Camping out with the royal campers
A Royal wedding fan takes has a nap on an inflatable bed in front of the Westminster Abbey in London, Wednesday April 27, 2011. (ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY)
LONDON - The truly devoted have gathered outside London's grandest church.
But their adoration is more regal than spiritual.
QMI Agency is spending some quality time camping with the campers - the roadside sentries who have created a front line to better see Prince William and Kate Middleton come out of Westminster Abbey as husband and wife on Friday.
Their line started on Monday night, and stretches with each passing hour.
Most are older fans, including 76-year-old Terry Jones -- sitting in a foldout chair and wearing his heart on his sleeve.
And on his shoes.
And shorts. And socks. And hat.
All carry the blue, red and white pattern of the Union Jack.
Jones recalls the Queen Mother coming to give his family moral support during German air attacks on this city. He says he's been there for her family ever since.
Even in his senior years, he vows to hold the line.
"I'll make it until Friday -- I'm a tough old soldier," he says.
There's 63-year-old Sue Church, who plans to stay out night and day for a single glimpse of the bride and groom.
And 56-year-old John Loughrey, who became first in line after he heard the bells of Big Ben chime, and figured they were sending him a message.
"They were spelling out (Princess) Diana," he's sure.
A little offbeat, even for the reliable clock?
"Well I'm British -- we're supposed to be eccentric," Loughrey counters.
But it's not just the British.
When 51-year-old New York resident Linda Hartwick came to visit the Abbey on Tuesday, and saw the line forming out of tents, tarpaulins, flags and a special kind of adoration, she knew she had to join them. She rushed off and grabbed a sleeping bag.
It only feels right to stick it out for their big day, she says of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Having followed the royals for years, Hartwick tells us, as others get comfortable for a long wedding march: "It feels like I'm actually related to them."