upper waypoint

I Stayed Up All Night to Watch the Royal Wedding (So You Wouldn't Have To)

Save ArticleSave Article
Failed to save article

Please try again

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stand at the altar during their wedding in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Jonathan Brady - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

"Are you going to watch the royal wedding?" my mum in Wales asked via Skype last week.

"I don't bloody think so," I replied. "You know that's happening at about 4am my time, right?"

"Oh, Christ," my dad interjected, "don't bother with that nonsense..."

And yet here I am, in on a Friday night, waiting to watch two people I've never met, Meghan and Harry, tie the knot. One is an American actress whose TV show I've never seen, and the other is an Englishman whose entire family I consider an outdated specter of a draconian class system that should have been abandoned at least a century ago. Interest in this event was very low amongst my American friends (for obvious reasons), so I am doing this with only CNN and a bottle of Jameson for company. Wish me luck.

Midnight: Not sure why this is relevant in the context, but British news guy on CNN has just informed us that Meghan Markle is a feminist.


12:01am: News just in! Serena Williams is going to attend! My level of interest in this event just did this:

12:14am: Breaking news! Queen Elizabeth II just "gifted" Harry and Meghan the new titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex. "It was a vacant title," British news guy shrugs, "and there aren't many left." Somewhere, the Queen is doing this:

12:32am: Isha Sesay is interviewing a woman about "headpieces" because all women attending the wedding are required (REQUIRED) to wear hats. "Not fascinators," the hat lady says earnestly, "they want something more substantial." Presumably, these will be fine then:

Royal fans arrive on the Long Walk leading to Windsor Castle, for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/ AFP/ Getty Images)

12:41am: Creepily, for the second time in 40 minutes, Harry's mother, Princess Diana, has been referred to as "the first love of Prince Harry's life."

1:06am: Anderson Cooper just told us he's been on site since 3am, British time. If you can do it, I can do it, Anderson, you handsome, optimistic devil.

1:17am: Photos are flooding my Facebook and Instagram feeds of my friends' children on the way to special royal wedding-themed picnics being held at their schools. This sight is not uncommon:

1:28am: "My kids know more about this bloody wedding than I do, because they've been talking about it a lot at school," my UK-based chum, Paul, despairs to me. "At a school just down the road yesterday, there was a full-on wedding with two kids getting married by an actual vicar!" Horrifyingly, this is actually true.

1:32am: My friend Mary brings balance back to the universe with this news about her son: "His nursery totally ignored it, because it's a Welsh language school, and the royals can go f**k themselves."

1:40am: News breaks that Meghan's wedding ring is made of Welsh gold. Sorry, Mary.

1:43am: Hold the goddamn phones because this just happened:

2:05am: The pundits are discussing tiaras. Oh, hey, Jameson! I'm remembering why I bought you! Get over here!

2:23am: American commentator says of the British Royal Family: "This exists as the will of the people." My friend Tom, almost simultaneously, texts me: "If you’re watching or partaking in any of this bulls**t willingly, you’re really what’s killing this country." So there's that.

2:27am: Amal and George Clooney are living, upstaging evidence of why everyone always wants to put bridesmaids in ugly dresses.

2:40am: Joss Stone just arrived. If this was 2003, everyone would be super stoked.

2:42am: CNN is talking about the fact that Henry VIII and Princess Margaret (the cool one from The Crown) are buried in the wedding chapel.

2:46am: Elton John has arrived, and he's hanging out with Posh and Becks. #ActualBritishRoyalty


2:55am: Serena Williams is wearing Versace and is a perfect goddess, but we all knew that already.

3:00am: "The man is a Suits cast member, and the woman is from MTV?" It's possible that the commentators haven't prepared enough.

3:03am: British commentator says that later on, there'll be "a bit of knees up." (Which means "party" in British slang.) Anderson Cooper is visibly taken aback and asks if that means something "racy." Anderson has been awake too long now, and I sympathize whole-heartedly.

3:17am: My angry British Facebook feed continues, unabated.

3:33am: Harry and William just showed up, dressed like this:

Prince Harry (left) walks with his best man, Prince William Duke of Cambridge, as he arrives at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle for his wedding to Meghan Markle, on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Brian Lawless - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The British people respond appropriately on Twitter:

3:42am: It's only just now occurred to me that my sister lives very close to Windsor. I hope traffic isn't too bad for her today because of all this. Thinking about giving her a call. It's possible the Jameson just kicked in.

3:52am: The frilled front of Harry's military uniform reminds me of this:

3:53am: Harry's dad, Prince Charles, just arrived. Although, if you believe British gossip, the dude below might be Harry's biological father. (This is what British people think about when Americans are doing side-by-sides of Ronan Farrow and Frank Sinatra.)

3:57am: Prince Philip has shown up with his wife, Queen Elizabeth II, despite recent health problems... and a renowned affinity for flagrant racism.

4:02am: Meghan Markle is the first bride in Royal British history to walk down the aisle without being "given away." (Like a boss.) Prince Charles walks her part of the way, though.

4:04am: Harry and Meghan are having a lovely chat at the altar, while a soprano does something magnificent with her voice. Whether you hate the royal family or not, it's quite nice.

4:06am: Um. Meghan Markle is marrying some dude named "Henry Charles Albert David." Where the hell is Harry, y'all?

4:11am: Meghan Markle (in minimal make-up, btw) looks very beautiful by anyone's standards, and I appreciate the simplicity of her dress. Nice one, Meg.

4:17am: Oh, dude! African American Episcopal bishop Michael Curry is giving a sermon! (I cannot tell you how incredible this is, as someone who has grown up with the royal family's official ceremonies), and he just talked about Martin Luther King! And slaves! Harry looks nervous, but Meghan looks stoked.

4:24am: Michael Curry is now talking about Gilead (a mountainous region east of the Jordan River) and fire. It is literally impossible to not think about The Handmaid's Tale.

4:33am: THERE IS A GOSPEL CHOIR! PRAISE JESUS! And they're singing Ben E. King's "Stand By Me"! I would put cold hard cash on the fact that this is quietly killing Prince Philip.

4:35am: Meghan Markle is killing it with her vows. I may not be a big fan of the Royals, but I like her a lot. She even physically helps Harry put the ring on it!


May they live happily ever after.

lower waypoint
next waypoint