Anticipation grows as wedding only hours away
A guest arrives at The Goring hotel, in central London, where Kate Middleton is staying on the eve of her wedding to Prince William, April 28, 2011. (REUTERS/Paul Hackett)
LONDON - Give a girl a break.
Less than 24 hours before the royal wedding, and outside the Goring Hotel - the last place Kate Middleton will sleep as a single woman - onlookers and the press pushed Thursday against metal barriers and strained their eyes.
Anticipation showed as a car pulled up, and a woman hidden under a funky hat rushed inside.
Everyone settled back, as it appeared not to be the bride of the century.
Give or take a pupil, more than 2-billion sets of eyeballs could be following Middleton down the aisle when she marries Prince William inside Westminster Abbey Friday.
But at this stage, as a woman prepares to marry a man, there is an awkward sense of pre-event stalking.
I can tell you what the bathroom looks like in her room.
People here talk about the energy drinks she's supposedly consuming to keep up her stamina.
And at least one local tabloid has written that Middleton wakes up in a cold sweat many nights, after dreaming she suddenly realizes she's naked in front of the congregation on her wedding day.
But if that's true - and I doubt it is - it would only make perfect sense.
William has it tough, as he's photographed even trying to play a game of British football with his friends at a London park this week.
But it's Middleton who can't step into the light these days and hours, without being sized up and judged - from her weight to how she wears her hair.
On Thursday, away from the crowds of the Goring Hotel, Canadian friends Isabell Mackay and Cathy Sheppard, hairdressers from Sarnia, Ont., waded through the humanity outside the Abbey.
With the Canadian flag proudly stamped on their clothes and hats, the women joined other revellers in a sense of occasion and fun.
The sun shone and drew hope the rain may stay away on Friday.
People prepared well-wishing signs and drank tea and shared biscuits with reporters who've become their new best friends.
"When else at our age (though she wouldn't divulge it) would we ever get the chance to see the wedding of the century?" said Mackay.
I can tell you about the millions of pounds spent on perfection to make it live up to that billing.
And about a dream gown that's still a mystery.
And fully grown trees brought inside a church to create the perfect environment.
But being the primary focus of the 'wedding of the century' - with crowds feeding in from the four corners of London, 5,000 police officers called in to keep control, the media drum-rolls becoming deafening and speculation about what you're dreaming about - would seem to be a rite royal pain.