CLEVELAND- As 29 million people watched the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19, a Northeast Ohio woman was at Windsor Castle in person for the royal affair.
Kim Ruggeri is a professor at Cleveland State University and scored an invite to the Royal Wedding with a friend who volunteers at a non-profit supported by the Royal Family.
Ruggeri was in England for the CSU study abroad program. The trips schedule lined up perfectly allowing her to take the day and travel to wedding for Harry and Meghan’s wedding.
Ruggeri was one of 1,200 people invited to sit outside the chapel during the ceremony. She was able to hear the ceremony as it happened and see the celebrities and Royal Family arrive at the chapel for the wedding.
“We were in the very front row we were literally sitting kind of at the edge of the street there so we got to see everyone, the Royal Family and the celebrities we got to see them process in,” she said.
“We got to see Meghan come in in her car, Prince William and Prince Harry walk in together and then we saw them come out in their carriage too,” she said.
Ruggeri says she thought Prince Harry looked just slightly nervous before the ceremony started.
“People were yelling things here and there like are you nervous, this and that, but they were just talking and smiling and waving,” she said of the royal brothers.
Ruggeri says people were sitting on blankets in the grass celebrating with picnics and champagne during the ceremony and that the excitement was not just for the TV networks.
“The feeling in the air was kind of magical, everybody was just so happy even the police officers that were around me they were excited,” she said.
Ruggeri snapped photos of the couple’s A-list friends as they arrive for the wedding as well, including Oprah, George Clooney, David Beckham and Serena Williams. She also got several impressive shots of Queen Elizabeth as she arrived and left the ceremony.
Rugger says her favorite moment of the day was seeing Harry and Meghan just a few minutes after they left the chapel.
“They definitely looked very happy I saw them when the carriage was very first leaving so very first coming out of the chapel so I think maybe they were a little bit nervous at first,” she said.
Ruggeri and the other guests were given special wedding give bags as a thank-you from the couple. Inside was water, personalized shortbread cookies, a magnet and chocolate.
“It was like something that I have never experienced in my life and it was even so much better than I expected it to be,” she said.
“It meant so much to me, I felt like it’s something I am going to remember for the rest of my life something that so many people never get to be a part of I just felt very fortunate,” she said.