The moment the Duke of Sussex and his new bride emerged from St George’s Chapel was “so beautiful”, those gathered within the grand surroundings of Windsor Castle said.
Two hundred lucky onlookers, most of them associated with charities close to both Harry and Meghan’s hearts, clapped and cheered as the couple stepped out into the sunshine, smiling at the waiting public just minutes after they became husband and wife.
There was a jolly atmosphere on the small lawn in Horseshoe Cloister, where people laid picnic blankets and enjoyed champagne, opposite the West Door of St George’s Chapel.
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The sun shone throughout the morning, from Harry’s arrival as a single prince to his departure, hand in hand with Meghan, as a duke and husband.
The bridegroom smiled, waved and appeared to point out people he knew in the crowd, just before he made his way up the steps alongside his brother and best man the Duke of Cambridge.
Charities including Sentebale, WellChild and the Invictus Games Foundation were among those represented in Horseshoe Cloister, looking towards the flower-lined steps up to the Chapel.
The arrival of 10 young bridesmaids and pageboys, waving from their cars, prompted exclamations of “aww” from the crowd.
Those turned to gasps when the bride arrived, resplendent in her gown.
Cheers greeted her as she paused briefly at the top of the first flight of steps and turned to wave and smile at those gathered.
As the two eldest pageboys dutifully held the end of the lengthy train while she climbed the steps, one woman was heard to say: “Those boys are so good, aren’t they?”
Imogen Mansfield, of the India-based Myna Mahila charity with which Meghan is involved, said the emergence of the happy couple about an hour later was “so beautiful”.
“And the dress was beautiful, it was amazing,” she added.
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There were shouts of “Congratulations,” followed by a cheeky: “Don’t be shy,” from a former soldier, as he hinted for a second kiss.
Paul Vice, an ex-marine, said Harry, who he has met a number of times, smirked back at him and would have been well aware of the squaddie humour with which the shout was intended.
The 34-year-old from Exeter, a past participant in the Invictus Games, joked: “As soldiers we’ll always give him a little bit of flack, especially now he’s under the ball and chain.”
Becky Ormrod, who was with her former marine husband Mark, from Plymouth, said: “It was absolutely beautiful. She looked stunning, they both did.”
Malineo Motsephe said she believed Harry had pointed out to her and smiled as he entered Horseshoe Cloister, while she did the traditional celebratory African chant, known as ululating.
The 70-year-old grandmother travelled from Lesotho for the wedding, having met Harry a number of times through her work with Sentebale, founded by Harry in 2006 in honour of his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, to help disadvantaged children in the southern African kingdom.
She said the couple are well-matched.
“To me they are a very good match of people who are passionate about helping vulnerable children and adults,” she said.
She added: “I think (inviting us) shows how down to earth he is. They are. Both of them.”
Dylan Bleach, 15, said he was already thinking of the story he can tell his future children and grandchildren about being part of such a historic occasion.
Dylan and his mother Stacey Rowley, from Orpington in Kent, described Harry as “very kind and caring”, having met him previously through their work with WellChild.
The teenager, who has cerebral palsy, said of the invitation: “I can’t put it into words.
“It’s amazing. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I can tell my kids and grandkids that I went to Prince Harry’s wedding.”
Wearing a corgi bow-tie, as a nod to the Queen, Dylan added: “The prince has finally found his princess.”