By Kirsty Topping
DOZENS of well-wishers camped on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile on Saturday to ensure they had prime spot for the wedding of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall.
The couple married at the capital’s Canongate Kirk in a private ceremony.
But hundreds offans filled the Royal Mile to catch a glimpse of the couple and the Royal Family.
Many had even braved the cold and slept on the street overnight.
Darlene Hendry, from Fife, had slept on the pavement with several of her friends.
She said: “We’ve been here since midnight but the three ladies next to us were here before us. Most people started coming about four or five o’clock.
“It’s been an uncomfortable night, it’s been freezing.
“We thought we’d get a better spot. We thought if we got the first train through that when we got here it would be quite busy and we wouldn’t get in because we’d heard they were only letting 2000 people in.
“The police have been really nice and have been chatting to us. I think they thought it would be busier and were here for crowd control.
“And at around 2am there were two young girls brought us cups of tea.
“Lots of people were telling us we were mad.”
Flags from across the Commonwealth were draped over the barriers that surrounded Canongate Kirk.
At around 8am the final touches were still being put into the church.A row of cream and white flowers could be seen lying on the ground in the church grounds.
Throughout the morning the waiting crowd steadily grew.
The spectators laughed and joked with the police officers on duty. Several stopped to have their photos taken in front of the church.
Behind them a team of florists worked to build a canopy of flowers over the church door.
Watching was Jackie Rushton, 48, who had travelled from Yorkshire especially for the occasion.
She said: “My daughter’s a student so while she’s got her house we thought we’d come and grab the opportunity to see the Royal wedding.
“We’ve never seen a Royal wedding in our life, we’ve only every seen it on the television.
“It’s really special for me. I just love the Royal Family, I have great respect for them.
“I love to see photos of Zara, I think she’s absolutely gorgeous, but I’m ecstatic about seeing William, Kate and Harry.”
Kitty Milne, 74, has attended the last four Royal Weddings, including the Princess Royal’s Crathie wedding.She travelled from Balmoral with two friends to see Zara marry Mike Tindall.
Sitting in the sunshine sipping Bucks Fizz after the ceremony, she said: “I was as close as I could get to the church. Zara’s dress was beautiful and the whole day was fantastic.
“I came to Canongate church early this morning to try and get a prime spot, but I’m afraid I didn’t because there were too many people but I really enjoyed my day.
“I would have liked the cars to go slower because you didn’t get a good view.
“I’m a big royal fan, my favourites were the Queen Mum and Diana.
“I think Kate looked the best today because she’s a lovely girl and there’s no fuss about her and I think she’ll be good for the Royal Family.
“I was at the London wedding too but I think I saw more at the London wedding than I did here because they were in an open top coach. I’m disappointed that I didn’t see more but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”
At 5.45pm a helicopter took off from the palace grounds to take the Queen back to Balmoral.
Lothian and Borders Police said there had been no arrests at the event but that around 19 had been treated by the ambulance service, mostly because of the heat.
They estimated that around 6000 people had turned out to watch the couple wed.
Assistant Chief Constable Iain Livingstone, the officer in overall charge of the policing operation, said: “We were pleased to welcome so many people to the Royal Mile today, and delighted with the fantastic atmosphere that was generated by the good-natured crowds who lined the route from the Canongate Kirk to Holyrood House.
“The policing operation that was put in place for today’s operation was extensive, and in the end I am pleased to say that no arrests were made.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the public who managed to make today’s event so enjoyable for everyone concerned, and I’d also like to extend my best wishes to the happy couple. “
City of Edinburgh Council Leader Jenny Dawe also added her praise.
She said: “Today was a memorable day for Edinburgh. We have become the envy of many other cities through our tried and tested ability to stage hugely successful major events, such as the Papal Visit, National Armed Forces Day and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.
“Sincere thanks are due to all the teams of Council, Police and partner agency staff whose hard work and discretion were instrumental in making today’s event go so smoothly.
“On behalf of Edinburgh, I wish the bride and groom every happiness in their new life together. “