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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Pre-Royal Wedding Live Coverage. Aired: 4-5a ET

Aired May 19, 2018 - 04:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[04:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- people from around the world have flown in to be here. A 100,000 people will fill Windsor. We are here for it. CNN's special coverage continues next with Anderson Cooper and Alisyn Camerota, so stay with us.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Stunning images. Good morning. We're live in England on the grounds of Windsor Castle for a royal wedding unlike any other in history. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle exchange vows inside St. George's Chapel just a few hours from now. Welcome to our viewers in United States and watching around the world. I'm Anderson Cooper, thanks so much for joining us.

Crowds are gathering as they have been all night long, frankly, awaiting their first glimpse of Harry and Meghan, British Royal an American actress about to join their lives and bring a new sensibility perhaps to one of the world's oldest monarchies.

We have a spectacular view from here down what's known as the long walk, a long road which leads, as you can see, incredibly beautiful Windsor Castle. I'm joined by our team of expert commentators Max Foster, who is a royal correspondent. Meghan plans to make an unprecedented walk down the aisle. Tell us about it.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She got to come in to the church on her own, surrounded by a lot of kids very brave in itself.

COOPER: And just as many as ten.

FOSTER: But one of them is two. Absolutely chaos, we can expect that. Their rehearsals approve that.

COOPER: Prince William's daughter and son maybe part of it.

FOSTER: Absolutely. And waiting to see Charlotte, she's the had a bunch of cameras already. Just to follow on that, I mean what that image will say is modernity (ph) Meghan Markle dragging the royal family into the modern age and it's most welcome (ph) on it perhaps.

COOPER: And there's obviously been a lot of discussion about who's going to walk her down the aisle. At this point, what do we know?

FOSTER: She will walk the first part of the aisle on her own, then Prince Charles will pick her up, take her to the altar, but crucially he won't give her away, she's giving herself away.

COOPER: Now, let's go to the castle across the tents to my colleague Alisyn Camerota. Alisyn, good morning.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning Anderson. It is such a sparkly beautiful day here on the side of the tents. Millions of people around the globe are watching this historic event to see the vows. They're hoping for a big kiss. They want to see the carriage ride through town and so much more.

We're also standing by, of course, for all of the celebrity arrivals and the other VIP wedding guests. So, they'll be arriving momentarily and then, of course, followed by the royals and finally the bride. Everyone can't wait to see what she will be wearing and what she looks like today on the big day.

So, a short while ago, we learned the official titles that the queen has given to the soon to be newlyweds Harry and Meghan will be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. So we have our royal commentators standing by to give us perspective on all of these angles. We have Richard Quest, of course you know him. So, Richard, what does it mean the Duke and Duchess of Sussex? I like the ring of it.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR: And a fascinating choice of titles that once again speaks to this idea of bringing these thousand year old tradition. It's a monarchy that just lasted for so long now being dragged into the 21st century. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, an unused title, hasn't been used for a couple of centuries, now back in to use. We'll talk more about the significance of that particular title.

CAMEROTA: Because it is laded with significance. I mean, the previous Duke of Sussex was --

QUEST: Augustus, absolutely.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

QUEST: He was somebody. He was very much a liberal. He was -- his own marriage was annulled in somewhat dubious circumstances. He was for freeing of the slaves. He was for reducing the restrictions on the Jewish community and he was against the Corn Laws.

So, here you have Meghan joining the royal family, this liberal American joining a thousand year institution and now got a title, the first by the way, the first female to be the Duchess of Sussex.

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh, that is wonderful perspective. I love the sub text of all of that. So, now we want to go to CNN's Clarissa Ward, she's outside of St. George's Chapel where the big moment will happen. So, Clarissa, do you have some new insight into Meghan's role in planning the wedding? Tell us about that.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right Alisyn. So, what we're learning is that yesterday during a rehearsal for the ceremony, Meghan and her mother Doria Ragland were apparently not entirely satisfied with the floral arrangement. The problem wasn't the flowers themselves, they thought they looked beautiful, but they didn't feel that there were enough of them. So the Philippa Craddock, the florist who has been tasked with masterminding all of the floral arrangements for this wonderful celebration had to have her team working overtime bringing in a ton more of foliage, flowers.

[04:05:00] We're told that now the inside of the chapel looks a little bit like what you can, perhaps, see over my right hand shoulder here the door there festoons, that arch festooned with all different types of locally sourced foliage. You'll notice the emphasis on locally sourced foliage, also white roses, pansies, foxgloves.

And I think what this goes to show you really is that while there may be hundreds involved with the organization of this wedding, while there may be millions of dollars being spent on it, this is Meghan's wedding and the bride is like any other bride, she has a very hands on approach, she wants things to look perfect and just exactly how she wants them to look. Anderson.

COOPER: Clarissa, thanks very much. There's a lot to cover over the hours ahead before the vows or exchange. And of course so many people who have been gathering here, I got here probably about 3:00 a.m. local time, and there were already people lining the long walk, lining the route that this couple will be taking after the wedding in a carriage.

Let's talk about that walk down the aisle. Max Foster, again, Meghan Markle is going to be walking the first part by herself with the maids of honor.

FOSTER: Absolutely. We just had a shot (ph) there actually, the steps outside the west door, we can show (ph) that again, that'll truly show the sense of dread that we'll think so when she comes out that literally 20 steps, you could see them the shadow on the right. The car would be there where those people are hovering.

She'll walk up 20 steps with ten children aged two to seven. I can't tell you that mothers are in-charge of corralling the kids, so Kate will be there helping to --

COOPER: But a number of the little kids have actually done this before.

FOSTER: They have done. And they've been rehearsing twice and it's gone wrong every time.

COOPER: Is that right?

FOSTER: Absolutely right. So, they're all quite nervous. But I think that's Kate's problem today. That several --

COOPER: So, she's -- Meghan Markle will be walking -- initially she had wanted her father Thomas Markle --

FOSTER: Yes.

COOPER: -- to escort her down the aisle. That is not going to happen.

FOSTER: Originally, it was the same plan. So, Thomas -- she's going to come in. There will be an official who will meet her at the door, he'll walk in front of her, it will be a precession. The children will be behind her. Then she's going to go up to the second part of the church, the choir. And the Thomas Markle is going to pick her up and walk her along. And you'll see that reflected in today's order of service.

They didn't have time to reprint the order of service because the decision was made so late. She decided that she wanted Prince Charles to fill-in for her father. Once she said, he told her he suffered real (ph) health, can't go. I also understand that she never considered having a mother step into that role. It was going to be Charles and Harry is delighted.

COOPER: But her mother Doria Ragland who arrived here several days ago has already now met with the Queen , her father has not yet.

FOSTER: Yes, imagine (ph), in the castle. I can see.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: But she is going to be in the car, in the vehicle driving with her.

FOSTER: Yes, she'll drive with Meghan to the castle. Doria will get out of the car. Excuse me, that's my --

COOPER: Your phone is ringing.

FOSTER: I'm so sorry, that's so unprofessional, but that's the palace.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Of the palace, well, why don't you take that call?

FOSTER: It's only the palace. My wife was that number.

COOPER: I love that you're special intelligence for the palace.

FOSTER: My wife is going to be so angry with me, so.

COOPER: That's very funny.

FOSTER: Well, just to say, you're going to have Doria get out of the car and then Meghan is going to travel with a couple pageboys to the church on her own which is in the castle.

COOPER: We're here with Victor -- yes, check what they said Victoria Arbiter, a Royal commentator is here as well. We're already starting to see some guests arrive. How unusual is this situation in terms of Meghan walking down the aisle, the beginning of the aisle by herself in the nave? VICTORIA ARBITER, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: It's completely unprecedented Anderson. I mean this really -- this is a whole wedding at firsts (ph). And then normally you can't tell the time by what the Royals do because they're so regimented than everything in terms of how it unfolds, how it's choreographed. But this very much got Harry and Meghan's seal stamped all over it.

And so, I think for me thinking about that walk, it seems like quite a long walk to take alone, but as Max pointed out, she's going to be corralling all these children. It'll be our sort of first glimpse of Meghan perhaps at the moment in the future.

FOX: One of the crucial members of the arrangement, this Prince Harry's private secretary Ed Lane Fox who's currently making his way to the service. He's been crucial in organizing all of this. He's had an immensely difficult time in the last few months and he's leaving the job after the wedding.

COOPER: He's been exhausted. Joe Zee, our celebrity stylist is with us as well. You know Meghan Markle? Did this decision by her which as Victoria say is unprecedent (ph) to walk by unescorted through the nave, what do you think that says about Meghan?

JOE ZEE, FASHION STYLIST: You know, the Meghan that I know has always been very independent. And she's very confident the way that she is -- I can see why she always had the decision to walk that first part alone and to have her father and now Prince Charles join her halfway through.

And I don't think it's necessarily a political statement, but really just a sign of her personality. And I think you've seen that in even these few outings with Harry and Meghan, that she really is a sort of she isn't going just to stand back there and not say anything. She's going to have the voice that she has.

[04:10:09] COOPER: And Bonnie Greer is with us as well, Cultural Commentator. As you imagine -- as you are going to watch Meghan Markle walking down that aisle, what is -- for you what is standing out today?

BONNIE GREER, CULTURAL COMMENTATOR: Well, there's so many things. I mean, first of all her ancestry for me as an African-American is very touching. It's a moving thing. And also to learn today, that she becomes the first Duchess of Sussex, and this man back in the 19th century was actually a person who championed the abolition of slavery.

So, the Queen has nailed this perfectly. And it allows Meghan to actually have a platform by which she can move naturally out of that platform as an American woman, as new British citizen eventually and as new Duchess, the only and of course Duchess Sussex. So, it's point on.

CAMEROTA: And I think bringing this decision on (ph).

GREER: It was. COOPER: Yes, yes, Victoria if you could just explain. How is it decided what title that they're going to be called? The Duke and Duchess.

ARBITER: Well, this one has been the one predicted almost from day one, probably the worst kept secret. It's just sort of a little pull of Dukedoms that are available at any given time, but this one really is great because there are so many positive connotations. As Bonnie pointed out, Meghan will be the first Duchess of Sussex.

The previous Duke has only been one Duke of Sussex. He was married twice, but neither of these (ph) wives was considered appropriate. Marriages were annulled, they were considered illegal. But, yes, he fought for the abolition of slavery. He was considered very liberal minded and progressive for his time. He was Queen Victoria's favorite uncle and --

COOPER: You don't think it's a coincidence that the Queen has picked this title?

ARBITER: You know what, maybe to a married together because nothing within the role of family happens by chance, nothing. It's all need to be choreographed.

COOPER: There's a lot of thought and a lot of symbolism.

ARBITER: There's a lot of thought, a lot of symbolism. And the fact that it was available, it was just a go to. I think that's why it was picked from day one.

COOPER: There's certainly a lot ahead and you can see the crowd just starting to gather, the guests are starting to arrive. 600 guests, invited guests will be inside, several -- more than 1,000 more outside.

Still ahead, the big reveal, Meghan Markle's wedding gown, will she break royal traditions? We'll try to figure out who the designer of the dress will be. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:15:59] CAMEROTA: Thank you for joining us from around the world. You're looking at live pictures of Windsor Castle. This, of course, is the stuff of fairy tales. What's happening today, an American marrying Prince Harry in this beautiful setting and the heavens have shined down on Windsor. It is a beautiful sunny blue skied day here.

So, let's take a look at what's happening as the Royal wedding gets underway. This hour, invited members of the public are gathering on the grounds. You may call them commoners of course here, but they are anything but common. These are people connected to philanthropy and to charities. And here are all the people that have just been lining the streets for hours. Some people camped out here. We saw tents over the past couple of days, everyone hoping to get a glimpse of the new Royal couple. And in the next hour, celebrity and other VIP guests will begin arriving and making their way to the chapel. And of course, we will show you all of them as they arrive.

So meanwhile, let's talk the most important question of the day, the dress and the fashion. And what we are expecting today, I turn to my Kates, Kate Bennett and Kate Williams who are here as my fashionista's.

So, Kate, the big, you know, $100,000 -- million dollar question is who will Meghan be wearing? What's your money on?

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I keep feeling strongly and I could be wrong here, but I keep feeling Stella McCartney. Because Stella McCartney has this environmentally correct eco-sensitive messaging to her designs. She doesn't use animal products, et cetera. So, I feel like that --

CAMEROTA: And that's (ph) the British-American line as well.

BENNETT: Exactly, exactly. So, part of me feels that we could see an Emilia Wickstead who's a sort of a smaller British designer, sort of an emerging designer. Of course there's Ralph and Russo who did the engagement gown. But my money is more on someone -- we have his name, we haven't heard a lot yet.

CAMEROTA: That's interesting. Kate Williams.

KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: And Stella dressed Meghan for the Queen's 92nd birthday party in the blue cape dress that looked marvelous. So, I am so excited about the dress. I think it's going to be a modern fairy tale, something classic but with a fairy tale, modern twist. And I think there's going to be lot of embroidery on it. I think the Queen loves embroidery.

Did you know that on the Queen's dress, they embroidered a lucky shamrock for her to hold for some good luck during her wedding? So, the Queen of course has expected the dress, the Queen looks at the dress --

BENNETT: She's seen it. So, the Queen has seen the dress. But Prince Harry has not known the dress.

WILLIAMS: No. So I cannot wait for the moment when Prince Harry sees her in her wedding dress. It's amazing and we need to take with it.

CAMEROTA: And the Queen had to approve the dress.

WILLIAMS: The Queen had to approve the dress this week. So, if she hadn't have liked it, it would have been a bit late to be (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's no back up.

WILLIAMS: But there usually is a spare one. They probably had (ph) a spare one. There usually have spare a one.

(CROSSTALK)

CAMEROTA: OK. Just hold on, yes, (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I just say that my view as a quite English person is I don't need to be too fussy. I was really disappointed with Princess Diana's dress. I thought it look like a so big turquoise with raffles and layers. And I think she's a gorgeously beautiful woman. She's got a fantastic figure. She's even lost weight, so she's slimmer than ever. And something that reflects her elegance and style that is simple.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Less is more. I think less is more.

BENNETT: She can't do the Kate Middleton --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But Kate was late.

BENNETT: With a sleeve and the waist. I mean I think she has to go with something different.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. So, Kate was full of lace.

BENNETT: That's true.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She can just have something more beautifully, exquisitely cut.

CAMEROTA: Richard, your thoughts on this.

QUEST: I wish I'm also (INAUDIBLE) with this particular point. However, I think we put to of engaging on dress, this would be a very short broadcast. But I'm very impressed of the way in which they've managed to keep it secret, right.

You know, they go through that -- I remember what took in with Diana's dress. Oh my god (ph), they go through the rubbish to trash to garbage, they go through every little bit of scrap they can find. They look for packages and all sorts of things.

CAMEROTA: Yes, that is a loss.

QUEST: And we've seen some of these clues, but we don't know. And it (ph) -- you know what they say, those who know don't speak and those who speak don't know. And we really have examples of that over this dress.

[04:20:07] When it arrives, what it looks like, I shall leave it to my betters to a couple of things (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And previously also she's got a very long train with so many very young children. Because they can just step on it, it's going to be awkward. WILLIAMS: When you speak to Princess Diana's bridesmaid, Cleme Hambro, the youngest one, he was five. All she was told pretty much was don't step on the train. So she was very (INAUDIBLE), but I think we probably will see something more of some tight, some more body conscious skirt. She said in a Magazine article that Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy was her wedding goal before she married Prince Harry.

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: And that's very cut -- the bias cuts. So I think a very simple but embroidery I think is going to be transcended as well.

CAMEROTA: And then the jewelry of course, the tiara, speak to that. And if she goes simple, you could -- she did something spectacular on top of that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: Which member of the Royal Family -- which female member the Queen or whatever, will have given her which pieces to wear, the borrowed piece.

CAMEROTA: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Diana -- it will be from Diana because Harry so wants his mother to be part of this service.

CAMEROTA: Hold those thoughts, we want to go to CNN's Bianca Nobilo who is outside of the place where Meghan is staying. She has some breaking news, some developments for us, Bianca.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST: Alisyn, I do, I have a big scoop for you. And just to your point that you were making about the closely guarded secrets that is this wedding dress. I learned from staff here at Clifton House, the beautiful place that Meghan was staying before her wedding, and they told me that they have a specially constructed protocol just ensure that when Meghan leaves Clifton House, nobody with catch a glimpse of that dress until -- and I have a little clue here about when we're going to get the first glimpses of that beautiful gown.

She comes down this long path behind me, the drive way and we know now that she will be in a burgundy Rolls-Royce, one of the Queen's car, we just learned that from people here onsite. And that car, Alisyn, has large windows which will enable us to see the top portion of the dress and possibly the tiara that Meghan is going to be wearing.

So that's just in. We're expecting to see that in about two hours time, a little under, so Meghan will be driving pass exactly where I am now and we'll be able to catch the very first glimpses of that wedding gown.

CAMEROTA: Bianca, that is indeed a fabulous scoop that you have. Now, is this an open top car, as you know, a convertible as we say, or you'll just have to look through the windows?

NOBILO: As far as we can tell, it isn't. It's going to have large windows. Yes, it will be a Rolls-Royce exactly. It will be -- have large windows which will enable us to look in.

QUEST: It's one of the royal collections, a large Rolls-Royce. Just on the back of the car has basically been cut off and put as -- a massive windows. And it was specifically designed of course for her majesty for when she is on tour and (INAUDIBLE) basis, so that she can't be seen. Remember, the whole goal when the Queen is out and about is for her public to see her.

CAMEROTA: Of course.

QUEST: And this car when you see it, it's got complete glass roof sides.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

QUEST: You'll see it'd be a great view of that.

CAMEROTA: You know, I just want to say one thing back to fashion for a second. I'm broiling in this coat, but I had it on because it is my ode to Meghan Markle's cream wrapped coat that she wore to announce her --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is an ode --

BENNETT: It's lovely.

WILLIAMS: And of course Jessica Mulroney was so crucial behind that coat. She's got three bridesmaids there, but Meghan's best friends, we do expect she's had a hand in the bridal dress. She's a bridal stylist. So, I've been looking on her Instagram for clues, but she's been very tight lipped.

But I do think that there is going to be a high society designer here. It can't be a very small designer. Their website would collapse. It'd be too stressful. I think we might see Stella or Erdem possibly. I think Murray because she wore Renee Murray (ph) last night, he's out.

But I'm hoping to see a little bit of a tribute to Diana. Perhaps Diana actually has a little bit -- we have something borrowed, something blue. She had something blue ribbon in her dress so to speak.

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: But I'm hoping we might see a little bit of maybe Diana's dress, some fabric in the dress to evoke and her beauty and legacy.

BENNETT: I would say that Melania Trump and Meghan Markle have brought back the coat.

CAMEROTA: And this is why I got this coat. (CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And all the things that she's worn have been standing out within ten minutes or so.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean she is --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It just goes.

(CROSSTALK)

CAMEROTA: She is an icon for short.

BENNETT: The ripped jeans she wore, the mother jean she wore. The first time we get star (ph) with Prince Harry in Canada last fall sold out like that. (INAUDIBLE) just ripped jeans.

(CROSSTALK)

CAMEROTA: Hold your thoughts.

QUEST: Hold on, hold on.

(CROSSTALK)

CAMEROTA: You know what, we do need to find out about his beard (ph) whether he's keeping it. But hold that thoughts, hold that thoughts because still ahead the stars come out to honor Meghan and Harry who will be the biggest name to show up, the celebrity guests will be arriving soon and we will bring it to you live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:29:12] COOPER: And welcome back. It is a gloriously beautiful day here in Windsor. As you see, thousands of people lining the long walk, that long road to Windsor Castle to St. George's Chapel where the wedding will be taking place. It is a jam-packed day for the Royals and for their guests. Their guest are already starting to arrive.

In the next hour, we could see the likes of George Amal Clooney. Some people have talked about that, Elton John and his husband. The celebrities begin arriving.

Royal Family members will start showing up in the chapel about an hour later. But, of course, person who will not be here today is Meghan Markle's father Thomas Markle who lives in Mexico. Leyla Santiago is in the town where he lives. Leyla has there been any sign of him, any indication from him today or in the last several days?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, all of that remains a bit of a mystery rather, Anderson. I spoke with a friend of his who tells me that he is recovering well. But, he's a very private person.

[04:30:00] A lot of people in Rosarito Beach where we are right now tell us that they know of him but very few have actually spoken to him and certainly in the last week or so. Despite the fact that there's a lot of paparazzi here. Now he has been speaking to TMZ. At the last part where he was quoted -- last I knew he was quoted rather he says the he will be watching from a secluded place and definitely mentioned hopefully without any press.

Whether that -- whether or not that will happen we -- we don't know because it's so mysterious. There's been such back and forth. First he was going to the wedding, then he wasn't. It became a medical issue and we really have not heard from him since. He lives in a gated community. One that is very well aware that he lives there. But again, he keeps himself. It's been sort of magnified who he is given again the back and forth of -- of whether he will go, whether he will not go. Who will walk Meghan down the aisle? But we know that he will be watching according to TMZ as he was quoted from a secluded place hopefully with no press.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: All right. Leyla Santiago in Rosarito, Mexico. Thanks very much. Back now with the panel. I mean, it is an extraordinary day when you think just the history of the monarchy. An American woman entering -- joining the monarchy. She's biracial. She -- she's been -- she's been divorced. She was married once before. I mean, this is something that we've never seen before.

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No. And I think the Queen to her credit, you know, she is very in touch with society and she wants the monarchy to remain relevant in society. And she realizes that society's ready for Meghan but Meghan's really going to help the royal family and the monarchy as well. And all those things, you know, I think we focus actually too much, I don't know if you agree, but on whether or not she's divorced, whether she's biracial all these things.

I think all those things do comment her to more people and make her more of a fairytale. I mean this is a L.A. girl from a broken home who had a successful career crucially and then is going to marry a prince. It's the ultimate fairytale and much more so I think than Kate or Diana because more people can relate --

BONNIE GREER, CNN CULTURAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. I agree with Max. I mean, actually Harry and Meghan look like Britain. I mean, we get an image in the United States of this sort of Downtown Abby -- look this is the image, that castle. That's not what the United Kingdom looks like. The United Kingdom looks like them. Not in their literal circumstances but in them as a couple so she's perfectly placed to take as Max says this royal family into the 21st century. In a country that's very troubled right now. So it -- she'll be perfect for that.

COOPER: But it's not -- it's not going to be easy. I mean, for -- for an American --

GREER: No.

COOPER: -- for an outsider to -- who doesn't have the experience of being grown up in a royal family.

GREER: Well -- well for an American in particular, I mean, you know the saying that we Americans and the British are two people separated by common language. And you know, suddenly you find yourself in a situation where you think what's going on and you deeply don't. So she will actually -- this will hit her at some point. And it's quite the stabilizer.

COOPER: Well if it hasn't already. I mean, there's a -- just to get the learning curve to get to this point for Meghan Markle has been severe.

VICTORIA ARBITER, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: It has been but she's embraced it. Before her wedding, Kate only did four engagements around the country. Now of course she's from the UK, she understood the UK. Meghan said very early on she wants to get around and visit as much as the UK as possible post engagement. But she did receptions. She did church services. She did commemorations. She did a little bit of everything and really got a sense of what it meant to be a royal.

Now that still cannot prepare you for real life within the monarchy but I think actually the fact that she's that little bit older. She's been independently successful. She was doing charitable work of her own back before and she comes highly educated. This is a woman who's very comfortable in herself and we've seen on these engagements that while she wants to respect the way the royal family does it. She's going to do it her way.

COOPER: Graduate of Northwestern University. Joe Zee, one of the things that -- that really struck me is that just the small amount of time that they had a couple before they became publicly known as a couple. It was really only about a five month period that nobody knew --

JOE ZEE, FASHION EXPERT: It was a five month period where they were actually living across the pond from each other. So she had to -- she -- they had a date here in London and then she had to go right back to --

COOPER: They had -- they had back to back -- they had a date and then a date the next day.

ZEE: A date the next day. The first date at (inaudible) House here and then a date the next day. She flew back to put on a film suit and then he made time to go see her there. But during that time before it really broke public, very few people knew but they also spent very little time. I mean, they probably jumped back and forth between the two countries in a matter of a couple of weeks.

COOPER: Well their third date actually was a trip to Botswana that -- that Harry had -- had planned. They decided -- he invited her. He said it was sort of a big leap of faith. You know, it was literally the third -- the third time he had ever seen her.

MAX FOSTER: Well Botswana is a very -- he's -- he's got a particular relationship with Botswana. He isn't hounded by -- there's a law effectively that's been put into place --

[04:35:15] FOSTER: -- for him there where the media are not allowed to hound him. He can be completely himself. He took her there and so Joe's right. You know, they -- they didn't know each other that well. They weren't with each other that often. But they had these moments of quality time. I mean, that was I think the really crucial time getting to know each other in Botswana.

COOPER: You get a sense of --

ARBITER: Who doesn't fall in love under the stars in Botswana? I mean, it's just that he said -- he said in his engagement interview that it was a place where they really got to know each other. Because as Max said, you're undisturbed.

COOPER: Well also the importance of Botswana really began for him after the death of Princess Diana. That several days after she died he actually went to Botswana as a child.

BONNIE GREER: His father took him there.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: That was really, sort of, the beginning of a love affair with the country. And you get a sense of just how important it is to him in the engagement ring that he gave -- that he gave to Meghan Markle. There's a stone, the center stone. There's three stones. The center one is sourced from Botswana.

FOSTER: The other two are from Diana's collection and you're going to see moments of Diana. Already today, the only glitz you have inside the church was certainly a picture that Kensington Palace sent out which is the floral arrangements. Everything comes from this area. Apart from the -- the pink -- the white roses which were Diana's favorite flower, you're going to have one of her hymns. There's all sorts of --

COOPER: As we're watching more guests arrive, I'm always fascinated by the fascinator hats. But -- you know, you were talking about the -- we were talking about the engagement ring. We'll talk about the wedding ring coming up, about the tradition of Welsh gold and going to --

(CROSSTALK)

FOSTER: And we're waiting for that announcement actually. We're going to get that any minute.

COOPER: We're going to take a short break. Coming up Meghan Markle plans to make a statement with her walk down the aisle. There's never been anything like it at a Royal Wedding. We'll see it live ahead.

[04:36:52] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:41:06] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We are looking at live pictures of all the arrivals here. The VIP arrivals here is Princess Diana's brother.

KATE WILLIAMS, CNN HISTORIAN COMMENTATOR: The great historian there. Great historian Charles the First of course is buried in St. George's Chapel and that Charles (inaudible) carrying the Canadian charity worker.

KATE BENNETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She has a stunning.

(CROSSTALK)

CAMEROTA: And that is a great hat.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN COMMENTATOR: Fascinating. You know, evening here. Young (inaudible). We think back to his speech or his address during Diana's funeral. We your blood family will protect you so that your life is not one of just royal duty and tradition. Well how he must be thinking now as he looks and he realizes that his nephew has gone and chosen a wife very different from the royal -- with the royal mold.

CAMEROTA: And of course he just personifies the -- the fact that Diana is here. She's everywhere during this ceremony. There are all sorts of signs of here. We are awaiting Oprah's arrival. OK, everyone.

WILLIAMS: Harry and William aren't so close to him at all anymore.

CAMEROTA: There's Idris Elba is here obviously. One of our celebrity arrivals. Idris Elba you just saw walk through the flowers.

(CROSSTALK)

CAMEROTA: Oprah. Was that Oprah? We just saw. Did we just see Oprah?

QUEST: No. We're going to see more

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: We're going to see them walking down.

(CROSSTALK)

CAMEROTA: We're going to see Oprah from the inside now as soon as we can.

(BENNETT): And George Clooney's supposed to be going.

(CROSSTALK)

CAMEROTA: Stand by everyone because we are looking ahead to some of the key wedding moments about two hours from now. Prince Harry will arrive at the chapel along with his best man who of course is his brother Prince William. Harry's father, Prince Charles will get there just a few minutes later with his wife Camilla. Here is Oprah. Look at Oprah. She's inside. She's wearing a beautiful hat. A beautiful, it looks like lilac. KATE BENNETT: She went full hat too, not fascinator.

KATE WILLIAMS: (inaudible) blur or course. The British colors. Now I've heard that (inaudible) is planning possibly an interview with Oprah. And that could be a real -- telling all about race and discrimination. That will be a bombshell moment and I do think Oprah would be a wonderful interviewer.

(CROSSTALK)

CAMEROTA: Just let me get to Clarissa Ward for a moment because she is outside of the chapel watching all the VIP and celebrity arrivals. Clarissa.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right Alisyn. It's certainly starting to get very exciting indeed. There's still more than two hours until the service begins but already we're starting to see some of those 600 guests who will be inside the chapel. They are arriving. They arrived apparently in -- in clusters presumably the arrival stagger for security reasons. We know that those guests are being bussed to the top of the hill before being allowed to walk in. I'm actually going to step outside of the shot so you can just see them entering there through that archway. That stunning floral. Back to you Alisyn. You've got some more information there going.

CAMEROTA: Thank you Clarissa. We're just watching Oprah's arrival. Richard, where is she right now?

RICHARD QUEST: She's in the knave. It's part of St. George's Chapel. You enter through, they're actually coming through the porch entrance, the galleria porch entrance (inaudible) guests. But -- the -- the knave is the main part and the largest part of the chapel and you go from the knave up the stairs, the west steps passed under the west window, through the knave and then you go into the quire. Which is the much more intimate part of St. George's.

CAMEROTA: The quire.

QUEST: The quire. The q-u-I-r-e. That's where in fact we'd know that Prince Charles will join Meghan on her walk down the aisle.

QUEST: She walks down the knave, which is where Oprah and others are. She gets to the knave -- this -- the middle bench. Charles joins her. He walks up to the alter with her. But he does not give her away. As she approaches Prince Harry, who will be waiting there with Prince William the best man. Charles will then withdraw and will rejoin Camilla and the rest of the royal family.

KATE WILLIAMS: I think that's very modern. I don't think women now days want to give themselves away because it seems to empower men too much.

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: You want to join the man.

CAMEROTA: The man give you away.

WILLIAMS: Yes. You want to join the man. You're doing it --

[04:45:14] WILLIAMS: -- of your free will and in an independent and equal way.

KATE BENNETT: And Diana I think was the first one to take obey out of the --

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: Obey as well.

BENNETT: Out of the vows.

CAMEROTA: So she was the first one to, you know, take that word out of there.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. She was very (inaudible) wasn't she? 150 people can sit there. And that's where you get the best view because actually the view in the knave is not always that good. There's a gigantic (inaudible) screen that does block you so you want to be in the quire which where all the royal family are. And where we're going to see the moment of Charles walking Meghan to the -- to the alter. And -- and Harry seeing her for the first time which is just going to be so thrilling.

CAMEROTA: So it's very exciting that Oprah is there as she walks out of the screen there. It's like been closely guarded who's on the guest list. We just don't know which is why we're all sort of waiting with baited breath to see which VIP's and which celebrities will be arriving.

BENNETT: I love the idea of George and Amal Clooney and it's not because of George Clooney it's because of Amal. Because she told her who her hairdresser should be when Meghan moved to London to be with Harry. Amal said the thing that all girlfriends need to tell each other is who's good to do my hair.

(CROSSTALK)

BENNETT: And it was Amal Clooney who has amazing hair and that's how they became friends.

CAMEROTA: OK. Then they are getting an invitation.

(CROSSTALK)

CAMEROTA: Critical component.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Victoria Beckham. We expect to see Serena Williams with the baby and it really is so wonderful to see all their friends and family arriving. It's such an exciting moment.

BENNETT: It feels so much more intimate too. I mean, the -- the number of guests, 600 guests is remarkably smaller than Kate and William had. They had something like 1,900 guests. So this is really feels very intimate. And the reception this evening is only for 200 people which is --

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: They want to respect themselves and their interests and what they like and who they like. And now he's sixth in line to the throne. It doesn't matter. If it were first or second it would be --

CAMEROTA: Hold those thoughts if you would because coming up we are going to see more celebrities as they head into the chapel. We just saw Oprah. Who will be next? We're there watching the stars and the fashions when we come right back.

[04:47:20] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:51:25] ANDERSON COOPER: Invited guests are arriving. Here's another look at the official wedding schedule for -- for today. There's a lot to get to. Meghan Markle's mother, Doria Ragland arrives at the chapel about 15 minutes before the ceremony is due to start. Queen Elizabeth will arrive next. The last person to enter the chapel before the bride and as we're seeing Max Foster, we've been seeing a lot of guests. We just saw singer James Blunt.

MAX FOSTER: Yes and he's just there.

(CROSSTALK)

FOSTER: -- favor. He's a very good friend of Prince Harry. We see the Spencer clan starting to arrive. Sir Charles Spencer, Harry desperately seeing that all the Spencer's are represented.

COOPER: Charles Spencer is Diana's brother.

FOSTER: Absolutely.

COOPER: And as a -- as a Richard Quest was saying famously spoke. In a -- in a sort of an admonishing way during Diana's funeral.

FOSTER: Yes. And the Queen famously didn't clap. There is some tension between the families. But this is all about unity. And I think it's -- it's very highly likely you're going to see Sarah Ferguson turning up today as well who wasn't invited to William's wedding. This is Harry saying we're taking a new step forward. Sarah Ferguson's invited and very close to her daughters. That's going to happen. James Blunt there.

COOPER: James Blunt also served in the military as did Harry had a 10 year career in the military. Bonnie, it was exciting to see Oprah Winfrey. You kept saying --

BONNIE GREER: I kept yelling that somebody is wearing a proper church hat. Oprah -- Oprah -- I'm from the south side of Chicago and that is a proper church hat.

FOSTER: Or the coolest man in Britain.

GREER: Britain. There he is.

(CROSSTALK)

GREER: That's a church hat. No fascinators on Miss Oprah. She looked absolutely fabulous. Everybody must be screaming in Chicago because that is the hat she wears. She's -- she's giving tribute. It's wonderful.

VICTORIA ARBITER: And nice to see Idris Elba included, of course as we will talking about in the break, he got his start thanks to the Prince's trust which is run by Prince Charles. He started it on his Navy pension over 40 years ago. And Harry and Meghan's first engagement as a married couple on Tuesday is a garden party marking Charles' 70th birthday but all his patronages including the Prince's Trust. So lovely that Idris Elba gets to be there in a way of gratitude back to the establishment today.

FOSTER: We could play some soft spots in with the viewers. You need -- these are the people you need to look out for. We know they're coming. Serena Williams, George and Amal Clooney, Grant Cachopra (ph), Elton John and the Beckhams, what would a royal wedding be.

ARBITER: Without the Beckhams. That's right.

(CROSSTALK)

FOSTER: Famously David Beckham at William's wedding had a medal (inaudible) right, the wrong side. The fashion guy, hung it on the wrong side. So if it hangs on the right side --

GREER: And everyone knows you don't do that. How could he do that?

ARBITER: He switched it over in the Abby.

GREER: How could he do that?

FOSTER: I don't know. Well -- he won't do it today. The big story in the papers the next day apart from the Princess's fascinators. You'll remember that.

COOPER: But Elton John, it will be interesting to see him, his husband David Furnish as well. I mean, he was obviously was a close friend to Princess Diana. You know, of course, sang at -- at her funeral and has continued to have a relationship with Prince Harry. Both working on HIV.

FOSTER: Well that was though what connected Diana and Elton and Harry has picked up many of Diana's causes deliberately to keep her memory alive. And that's one of the key ones and he's worked very closely with Elton John. They've been in videos, presentations recently together. And you know, Sentebale is a charity that's going to be represented there which is set up by Harry for AIDS -- the children -- orphans with AIDS in Africa. And Sentebale means forget me not. It's all about Diana.

COOPER: That's a charity sent up with the Prince in Lesotho.

FOSTER: Yes. He'll be there as well Prince Seeiso.

JOE ZEE: And Elton also cancelled two concert dates this weekend to be here at the wedding. He is rumored to perform tonight as well.

FOSTER: Yes. Serena Williams is about to be arrived.

ARBITER: I believe the little boy is a little orphan boy (inaudible) --

[04:55:14] ARBITER: -- that Harry met many years ago and they formed a close bond right away. They were cuddling and kicking a football around. He's also traveled all the way from Lesotho to be here.

COOPER: The other thing that's interesting about David Beckham and -- and Victoria Beckham, obviously she was in -- in the Spice -- Spice Girls.

FOSTER: They're not coming. She is.

COOPER: But she actually -- I was reading when -- when Harry went to Africa for the first time his father took him to see the Spice Girls perform. I think it was Pretoria or Johannesburg, got to meet them afterward. And this was shortly after the death of Princess Diana after the death of his mother. He said it was the happiest day of his life.

FOSTER: Yes. You know, they're the Spice Girls.

(CROSSTALK)

ARBITER: I think Diana arranged the supermodel Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell to be waiting at home to greet William home from boarding school. So then dad sets up the Spice Girls.

ZEE: You get special privileges.

FOSTER: Sarah McCorkindale has turned up as well. She's not in that shot. She is one of Diana's sisters. Not the one giving the speech.

COOPER: And again, these are among the 600 invited guests who are going to be actually inside St. George's Chapel.

FOSTER: They will but they won't be able to see anything because they're in the knave and that's the bulk of the church. And there's this big screen that separates the quire which is where the service will take place which is largely choir actually, singing choir and the royals and close --

(CROSSTALK)

FOSTER: The Middletons I presumably I don't know if the Middletons. BONNIE GREER: Can I ask a question? Particularly of Max. It seems to me that as much as it's possible to be. This is more of a family wedding than William and Katherine's which would have been a semi- state occasion. And this you have the -- the sense of these are their friends. People they want there. There's some obligatory people there but not a lot of that there.

FOSTER: I don't think there's any obligatory as I understand it they entirely put the list together themselves. And they were allowed to because he's not in the direct -- direct line of succession and it's very Harry as well isn't it?

GREER: Yes, it's very much. And that's what it feels like people. Just people are there.

COOPER: I understand that when they leave the chapel among the people outside who were invited who will be there are a number of people who represent charities that -- that both the couple work with.

FOSTER: Two hundred will be invited into the -- that area at the bottom of the steps. And they -- what you'll see which is interesting and really symbolic, is they're going to come down the steps and the first people they want to meet are members of their charities and campaigns. Because that's the message I want to talk about. I mean, they're not going on a honeymoon. They're going to go to a public engagement. You know, this is Meghan saying I'm really serious about this royal --

COOPER: But they are going to have a honeymoon but it's just not going to be for -- for a while.

FOSTER: Yes.

GREER: And we won't know about it.

FOSTER: I get your point with that. And also it's one of Prince Charles' events. They're really involving Prince Charles. Just over the last year with Diana's anniversary, they're accused of leaving Prince Charles out.

COOPER: We don't know where the honeymoon is obviously they're third date was Botswana on a five day trip. They also then went to Botswana a year later or so. So it's a good bet that they may go to Africa somewhere.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: (inaudible) it's an amazing beautiful country.

FOSTER: It's what of Angelina Jolie on issues of conservation in Namibia. Well she's one of the -- she's speculated to come by.

COOPER: Well in fact Angelina Jolie actually spent a lot of time in -- in Namibia I think after the birth of her first child if I'm not mistaken.

FOSTER: And she recently did a documentary with the Queen.

ZEE: And Meghan did a lot of charity work in Africa as well pre- Harry.

(CROSSTALK)

ZEE: As well as the country. So, I think that's probably the top of the running.

GREER: I think the most stunning thing is that Meghan made an announcement in her own voice, not coming through the palace. It did but it was her directly speaking. Generally it would be either the crown or someone from that, she made the statement herself and the fact that she was allowed to do that gives us some idea of how this is going to proceed.

COOPER: It was also an extraordinary statement that Prince Harry had the -- the palace release shortly after their -- their relationship was announced essentially pushing back on some of the -- the -- the media coverage that had taken place.

GREER: Exactly.

FOSTER: It was two things. It was Meghan was being really hassled in Toronto with the photographers. I think one of the actually got into the house.

GREER: Yes.

FOSTER: Shocking, but there was also an article specifically written by the Foreign Secretary's sister, Rachel Johnson where she used the word exotic. I'll only speak to this. But that was what really tipped them over the edge. And I got the statement and it wasn't -- it was in the name of the Press Secretary but they were the Secretary's words. They were her --

GREER: Well the thing that she's going to have to get used to and it -- and it's very different here is that there is a very, let's say, scurrilous and vigorous tabloid press. And what they do particularly is actually find these little niches and notches so you get a subtext all the time.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: -- describing her as straight out of Compton.

GREER: Straight out of Compton, which everybody knew what that meant. It's (inaudible). So it's going to be interesting to watch this woman from America actually navigate that because that will be her greatest challenge.

COOPER: Let's go back to Alisyn as we continue to watch the invited guests arrived.

ALISYN CAMEROTA: Anderson we have been watching with baited breath here all the celebrity arrivals. And -- [05:00:15]