After hours of coverage on the Long Walk to Windsor Castle, Seven News journalist Melissa Doyle took a moment to reflect on witnessing the marriage of the now Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan. "I loved it," she says. "I wish I could give you better words to explain, but the feeling and excitement were palpable." WHO asked Doyle for some insight into the occasion.
What was the atmosphere like?
The crowd was incredible. They were here, well, a lot of them have been lining the streets for the last few days but this morning we arrived on site at about 5 AM and the streets were already full. They had been casing out their spots with blankets and chairs. Um, it was really one of those events where people clearly love Harry and Meghan as couple, but it was beautiful and we had the most incredible spot. Our studio had this just had this magnificent view down the Long Walk, so we saw her in the car as she came in with her mum, and up into the church for the wedding, and then we saw the carriage procession and that seriously would have been 20 metres from us, so if I wasn't on air and talking, I probably could have had the best selfie ever! But the atmosphere was just wonderful and I feel very, very privileged as a journalist to be here and be a part of it. And it was a gorgeous day, it's probably 21 degrees, sunny, clear blue skies, and more than anything, everything went smoothly, without a hitch, so I think that's what we're most grateful for.
Was Meghan's Givenchy dress what you expected?
I loved it, and wasn't it beautiful in its simplicity? We knew there was no question that she would be one of the most stylish brides ever, and I think the fact that she wore a dress that was so classic, it wasn't adorned with anything, there was no sparkles, it was timeless. I loved the veil, I loved the touch that there was all 53 nations in the Commonwealth represented in the embroidery by having their floral emblems out through, I thought that was really, really special, given the role that they will be playing with the Commonwealth. I thought she looked beautiful. She's such a gorgeous, stylish woman. I loved in the first half when she was walking down the aisle, and she's on her own, and she just looks so strong and relaxed and sure of where she was and why she was there and my admiration for her as a woman is enormous. And then there was a moment when Charles meets her halfway up the aisle and looks her in the eyes and takes her hands and guides her up the rest of the way and that was a lovely moment. I ket trying to remind myself, 'That's a father-in-law telling his future daughter-in-law, 'Welcome.'
What other aspects of the wedding did you enjoy?
The little bridesmaids and page boys, they were so cute and they looked so happy and just seemed to be enjoying it and the particular moment when she's walking into the chapel and one of the twin sons of her friend Jessica grins with this huge smile and a couple of his front teeth missing, it just felt very easy, even though there was a lot of formality and pomp. It felt remarkably happy and intimate. You can almost forget for a moment it was a royal wedding with protocols and rules and all those other things. It felt like so much of it reflected who they are as a couple and the way she looked at him when he lifted her veil and the way he spoke to her and said she looked amazing and held her hand, it was really lovely. And the other moment I loved was when they walked out of the chapel at the end and stood there and they came out of the amazing arch of flowers, and then stood there and had that gorgeous kiss, which we were all mentioning, 'Well, it was quite lingering. We like that. That wasn't just a peck!'
Who amongst the celebrity guests stood out?
Ah, Amal Clooney. I have a little bit of a crush on Amal Clooney, and George Clooney, anyway, but they were beautiful. She looked amazing and that dress, and she George on her arm, that just added to it. She looked so elegant. I liked the mix of people there. There were so many celebrities and lots of different faces that you don't even know that they are friends with Harry and Meghan. You're going through the crowd and there's Idris Elba and Carey Mulligan and there are all of those people, well, the Suits people we knew, but I thought that was a really nice touch that they were able to invite who they wanted because that's what a wedding's meant to be. Celebrity spotting was fun!
And Harry's eyes whenever he looked at Meghan—was that lovely?
To me, it's honesty and that was really special and they are clearly in love. That's what we want to see.
Were there things you saw that we didn't get to see on television?
I just think to portray the enormity of the crowds and the roar of the cheering, and they all had their arms up in the air and they're waving flags as the carriage comes down the Long Walk, I know there were some aerial pictures and you would get a sense of how big it was but for me, it was jsut that sound of happiness and cheering as this couple came along. It was a gorgeous summer's day and the weather could not be more perfect, and I'm watching Pommies out there slathering sunscreen on and it's 21 degrees and they're all talking about how hot it is, I'm sure that added to it. The sky is just crystal clear blue, and the trees and the gardens, that walk heading up to the castle is truly spectacular and my gosh, if you could get married in such a place, it was visually such a stunning backdrop.
How nice was it to have someone as ebullient and informative as Angela Rippon as a commentator?
What an incredible woman. I felt so honoured to have her on our panel with her knowledge of the royal family, which is second to none. She knows them all and has interviewed them all. She was able to share anecdotes of Philip and the Queen, Charles and Camilla and obviously Harry and William and talk about them all and having covered them. As she said, this was her fifth royal wedding, so she said her script has to be re-written with five weddings and a funeral, but her knowledge of history, it was wonderful to know you could have someone sitting there who could answer anything we threw her way. And I loved her commentary. There were a couple moments in there where she said what everyone was thinking but in such an elegant way that we had a bit of a smile.
What facts did you like learning?
Things like the bouquet, and the flowers and that Harry had picked some of them and they had come from the gardens of the Palace and there were some forget-me-nots in there, and that wa his mother's favourite flower and that was his way of having Diana as part of the bouquet, and how all of the little bridesmaid girls were given white leather shoes with their initials on embroidered into them amd that was their gift from Meghan, so all of those beautiful little touches that you hear about that I thought made it really, really special.
There were so many American touches to the event.
Yeah. I think it was really lovely to know that everybody that was behind the wedding and all of the organisers acknowledged that she was American and you saw that incorporated in the ceremony but you also saw that in the crowds. We saw so many American flags as well as British flags, and we saw many Canadian jumpers and obviously a lot of Aussies were there. It was nice to see the Commonwealth there and on display but also the American connection. We're in our studios, which is right next door to ABC America and they had massive facilities and a massive number of people there. To know they are covering it as much as the Brits and Aussies are, yeah, well, they've got an American duchess!
What's next for you? We know there's Weekend Sunrise.
Well, we will go back and have a little kip, and then we have Weekend Sunrise, and then we will probably take a day to catch up on some sleep. We're still running on adrenalin, which is fantastic, and then we'll head on home. Can't wait to see if there are any souvenirs left so I can shop and take them home for the kids.
Have they asked for anything in particular?
No, no, but gosh, i had so many messages from girlfriends during the broadcast all cheersing with champagne and having parties, so yeah, I'm sure there were were a lot of people at home enjoying it as much as we were over here. I just hope we were able to give people a sense of how lovely it really was.