We’re on the ground in London, where we can confirm royal-wedding madness is quite mad indeed. The crowd on Westminster Bridge feels like Times Square on steroids, with hundreds of tourists, speaking dozens of languages. Some carry large plastic totes emblazoned with Prince William and Kate Middleton's engagement photo, some wear Union Jack wayfarers or joker’s hats trimmed with bells, and all stop to take family photos with Big Ben or cheesy cardboard cutouts of the couple in storefronts. One gift shop we went into has sold over 900 William & Kate commemorative mugs, while we bought the last "tasteful" blue and white royal-wedding mug Liberty of London had in stock. "It’s maddening. I have to get out of town," one British businessman in a very proper suit told us. A police officer stationed outside the royal carriage house is already dreading the day of the wedding: "It’s going to be bloody terrible. The mall is going to be filled with people. If you want to see anything, you better get here at 4 a.m. Bring some coffee — and you better put something strong in it."
The only other group that comes close to matching tourists for insanity is the media. We overheard one journalist proudly tell his colleagues about a scoop — details about the menu for the wedding dinner (not to be confused with the skimpy canapés-only lunch). Another said she’d run into Princess Diana’s dressmaker, David Emanuel, dining with Jane Seymour, who’d called him to ask advice on what to wear for her stint hosting Entertainment Tonight on the day of the wedding. It seems like a camera crew is set up on every corner from Westminster to Buckingham Palace, with a heavily made-up reporter doing a stand-up with a landmark behind them, or desperately trying to find a legitimate Brit to talk to about the wedding in a sea of foreign tourists. Terry Hutt, who began camping out in front of Westminster Abbey at 3 p.m. today with an astonishing array of U.K. flag gear, was a fast favorite. Hutt, who turns 76 the day after the wedding, said he has about ten friends to help him hold his spot while he does things like run across the street to use the public toilet. He told us not to worry when we expressed concern about rain and cold at night — he has a sleeping bag and he can pull the tarp on the ground over him in the rain. "With all these girls around me, I hope I don't snore," he said.
We even saw a few (arguable) celebrities! In the fenced-in media compound set up across from Buckingham Palace were the dancing Will and Kate look-alikes from that YouTube video. He’s shorter than you’d imagine, and neither looked very royal in their fake engagement-photo attire. More cynical media types, including Piers Morgan, also hurried through the lines of tents and trailers. We stopped to talk to Morning Joe’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski; when we asked them what they thought about all this, Mika laid on the sarcasm: "I am over the top filled with excitement — can’t you see it all over my face?"
Related: The Kate Middleton Look Book