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Posted: May 18, 2018

The Latest: Windsor Castle sees final prep for royal wedding

The Associated Press

WINDSOR, England —

The Latest on royal wedding preparations (all times local):

9 p.m.

Final preparations were being made inside the walls of Windsor Castle hours ahead of Saturday's royal wedding between Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle.

Florists were busy adding finishing touches to the floral decorations at St. George's Chapel.

A team of five workers was adding boughs of green foliage and white flowers to a voluminous display surrounding the South Door of the chapel. The entrance will be used by guests arriving ahead of the noon ceremony.

The wide open courtyard outside the chapel, known as the Lower Ward, was a hive of activity. Amid the bustle of castle workers, soldiers were carrying kit bags through the Henry VIII Gate into the castle grounds.

Some children of residents of the castle were playing on the clipped lawns, which were bathed in the evening sunshine, as their parents smiled.

___

8 p.m.

Meghan Markle and her mother Doria Ragland have arrived at the exclusive Cliveden House Hotel where they will spend the night before the royal wedding.

Both looked happy and relaxed after Ragland's first meeting with Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, at Windsor Castle. She has now met most of the senior British royals since her arrival from California on Wednesday.

Ragland will ride to St. George's Chapel on the ground of Windsor Castle with Markle on Saturday morning for the ceremony that will officially bring her daughter into the royal family.

Tens of millions of TV viewers around the world are expected to watch at least part of her wedding to Prince Harry.

__

6:10 p.m.

Prince Harry and his best-man brother Prince William have emerged from Windsor Castle to greet some of the thousands of well-wishers who have come to town west of London for the royal wedding.

The 33-year-old groom and his 35-year-old brother shook hands and chatted Friday with some of the royal fans from around the world who have gathered ahead of Saturday's wedding at Windsor Castle.

A smiling Harry gave a thumb's up and answered "Great, thank you" when asked how he was feeling. He also accepted a teddy bear from one well-wisher as he talked with people from Britain, the United States, Canada and elsewhere.

The prince is marrying American actress Meghan Markle on Saturday in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Chapel in front of 600 guests and a huge global television audience.

___

5:45 p.m.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said it's "wonderful" that Prince Charles will walk Meghan Markle down the aisle at her wedding to Prince Harry.

The heir to the throne stepped in after Markle's father was unable to fly to Britain for the ceremony because of poor health.

Welby, who will marry Harry and Markle at Windsor Castle on Saturday, says Charles is "a very warm person and that he's doing this is a sign of his love and concern and support. And I think it's wonderful. It's beautiful."

Saturday's wedding has drawn intense international interest and is expected to be watched by tens of millions of television viewers around the world.

The archbishop said Harry and Markle are "a very self-possessed couple" and the atmosphere in rehearsals has been "relaxed, laughing and enjoyable."

___

3:50 p.m.

The French may have overthrown their own monarchy more than two hundred years ago but for some there remains a fascination for the trappings of the royal experience.

French admirers of the British royal family were getting ready Friday for the wedding between Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle, with shops selling merchandise seeing brisk sales in recent days.

The Franco-British owner of the "British Shop" in Paris' posh 16th district, Chantal Laserre, said customers have been rushing in to get souvenirs to mark the event. Laserre says "there's an interest for this wedding because she is Catholic and she is divorced and she is American. It's a big change in the royal family."

Fresh out of Harry-and-Meghan dish towels, she was frustrated that she didn't order more in advance.

All French news channels and other major television channels TF1, France 2, M6 will broadcast the wedding ceremony live on Saturday.

___

2 p.m.

British police are manning barricades and patrolling the grounds around Windsor Castle as authorities take on the massive security operation for the wedding between Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle.

The barricades are in place to deter attackers using vehicles, such as the one on Westminster Bridge in London last year. Sniffer dogs and mounted patrols are also out and about.

The Thames Valley Police say guests and spectators will be subject to airport-style security scanners and bag searches.

Royal fans are also being asked not to throw confetti, particularly during the procession, for police say "it poses a potential security risk and it's a bit of a pain to clean up!"

Tens of thousands of spectators are expected in the town west of London for the newlyweds' carriage ride route after their wedding Saturday.

___

12:45 p.m.

Royal wedding fans camped outside Windsor Castle have expressed happy surprise that Prince Charles plans to walk Meghan Markle down the aisle during her marriage to Prince Harry.

The fans decked out in the national colors of Britain and the United States had expected Markle's mother, Doria Ragland, to do it.

Roseline Morris, a 35-year-old from Basildon, points out that Charles doesn't have a daughter. "So he's never going to get the chance to walk a daughter down the aisle, so this will be nice for him as well." she says. "I imagine he'll be feeling very proud."

Sylvia Horn, 61, from Nashville, calls the decision "wonderful."

She adds that "I fully approve since Charles is going to be her father-in-law."

___

11 a.m.

Buckingham Palace says the Duke of Edinburgh will attend the royal wedding — just a few weeks after undergoing a hip replacement operation.

The palace confirmed Friday that Prince Philip would attend the wedding Saturday between American actress Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.

The 96-year-old Philip has largely retired from public duties and it had not been clear whether he would be feeling well enough to attend.

Queen Elizabeth II's husband made his first public appearance since the April 13 surgery at the Royal Windsor Horse Show earlier this month.

___

10:05 a.m.

Kensington Palace says Prince Charles will walk Meghan Markle down the aisle at the royal wedding.

The father of groom Prince Harry stepped in after Markle's dad fell ill days before the wedding and was unable to fly to Britain.

Markle appealed for people to give Thomas Markle "the space he needs to focus on his health" amid reports he had had a heart procedure.

The palace said Friday that Markle's future father-in-law, the heir to the British throne, would walk Markle down the aisle at St. George's Chapel in Windsor on Saturday. The palace says he "is pleased to be able to welcome Ms. Markle to the Royal Family in this way."

___

9:55 a.m.

As Queen Elizabeth II prepares to meet Meghan Markle's mother before the actress' wedding to Prince Harry, one commoner who married into the family is offering a bit of advice: Just relax.

Mike Tindall, the former captain of the England rugby team, says the royal family welcomed him with open arms when he married the queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips in 2011.

Tindall told ITV that family members can spot it easily when people are nervous.

He says they will "go straight over and take away all of that tension straight out of the room, and that's what they are amazing at. Then suddenly you're in the family and they welcome you."

Markle's mother, Doria Ragland, is set to meet the queen Friday.

___

9:10 a.m.

The big day is nearly here.

Well-wishers are camped out, deliveries are arriving and a large security operation is in place a day before the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

In a break from the care with which royal events are normally planned, some of the wedding details are still being worked out. Markle has yet to reveal who will accompany her down the aisle, after her father decided not to attend for health reasons.

The bookies suggest Markle's mother may have the honor, but there also been speculation that one of her closest friends, Soho House director Markus Anderson, could step in to replace Thomas Markle, a reclusive former TV lighting director who touched off a scandal after allegedly being caught staging photographs with the paparazzi.


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Steve Parsons/Pool Photo via AP

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Meghan Markle, background and her mother, Doria Ragland, arrive at Cliveden House Hotel, in Berkshire, England, Friday, May 18, 2018 to spend the night before her wedding to Prince Harry on Saturday.

Steve Parsons/Pool Photo via AP

The Latest: Meghan Markle and her mom off to the hotel

Meghan Markle, background and her mother, Doria Ragland, arrive at Cliveden House Hotel, in Berkshire, England, Friday, May 18, 2018 to spend the night before her wedding to Prince Harry on Saturday.

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