charities that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle support.

Clearly they're people that have lucked out in a sense to get up close as much as they possibly can and be on the inside. So they're coming over the bridge now. They've parked just beyond this bridge and there's a lot of people walking towards the castle. You know, we've seen people with picnic baskets and flags and wearing Union Jack suits and outfits. And it's really been quite a festive day. I wanted to show the cover of The Sun this morning or I guess it was last night it came out.

I'm getting "Harryed" in the morning. You know, you had a lot of time to come up with this headline Sun. I don't know if that's taking the best shot there but and then The Times had just a lovely welcome to the family with Meghan Markle and her mother as they arrived in Windsor yesterday. That they had met with the Queen and had coffee with her -- or tea with her. I love that Meghan's mom is wearing a little gold nose ring stud in her nose and just -- she's this every bit the modern American woman. This yoga instructor, her mother a free spirit as Meghan calls her.

It's the two of them together facing today. You know, the -- the Prince has obviously a large extended family, so much tradition, other royals. There's a lot to take on here and just mother and daughter together I think symbolizes really a lot for Meghan. This is the woman who raised her, primarily her father can't be here today. Prince Charles stepping in to walk her down the aisle. But this moment for mother and daughter facing this very new life for a very modern American woman transferring her citizenship perhaps. Transferring her work, her world to be with her new husband says a lot of what's going to happen today. Back to you guys.

FOSTER: All right Kate. Thank you very much indeed. We've got an aerial image for you here. You get a real sense of the scale of the castle here. It's a town effectively. It's a fortress. It started being built 1,000 years ago by William the Conqueror. Harry is a direct descendent and kings and queens have lived there every since. As you can see, the round tower in the middle, the chapel there is on the right. We're getting a rare glimpse to the quarter angle on the left though. That's the queen's private quarters. In there she'll be preparing --

[03:05:14] MAX FOSTER: -- this is her favorite castle, she rides those grounds in her pony -- on her pony even every day, but look at the scale of that. It really is a fairytale setting. Isha. You're right there.

ISHA SESAY: Just stunning. It is absolutely beautiful. We're right here. And Max for our viewers around the world, I want to share something with you. I'm here and here in Windsor you can see the castle just behind me and you can -- you might be able to make it out. But we can clearly hear classical music being piped out over the public speakers here. And so, the entire space is filled with this beautiful music. Someone tells me it's a German love song. And it's just setting the -- the -- the scene really for this fairytale and the crowds have lined the procession route.

They are here. They're waiting to see the newlyweds when they leave the chapel which will happen just around 1 o'clock local time. And then they're going to go down Castle Hill onto the High Street. And when they make that journey they'll go on and they'll see these sidewalks that are already crammed full of people. Another remarkable thing that I want to tell you that they go down the -- the sidewalks waiting from the crack of dawn some of these people to catch a glimpse of this newly married royal couple.

Before finally going up the long walk which is where Jason Carroll is and Jason one of the things I want to get from you because where I am here in Windsor as I look down and see the crowds. They are from all walks of life. They are all ethnicities. It is such a mix. The excitement is electric. What's it like where you are? What's the mood like around you?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly the same. Exactly what you just mentioned. I mean, you can walk into this crowd here along The Long Walk. And you can already see there are already thousands of people who have lined this pathway leading up to Windsor Castle. You walk along, you meet people from all walks of life, from all different countries. Giving you an example, right here in the very beautiful yellow with the cap here Germany. I think the North and the South of Germany. We also have Britain over here as well. We have Kentucky. We have South Carolina. Let me get some of you to weigh in. Let's start with the United States. South Carolina came all the way here. This is exactly where you wanted to be on this day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is exactly where I wanted to be. I wanted to be a part of the excitement, the experience. See Henry -- Harry and Meghan and just be around friends.

CARROLL: And you've also met new friends here. I mean these guys just met today Isha. They didn't know each other. Met on the way here. You adopted the British or did the British adopt you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They asked very nicely could they sit behind us and we said of course you can. Because we're British and we want to welcome them into our country.

CARROLL: I noticed not only you welcoming the Americans. You've got some cake here too as well. Isha this is what they've been eating. This is the royal celebration wedding cake with the same ingredients as the real cake, lemon and elderflower.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had it for breakfast.

CARROLL: Breakfast.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. A bit (inaudible) for breakfast but great. Don't tell me mum.

CARROLL: Don't tell your mom.


CARROLL: It's delicious.


CARROLL: And we want to get the Germans in here as well because they wanted to come in and express their best wishes for the royal couple as well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, absolutely. (inaudible) the royal family is partly a German one. So yes to Meghan and Harry, we love you all.

CARROLL: And I said, so that's what you really experience when you come out here and The Long Walk is about a mile long in this stretch. The folks who've come out here really have a seat that's just so close to when the royal couple comes through here. The carriage will be literally just about 15 feet from where they're standing. So you talk about getting an up close look at the royal couple. This is where you want to be. Again, thousands of people already lined up here waiting for the festivities to come. Isha.

SESAY: Oh, so wonderful. So wonderful to see that people from all around the world wishing this couple just a very best start for their married life. Jason Carroll thank you so much for giving us the flavor from where you are and as we take these pictures of Windsor. And you see the castle and St. George's Chapel on the grounds where Meghan Markle will marry her Prince a short time from now. It truly is just -- jus breathtaking. And again, just to say to you, you may not be able to hear it but where I am here in Windsor, the classical music is playing and it feels like we're on a movie set quite frankly. It feels so dream like. This beautiful sound and the crowd just really getting very much into the romantic spirit of things. We have just hours to go before the Royal Wedding. The suspense is building around who Meghan Markle will wear for this wedding. Only one woman has this assignment. One woman is good enough for it. CNN's Bianca Nobilo is live outside the Clifton Hotel. Bianca, you're the woman we want to hear from. Any word on that wedding dress?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST: No definitive word Isha. But so much speculation. This --

[03:10:14] NOBILO: -- dress will be in museums. It will be replicated. It will set all the bridal trends for months if not years to come. And that dress is just behind me in the beautiful Clifton House with Megan Markle and her mother where she'll be getting ready this morning. And in about three hours time, she will drive right by where I am on her way to St. George's Chapel. Meghan and her mother arrived last night. Meghan was asked how she was feeling and she said wonderful thank you.

She was in top spirits. They spent the night here. A luxurious, really tranquil exclusive hotel where she's been staying. She will have got the best service and reportedly the dress has arrived before her but we're not sure. The -- the front runners for that still remain Ralph and Russo, perhaps Stella McCartney, Stewart Parvin's a name that's out there. Yvonne Shea's being talked about this morning. There is so many, so much speculation, so many rumors.

And we have to remind ourselves that until the moment that Kate Middleton stepped out on her wedding day, Alexander McQueen that fashion house denied that they were the ones that made that dress and indeed they did. So we're really not sure what to believe at the moment Isha because the moment we get a clue, we'll have it for you.

SESAY: Bianca, really appreciate it. Thank you very much. We are all waiting with baited breath. Earlier on in the week I actually interviewed Elizabeth Emanuel the co-designer of Princess Diana's dress and she told me right up until the final moment they had to hide everything. They hid and -- and -- and buried all the scraps of extra material for fear that someone would get that they were making this dress. So closely guarded secret who Kate -- who Kate rather -- who Meghan Markle will be wearing when she walks down the aisle. Max Foster tossing it over to you. You have deep sources. What are they saying to you? What's -- what's the favorite to this dress?

MAX FOSTER: Sorry, I didn't quite hear the end of that Isha. But we've just had a tweet from the Archbishop of Canterbury he officiating today. The service, the first of many announcements this hour. Praying for Prince Harry and Miss Meghan Markle today. May it be a day of joy and celebration as they commit their lives to each other before God and may we all share in that joy with them. Royal events are key events for the church. They want people to celebrate marriage and commit to marriage and this is going to be a true example which is why we see the Archbishop but also the Episcopalian Bishop representing the United States in the service today. That's the chuckle.

More details about the wedding from Kensington Palace, the official order of service was published over night. The reason they put it online was so that people at home can download it and sing along. Guide Me Though Great Redeemer will be sung. It was also sung at Diana's funeral so a nod to her there and at Kate and William's wedding. Diana's sister is giving a reading representing the Spencer side of Harry's family. The last time we heard from her was at Diana's funeral.

Also there's a possible civil rights reference with the use of This Little Light of Mine during the procession and Thomas Markle's expected to participate in the service is mentioned presumably, well we know that it was -- these orders of service were printed before he pulled out because of ill health. It's too late to change online but that will actually be a really symbolic moment in royal history when we have this older service Isha which has Thomas Markle's name in it. And he couldn't turn up. A painful moment for Meghan during the week I'm told but she's firing ahead and is really excited about today.

SESAY: Yes. We -- we -- we

(CROSSTALK) SESAY: -- special time.

FOSTER: I think we just heard.

SESAY: Breaking news. We indeed.

FOSTER: Carry on.

SESAY: No, no, no. I want to talk to you about this. The breaking news that we're getting just here at CNN that Harry, Prince Harry has received a title from the Queen, his grandmother and he will be the Duke of Sussex. Which means Meghan Markle will of course become the Duchess of Sussex. Max, you still with me. It -- talk to us about the significance of this. Was this the title we expected to receive?

FOSTER: Yes. It was either Sussex or Clarence. So that's how we're going to know them from now on like we know Kate Middleton as the Duchess of Cambridge. So Meghan Markle will be the Duchess of Sussex. Just to explain how these things work Meghan. That is bestowed by the Queen that title. So that was in her gift. They just made that announcement. Technically what happens during the service is as soon as she accepts Harry as her husband and he accepts her as his wife, she technically becomes Her Royal Highness Princess Henry of Wales. But as a feminist, you're not going to go around using that title.

[03:15:14] FOSTER: So, we -- she almost certainly will want people to know her as the Duchess of Sussex. She is a princess in all intensive purpose but because she's not a blood princess she'll never be Princess Meghan although she'll probably get known for that. Don't you think?

SESAY: I -- I think it's a pretty safe bet she'll get known as that. So just to be clear with them being the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in the event of children. Yes we are getting ahead of ourselves, they haven't even tied the knot yet. But what does it make their children?

FOSTER: Well they will be both, for example, unless they name their son Max, which I hear is very likely. He'll be Prince Max of Sussex. They will be the Sussex's. The Cambridge's are the Cambridge's. It was a vacant title. There aren't many vacant titles. So it was the most likely one but we now know that soon as they're married they will be the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. And that's how people will get known to them. I think it's a difficult one though I have to say Isha because as much as Kate Middleton is the Duchess of Cambridge. You really keep the name that made you famous. So I think to the wider world she'll always be Meghan Markle.

SESAY: Yes. Absolutely. But if they do have a daughter and want to name her Isha they do have my blessing for that. They can go ahead with that. Max Foster thank you for the perspective. It's a day for following centuries old traditions but also for creating new ones. In the hours ahead we look forward to seeing these key moments in the history of royal weddings and what we can expect today.

[03:16:54] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) [03:20:35] MAX FOSTER: Look at that the crowds are absolutely thronging into The Long Walk inside Windsor Castle to see the carriage go by after this wedding of the year. We're outside Windsor Castle for you all this morning with breaking news. We've just learned that upon marriage Prince Harry will become the Duke of Sussex. Meghan Markle will therefore become the Duchess of Sussex. Let's dissect this with Kate Williams, CNN Royal Commentator, Sally Bedell Smith as well CNN Contributor and author of "Elizabeth the Queen". Sally, we've also got a couple of other titles which is customary. Earl of Dumbarton which is what he'll be known as in Scotland we agree.


FOSTER: But also Baron Kilkeel.

SMITH: Right.

FOSTER: So they only take a Welsh or non-Irish title. That's going to be a Northern Irish title right?

SMITH: Yes. Yes. Northern Ireland.

FOSTER: So what do you make of Sussex?

SMITH: Sussex is I think is what everybody has been predicting. It's been vacant for a while. I think it's preferable to some of the others that were under consideration.

FOSTER: Like Clarence.

SMITH: Clarence which has an unfortunate (inaudible) notation.


SMITH: Eddie -- Eddie the Duke of Clarence was -- was -- was one of the children of -- of King George the V and he was -- he was -- excuse me he was one of the children of -- of King Edward the VII and he was originally betrothed to Princess May and then he had a horrific death in York Cottage up in Sandringham. Surrounded by his entire family, very dramatic.

FOSTER: So maybe my thought --


FOSTER: Don't do that.

SMITH: And then he -- and then Princess May went on marry the future George the V.

FOSTER: And this is the title that's bestowed by the Queen.


FOSTER: But should also be a princess, technically.

SMITH: Yes. Yes.

FOSTER: Princess Henry.

SMITH: Princess Henry. Yes. Which she wouldn't want to go by.


SMITH: But she is -- she is a legitimate princess.

FOSTER: Yes. Just to describe the atmosphere that (inaudible) can hear. Just a line up of police getting in position. But everyone's family here today though it feels.

SMITH: Yes. Yes.

FOSTER: It feels. Kate, what do you think of Sussex? Our resident historian.

KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: Hello. Well I think it's marvelous and I think the people of Sussex is going to be double the street parties going on in Sussex. It was the one we expected but it is a marvelous title. It's been vacant for a long time since the 1840's. And my great fact about the Duke of Sussex is that did you know that he gave away Queen Victoria on her wedding day and we've been talking so much about Victoria because she, herself gave her daughters away. She really broke the precedent about a man giving the woman away which Meghan is also doing. So I think it's a really lovely symmetry in Sussex. And I -- I do think it's going to be a marvelous title for Meghan. Meghan the Duchess of Sussex. I love it.

FOSTER: He will also be an Earl and a Baron. He'll be an Earl in Scotland when he visits Scotland. Just explain how that works. Whenever he goes to Scotland he doesn't use Sussex does he. He only uses that in England and I -- are we right in saying that Baron Kilkeel will be the title he uses in Northern Ireland.

WILLIAMS: Yes, that's absolutely correct. So they don't normally get a Welsh title because they are already -- he's already Harry Wales and his brother is William Wales and his brother is Prince of Wales. So they get it in Scotland and Northern Ireland to the other titles. And yes that means that when he -- when he is Earl, Meghan will be Countess and when he is Baron, Meghan will be Baroness. So she is a Baroness, a Duchess and a Countess and a Princess so those are four new titles she has and also Her Royal Highness as well.

So she goes in Miss Markle. She comes out Baroness, Countess, Princess and Her Royal Highness and Duchess. So what a marvelous day and what a big change. And I think we also see Harry, now he's Duke of Sussex becoming -- becoming part of the Order of the Garter as William is, as the Queen is. This vital order of chivalry which is enthroned in St. George's Castle. So it is a beginning of a new chapter for Harry and Meghan as Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

FOSTER: It really is. Look at the crowds, it's really filling out The Long Walk here. They're very excited to see their -- their Baroness, the Countess, the Princess, the Duchess. WILLIAMS: Yes. All of the above.

FOSTER: Down The Long Walk. That will happen after the service won't it?


FOSTER: Do you think this is the last big royal wedding?

WILLIAMS: Well I think in the foreseeable future, there is obviously going to be a wedding of Princess Eugenie in October that will also be at -- at St. George's Chapel but as it has been described to me by people in the family. It's going to be much more of a family wedding.


WILLIAMS: This is a -- this is not only a family wedding it's an --

[03:25:14] WILLIAMS: Anglo-American union. It's a bringing together of two cultures. It's got Hollywood. It has polo. It has Eaton. It has Northwestern University. It just, you know, it is a much more diverse crowd than I think that has every been at any royal wedding.

FOSTER: Absolutely. I mean, Isha, royal families in Europe you see unite. Finally the British royal family's globalizing. This is a united -- a united wedding. United States, the United Kingdom coming together today.

ISHA SESAY: It is. It is a very special union and marking a special friendship between the two countries you'd say. Meghan Markle is bringing her own brand of glamour to Britain and one of the big questions everyone is still asking at this point and time. Who is the mystery designer who made Meghan's dress? We're getting close to the big reveal.

[03:26:06] )(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:30:04] MAX FOSTER: Welcome to Windsor I'm Max Foster amongst the crowds along the Long Walk leading up to the castle. And Isha's amongst the (inaudible)


[03:30:14] SESAY: I feel like Rapunzel. I'm Isha Sesay in Windsor and I'm surrounded by the crowds lining the streets waiting to see Prince Harry and his new bride. A couple of hours from now the final countdown is on Max. And we're learning breaking news that we want to share with our viewers in the United States and around the world. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex today upon their marriage.

Meghan becomes the first person to hold the title of Duchess of Sussex. She gets many, many titles on this day. She becomes a Duchess, a Baroness and of course she will also become a Princess. Quite the day for Meghan Markle. So we're looking at these live pictures now as we see the cars and the processions starting to make their way down the street. Guest will soon, in fact I would say emanately begin to arrive at the chapel and certainly on the grounds of Windsor itself where we know some 1,200 members of the public were invited by the -- the soon to be royal couple. So that they could witness this special day. But the crowds here so exited. So many flags out here.

Lots of British flags, some American flags people from all around the world. Here to welcome Meghan into this royal family and to mark what is a very, very special day. And there will not be another royal wedding of this caliber for quite some time. So this is truly a historic moment. Now one of the most fascinating parts of royal weddings of all sorts and sizes of course the headgear. In particular I'm talking about fascinators. There will be quite a parade of hats today. You are actually meant to wear a hat. It is part of the protocol for women at royal weddings. I want to talk to a woman who knows all about headgear. She's designed hats for the royal family and many of the guests at this wedding. I'm talking about Vivien Sheriff she joins us now with a wonderful headgear of her own. Welcome.


SESAY: So tell us about what kind of hats we expect -- good morning. Tell us what kind of hats you're expecting to see today and do you have a hand in some of the hats we'll see today?

SHERIFF: We have had a hand in some of the hats today. Yes. It's been a really lovely lead up to this wedding and what a glorious day for a wedding. Isn't it wonderful? And so, pieces that we've made, we've made several. Quite a lot of pieces for this wedding and there will be lots of discs shapes, lots of head pieces. Obviously not fascinators at this wedding, they have requested people to wear hats so more substantial pieces is what we'll see.

SESAY: OK. What's your thinking behind that? Why they would say hats not fascinators? Give us some insight into the etiquette or -- or just the -- the thinking here.

SHERIFF: I think they've -- they've probably specified hats substantial head pieces because when one thinks of a fascinator now one thinks perhaps of a little -- a little piece of fluff. Something less significant and I think they really want a celebratory. They wanted the ladies to really dress well. So, you know, they're wearing more substantial pieces which is something like something I'm wearing today which is quite a substantial head piece.

SESAY: Yes. It is. It's absolutely stunning. I mean, I don't know how you keep it on your head but it is truly stunning. Talking about, you know, fascinators and - -and the (inaudible). I mean certainly with Prince William's wedding we saw, you know, we saw his cousins Princess Beatrice in -- in that headgear which was considered to be bit of a fashion faux pas. Do you think we're going to see something like that again today or are you safer territory once you move away from that kind of fascinator to a substantial hat?

SHERIFF: I think that they'll be lots of interesting pieces today. And the sort of -- I don't know whether it was a faux pas. But you know what? I really think we should forget that head piece that she was wearing which actually was a beautiful head piece. Maybe didn't -- maybe wasn't that great on the day but put it behind us. She's going -- they're all going to look beautiful today. They're beautiful young girls. So many lovely pieces are going to be worn today. And I think the -- the -- the idea of a head piece something like this. I brought something I want to show you. This is a piece that will probably be seen today. It's -- it's, you know, the whole shape of it is lovely. I don't know if you can sort of pick up on the feathers here and on the -- the sort of silver gilt. It's a disc shape and it's very -- actually very --

SESAY: Yes we can. Beautiful.

SHERIFF: -- sort of thing. It's flattering. It's easy to wear. And I thought more of a traditional hat (inaudible) which I brought to show you. This is very much Vivien Sheriff piece. We've had -- we've been lucky enough this week. We've had -- we got a little shop in Chelsea which we just opened last week. What a great time to open up a store in London and -- and we've had many people coming in right up to the last minute. The pieces not dissimilar to this hat shape. Obviously it's a more traditional hat. Beautiful feathering --

[03:35:14] SHERIFF: -- and a very sort of slanted, elegant brim which makes it very flattering for the mother of the bride or the groom to wear. And so, yes, of course the beret shape. I'll just show you the beret shape because actually this is a lovely piece too. And again, there's a business that's based in Wiltshire and we get a lot of our --

SESAY: That is lovely.

SHERIFF: -- Wiltshire beautiful rolling hills of the Wiltshire countryside. So feathers, flowers, the soft pastel colors expect to see -- expect to see the real (inaudible) of colors at this wedding.

SESAY: I -- I have to say the three that you showed me. I was thinking one. I would pick the last one, that beret. That beret shape I think it's absolutely exquisite and Vivien Sheriff you are a true talent. Thank you so much for joining us. It is -- it's absolutely stunning. Thank you for joining us and sharing some of your creations We very, very much appreciate it.

SHERIFF: Thank you very much.

SESAY: Such -- such a special day. We're going to see so many fashion gems, so many beautiful moments. It's -- it's going to be -- it's going to be special. It's going to be one that we're not going to forget. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be paying a touching tribute today to Princess Diana. Also -- we'll also be looking out for that to see how she appears in the ceremony. And when we come back. We're going to take a closer look at Prince Harry's relationship with his mother. They're known to have been extremely close. And we're going to explore Harry -- Harry's on the great work that she loved. It is a very, very special day here in Windsor. Stay with us for our special coverage. [03:36:43] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:40:31] MAX FOSTER: Welcome to Windsor in England. Are you ready for your first glimpse inside the church? This is an image just tweeted out by Kensington Palace. It shows the floral arrangements between the knave and the choir within St. George's Chapel. Meghan said she wanted wild and wonderful and here you have it. All these floral arrangements have been sourced locally or from the royal parks. And you can see there, white roses. Who liked white roses? Princess Diana.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle set to become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as well we've heard in the last hour. Even their titles making history today. Meghan is becoming the first person to hold the title of the Duchess of Sussex. And the only other person to hold the title of Duke of Sussex was actually an anti-slavery campaigner. So it's a fascinating connection for the couple and this title. It was bestowed by the Queen though. They wouldn't have had a say in it. So that speaks to really how the queen looks at events today.

We've got a real sense about it later on as well I suspect by the tiara she's given. We're getting closer to the moment that Prince Harry marries the love of his life Meghan Markle. The first woman in Harry's life Princess Diana will surely be there in spirit though as I was saying. And they'll honor her during today's festivities. We've already seen in one way with the flowers there. Let's talk about how the relationship between the late Princess Di and her youngest son developed. Joining me now is a man who knew Diana very well indeed. Her former Chief of Staff Patrick Jephson, thank you very much indeed for joining us. Are you able to describe the relationship that Harry had --


FOSTER: -- with his mother -- mother for us today?

JEPHSON: Well there's no doubt that William and Harry were the center of Princess Diana's universe. It didn't matter where we were in the world. So long as she could get to a phone so she could speak to them at bedtime. And she was always in a great rush to get on the plane back home, back from her overseas tours so that she could see them. And as -- as her --as her planner, as the man in charge of her program it was very much a priority for me to make sure that she got all the time she possibly could with the boys.

FOSTER: How do you think she will be reflected? I mean we've got a few pointers, one of her favorite hymns will be sung. We know that her sister will be speaking. When Jane Fellows goes up and says those words this could be quite poignant isn't it. Because we haven't heard from her in public at least since the funeral.

JEPHSON: That's true. And of course Jane and her husband Lord Fellows who was the Queen's private secretary at the time of Charles and Diana's separation was both -- both centrally involved on the official side of -- of that sad period. And Jane and the other members of the family, of course, have immense value to William and Harry and to Diana at a time of great personal stress. So, a -- a contrast very much to the happiness of today and a nice bit of continuity.

FOSTER: Is it your understanding that Harry has stayed close to the Spencer family over the years? It seems to be the indication from the guest list today.

JEPHSON: I'm sure that -- that -- that the -- the relationship with -- with Diana's family has been just as he wants it. They're all busy people. And Lord Spencer, Charles Spencer at the time of Diana's funeral of course stressed the importance of -- of William and Harry's whole family. And, you know, like a lot of family relationships this is a lifetime thing and I'm quite sure that -- that as Meghan and Harry evolve in their own marriage and have hopefully children. Then they will be a great source of strength and -- and experience for them to have this wider family to call upon.

FOSTER: OK. Patrick thank you very much indeed for joining us today to talk about how Diana will loom large in the services today. We'll talk you through a few more of those elements as they develop. Behind us, incredible crowds building up. Everyone wants to be part of this. Helped of course by the weather, truly blessed weather. You can see here in Windsor today. When Meghan walks down the aisle in a few hours there'll be one noticeable absence of course though, her father. Coming up we'll look at the sometimes rocky relationship and her concerns actually for him at this time.


[03:49:08] ISHA SESAY: Welcome back everyone to CNN's special coverage of the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. You see the crowds lining up there on the Long Walk where they'll see the couple, the newlyweds after they've tied the knot and there you see the excitement. You get a feel for what a beautiful day this is shaping up to be. So much excitement around this wedding. So much to look forward to and of course the bride in that dress. Still don't know who designed it. We cannot wait to get our first glimpse of Meghan Markle and the crowds are out in force.

Well let's talk about the bride's father shall we because he's conspicuous in his absence. The week before a wedding is usually stressful for the bride especially if you're about to marry into royalty and you have so much interest in your big day as you see from the crowds there. But adding to Meghan Markle's hectic week was the fact that her father Thomas dropped out -- dropped out of the wedding due to poor health. Let's get to Rosarito, Mexico where we find our own Leyla Santiago with a closer look at the sometimes strained relationship.

[03:50:16] SESAY: Leyla, the big question on everyone's mind is where is Thomas Markle right now? What do we know of his whereabouts on this big day for his daughter?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Isha, that remains a bit of a mystery. You know we have spent the last week here in Rosarito Beach where Mr. Markle is said to live. Many people know of him, very few actually know him. And of course, that was magnified as we became closer and closer to this very big day, the day of the Royal Wedding after there was a bit of drama. First he was going to go, then he wasn't going to go and then it became a bit of a medical issue after a heart attack as well as a need for heart surgery. We actually went to the hospital where he -- where he went after the heart attack.

They told us that -- that he had been there. They could not confirm the surgery. But I did speak to a friend of his who said that he is recovering. He is doing better. And -- and while there's still a lot of paparazzi sort of surrounding his home given the confusion of this week of where he would be to -- to watch this wedding. What we understand is he is talking to TMZ and he has said that he will watch this from a secluded place and quote, "hopefully no press". Isha.

SESAY: Leyla Santiago there with the very latest on Thomas Markle, Meghan Markle's fathers whereabouts. We don't know where he is exactly but we'll keep looking. We thank you Leyla. Thank you. We're going to take a very quick break here and we can't forget that Prince Harry is a military men. Next when we come back a look at how that will influence the ceremony as we talk to a guest who will actually be there.


[03:55:46] ISHA SESAY: Welcome back everyone to CNN's special coverage of the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. We are looking at these live pictures of the crowds gathering on the Long Walk as excitement builds here in Windsor. Expecting 100,000 people to fill this town in the hours ahead as they count down to the big moment where Meghan Markle and Prince Harry say their I do's. So many people coming in from all around the world desperate to be part of this -- this moment of history. Where this American actress joins the British aristocracy, joins one of the most famous families in the world.

There's been a fair bit of drama in the build up to this day but nothing could take away from what is expected to be a beautiful, beautiful ceremony full of traditions and new touches that Meghan Markle has brought to the ceremony. And so much to look forward to amongst them the role that the military will play in the ceremony. Prince Harry, of course, known for being a military man and we expect the military to play quite a significant role in the hours ahead. I wanted to bring in our next guest. Barney Gillespie, he's also a Veteran from Afghanistan. He has managed to bag an invite to this wedding and he joins us now. Barney, thank you for being with us. And so tell me, how excited are you to be one of the special chosen ones attending this wedding?

BARNEY GILLESPIE, BRITISH MILITARY VETERAN: Well yes, I'm very excited. I can't wait to get into the castle in there and see what's going on in there. I -- I think it's going to be quite a -- a (inaudible) affair whom are in there -- whom are in there maybe have a bit of a picnic and some Prosecco.

SESAY: And -- and so what is it -- what is -- what does it mean to you to have so many members of the military involved in this ceremony on this day? I mean, what does it mean to you?

GILLESPIE: Well I think it was always going to be big military --big military day so it was with Harry serving and I in Afghanistan as well. So and -- yes it's just amusing, you know, when somebody in the -- somebody in the Army gets married it's -- it's such a big occasion so as. So -- really looking forward to it.

SESAY: Is there a particular moment that you're looking forward to seeing more than any other?

GILLESPIE: Well I --I -- I think when they're in the carriage and they're out -- they're out and on their (inaudible) the castle. I think -- I think that's going to be a pretty special moment. As I -- I know the horse guards as well coming up and in -- with the carriage as well. So yes -- it's seeing all the lads on the horse carriage or the back corps.

SESAY: Yes. I mean, can you believe the atmosphere. If you could sum it up for our viewers around the world in one word, what would you say sums up the atmosphere here in Windsor ahead of this big day or this big moment?

GILLESPIE: Absolutely amazing. There's thousands of people here and everybody waving the flags. There's loads of people from America. I was up earlier so I was speaking to them. It's -- it's absolutely incredible. Everybody's come together here and just -- just to celebrate a really, really good day and -- and yes. Amazing.

SESAY: Yes. Absolutely amazing. You took words but I agree with you it is absolutely amazing. Barney Gillespie, enjoy the special day. Congrats on getting an invitation. You're part of history. Thank you so, so much. We must leave it there but I -- I want to show you these picture from a short time ago. Bring these to our viewers. I want to show the bridal car as it arrived at the Clifton House, the Clifton Hotel just a short time ago. There you have it. That bridal car will carry Meghan Markle and her mother to St. George's Chapel where she will make the -- the -- what will feel like a very long walk but quite short up to the alter where she will exchange vows with Prince Harry.

And this American actress will become a member of the British aristocracy and a fairytale will really begin. It is a special moment and so many people from around the world have flown in to be here. A hundred thousand people will fill Windsor. We are here for it. CNN's special coverage continues next with Anderson Cooper and Alisyn Camerota. Do stay with us.