Nice gesture by Charles to walk Meghan down the aisle, say royal fans

Royal wedding fans have expressed surprise at the news that the Prince of Wales will walk Meghan Markle down the aisle, rather than her mother.

But wedding-watchers camped outside Windsor Castle in readiness for Saturday's festivities said they felt her soon-to-be father-in-law stepping in was a "nice gesture".

Royal Wedding preparations
Royal Wedding preparations

The announcement from Kensington Palace on Friday morning came with just 24 hours to go until the big day, with final preparations well under way in Windsor.

Well-wishers who have travelled from near and far are now counting down the hours to one of the most eagerly awaited royal weddings ever.

Decked out in the national colours, of both Britain and the United States, royal fans have been in full voice, bursting into song with renditions of I'm Getting Married In The Morning, beneath blue skies and pleasant sunshine.

Royal Wedding preparations
Royal Wedding preparations

Leslie Haynes, from Washington, said: "I was surprised actually. I knew that Prince Charles was in the running.

"I just assumed it would be her mother. But it was Meghan's approval and choice and so we support that, and, as we say, the next King of England is going to walk her down the aisle!"

The 58-year-old, who is camping overnight at a spot opposite the castle, said she was "somewhat" disappointed that Ms Markle's mother, Doria Ragland, would not accompany the bride to the altar.

She added: "But I have to say that it's her choice so we're happy for her. She is going to be the happiest woman in the world tomorrow so how could we be disappointed about that?"

Royal Wedding preparations
Royal Wedding preparations

Margaret Phipps, 25, from Texas, said: "She has such a close relationship with her mum, so I think it is surprising to some people.

"But I think it's a nice gesture. He (Charles) doesn't have a daughter that he'd ever be able to walk down the aisle.

"And it just sort of shows her transition into the royal family.

"She's really becoming a part of that family with him kind of acting as the father figure in situations, so I personally think it's nice."

Royal Wedding preparations
Royal Wedding preparations

Sylvia Horn, 61, from Nashville, said it is "wonderful", adding: "It's usually a gentleman that does it."

"I fully approve since Charles is going to be her father-in-law," she said.

Locals and tourists wandering around Windsor have plenty to observe, with media crews from around the world occupying every available space.

"There's so many cameras," one woman was overheard saying of the huge press and TV presence.

Cafe-goers in the town are able to get a flavour of Harry and Meghan's wedding cake, with one bakery selling lemon and elderflower cupcakes decorated with red, white and blue sprinkles.