Aihnoa Barcelona, a Filipino-Spanish journalist based in London, shares how she covered the royal wedding as HELLO!'s deputy online editor. Ainhoa was our former intern at Town&Country Philippines.
Working for HELLO! magazine’s website means one has a natural interest in the royal family and so it was an absolute privilege and a dream to cover Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding live from Windsor.
Along with our online and print teams, I had been working towards the couple’s big day for six months, ever since their engagement was announced in November. Of course, Saturday, the 19th of May was no different. We covered every single detail and angle of the nuptials, and no story was left untold.
The HELLO! online team was split over the weekend, with half of us working in London and the other half in Windsor. I felt incredibly lucky to be going to Windsor, and more so to be presenting some of our Facebook Lives with HELLO!’s commissioning editor, Alexandra Wilby.
Our wheelie bags packed with day dresses, heels, fascinators, and cue cards, the online team set off Friday from London bound for Windsor. The Brits do pomp and pageantry so well. The quaint English town was decked with Union Jack flags and over 4,000 meters of bunting. Everywhere we looked, Harry and Meghan’s beaming faces were printed on commemorative memorabilia.
Windsor’s population tripled in size over the royal wedding weekend and we got a taste of the magical madness on Friday afternoon. Happy campers had set up days before and positioned themselves all around Harry and Meghan’s venue, Windsor Castle. The crowds were ten deep in some parts but well-wishers were rewarded that afternoon when Prince Harry and Prince William took part in a surprise walkabout. It was Harry's last night as a single man but he didn’t look one bit nervous. He smiled and greeted the public and said he was excited
The big day came around and I must admit, I didn’t get much sleep the night before because of all the adrenaline and excitement. I wonder how Harry and Meghan felt! We had been warned to arrive in Windsor by 6 a.m. at the latest on Saturday, which meant setting our alarms for 4 a.m. to get ready. I, however, was up by 3, having gone to bed at midnight. None of us got much sleep but it didn’t matter.
Our taxi picked us up and dropped us off as close to Windsor Castle as possible. It was quite surreal walking through the town at 5:30 in the morning, being checked by security and watching the
Logistically, we had to be prepared. We knew the streets would be crowded and it would be near impossible to get from point A to B during the day with the police barriers in place. So the HELLO!
The author Ainhoa Barcelona, HELLO!'s deputy online editor, and Alexandra Wilby, HELLO!
'S commissioning editor
Fascinators in place, we did our first Facebook Live for HELLO! at 8:40 a.m. We reported live from the hotel balcony, two levels above the thousands of crowds with an incredible view of the Castle, giving our predictions on everything from the bride’s dress to their first kiss.
Shortly after, the first guests started arriving. We could see the buses pull up outside the Castle and every so often, the crowds burst into cheers. There’s David and Victoria Beckham, there’s Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and wow, hasn’t Amal Clooney upped the style stakes?! The morning went by in a flash, with both the London and Windsor Online teams writing story after story, uploading videos and photos and keeping our social media feeds updated.
Just before noon, we saw Harry and William walk to St George’s Chapel and take their seats inside the church. I would love to know what the brothers were talking about; William no doubt trying to keep Harry calm. He looked quite nervous as expected–even royalty aren’t immune to pre-wedding nerves!
Everyone at the Facebook office had their eyes glued to the TV, glasses of bubbly in hand, ready to toast the happy couple. There were gasps when we caught the first glimpse of Meghan driving down the Long Walk with her mum Doria Ragland, and of course when she stepped out of the car. Wow, didn’t she look beautiful? So elegant and so serene. Her fairytale had finally come true.
After watching the ceremony on TV, whilst also updating our stories (the nature of online news!), Alex and I headed back to the green room to have our microphones checked and to get ready for our second Facebook Live. We had the coveted 1 p.m. slot, which was when Harry and Meghan would take part in a carriage procession around Windsor—one of their first acts as a married couple. It was so exciting chatting about the wedding but also peering
The afternoon went by just as quickly. With more and more details coming out from the ceremony, the HELLO!
There was a brilliant atmosphere around the town. Everyone was in a good mood, having a ball in the streets and there was a real party vibe about Windsor. Harry and Meghan had a bit of downtime in the afternoon when we didn’t see them for a few hours, but then they were back out again for the evening reception. Harry’s tux and Meghan’s halter-neck gown were fabulous—the new James Bond couple? We thought so.
Emily Nash, HELLO! Magazine’s royal correspondent who covers all the royal stories and follows the royal family around, and Sophie Vokes-Dudgeon, HELLO! online content editor
I can’t believe it’s been six months since we received the engagement news. We had spent weeks working toward it and on one hand, it seemed like it was all over in a flash. But on the other, it felt like we’d spent days in Windsor covering the wedding from every angle, even though we were only there for less than 48 hours, much of that spent awake!
In a dream-like state, we were finally able to relax for a bit in the evening, and had dinner and drinks in town, although exhausted. Revellers were still going strong, toasting the happy couple and waving their Union Jack flags. It was so surreal to know that as we were nursing our G&Ts, Harry and Meghan