Canadians eager for nuptials

Nicola Day's flight to London will land just hours before Prince Harry is set to wed Meghan Markle in a lavish ceremony at Windsor Castle, and she's determined to not let jet lag stand in the way of royal revelry.

The Kingston, Ont., resident expects to spend the first hours of her vacation searching for a place to watch Saturday's noon-hour spectacle with other fans of the couple.

"We'll make an effort to find somewhere to watch it and be among the people," Day says of plans she's making for herself and her husband.

"They really are historical events, these weddings are a big deal around the whole world.... I'm all for celebrating this wedding."

The Days are scheduled to arrive just in time to soak in what's sure to be an explosion of patriotic fervour for the people's prince and his California-born actress fiancee.

But the main reason they're heading to the United Kingdom is for a separate royal event altogether — a garden party at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the work of The Prince's Charities, which supports the philanthropy of Prince Charles.

Steve Day scored an invitation as a graduate of an entrepreneur program run by the group's Canadian chapter. The national program helps Canadian Armed Forces members transition to civilian life by offering education and resources to launch their own business.

Day is one of three Canadian graduates invited to the garden party May 22, which will also mark the 70th birthday year of the Prince of Wales. The prince's actual birthday is Nov. 14.

Word is that the newlyweds themselves may attend — Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have reportedly chosen the celebration as their first official event as a married couple.

Steve Day says he's a fan of the younger prince, who has focused much of his charity work on wounded veterans through his passion project, the Invictus Games.

"I feel an affinity with Prince Harry as a retired vet who's fought in Afghanistan. I like what he's doing to support veterans," says Day, who spent more than a year of cumulative duty in Afghanistan on multiple occasions between 2003 and 2011.

Before Tuesday's garden party, there are preparations to be made.

Nicola Day says she's watching online videos of past garden parties to nail down the protocol, and is fretting over her attire. Women are being asked to wear a day dress with an optional hat, or a uniform with no medal. Gentlemen are instructed to wear a morning coat, lounge suit or a uniform with no medal.

The town of Windsor has said it expects 100,000 visitors to head there to see the newlyweds travel in procession after the ceremony.

Travel experts expect the number of visitors to the U.K. will increase after the wedding, but some agents reported already seeing a spike in interest because of the nuptials, according to an informal survey by the travel group TLNetwork.ca.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the travel fare aggregator Expedia.ca says it's seen a 175 per cent increase year-over-year in flight search data for travel to London over the wedding weekend.

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