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Royal wedding: London bathes in sunshine as rest of world watches on

Crowds gather as Royal wedding fever grips

By Victoria O'Hara and Jane Hardy in London

The run-up to any wedding is a combination of nerves, excitement and anticipation. When it's the wedding of the second-in-line to the British throne — or Prince William Arthur Philip Louise Wales — to Kate Middleton, it takes on extra significance.

With 48 hours to go until the big day London was bathed in sunshine and Wills and Kate fever had overtaken the shops and the tourists snapping each other in front of Buckingham Palace.

The capital has become a city bedecked with Union flags everywhere, draped elegantly on flagpoles opposite Buckingham Palace and spread cosily over the facade of the Albert pub near Westminster Abbey. The semaphore message they relayed was happiness and hope.

As Australian tourist, Merv Cunnington, said “It's lovely, with everything burgeoning and such a good mood everywhere.”

At the other end of William and Kate's journey, outside Westminster Abbey, there was an almost palpable sense of excitement in the hot sunshine.

Thousands of tourists flocked to key sites that will play backdrop to the Royal event of a generation.

Hundreds of TV cameras lined the pavements and journalists reported to the world the latest news about the future king and his bride-to-be.

Amid the iconic red double decker buses driving across the city were a high number of police cars, a sign of the heightened security ahead of the wedding. Marshals also took the time to patiently erect 11,000 barriers around Buckingham Palace.

Stalls overflowing with Royal merchandise ranging from party masks of William and Kate to tea-towels and mugs simply wishing the couple “all the best” were proving a hit with tourists.

Shop window after shop window was decorated with red, white and blue bunting. Outside Westminster Abbey some 50 people camped in tents in a bid to catch a good view of the newlyweds.

Among the Royal fans sleeping overnight was Canadian Sheree Zielke who flew to London to be part of the “small community” camping on the pavements.

“I was determined to be up front to get a good view,” she told the Belfast Telegraph.

Meanwhile, Penny Nash from Edgeware said she was bringing her two children to witness “an important moment in history”.

She joked: “It is like a military operation!”

But some tourists are not too fussed by the upcoming wedding.

Francois Mathieu (27) and Laurene Guerin (26) from Lyon, France, found themselves amid a tourist scrum outside the busy wedding venue.

Mr Mathieu said: “We thought we would call to Westminster Abbey just to see what it was like but there are maybe too many people.”

Meanwhile, outside Buckingham Palace preparations were under way for the mass crowds to descend in anticipation of the famous appearance on the balcony.

At the moment London is busier than usual but not uncomfortably so.

The Cunnington family had moved to Australia from the north of England. They mingled among the crowds from all four corners of the globe, and were enjoying their glimpse of history.

Merv's daughters Toni (21) and Amy (18), both born in Australia, said they felt the Prince and Kate were “celebs but a different kind of celebs”. And according to these first generation Australians, history makes the difference.

As Merv showed his daughters their parents' country on their first visit to Britain, three guards on horses trotted perfectly by.

The omens are good, and if Friday is anything like yesterday it will be a lovely day for a Royal wedding.

Belfast Telegraph

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