Dawn Hewitt is still buzzing with excitement after attending the royal wedding as a VIP guest inside the grounds of Windsor Castle.
The CHUMS social enterprise boss – who was accompanied by her financial adviser husband Jeff – said: “It was such a huge honour for CHUMS to be invited and it’s hard to explain the sheer joy of being at such a special occasion.
“Everyone looked so glamorous and we saw all the royals and celebrities arriving. They were dropped at the top of the hill and had to walk straight past us. George Clooney and his wife Amal looked stunning.
“Victoria Beckham didn’t crack a smile. I know she’s cultivated that image but it’s a shame. We also saw James Blunt, James Corden and Idris Elba and loads of other people.”
But the most poignant moment was seeing Prince Harry and Prince William coming down the hill in their dress uniform. Dawn added: “I just thought how proud their mother would have been and how much they’ve always supported each other.
“It was also wonderful to see the Royal family so close up and all together. Prince Philip looked fantastic – it was Elton John who appeared to have difficulty walking.
“The service was great – we didn’t see it, but we heard it. Everyone joined in singing the hymns and that American preacher – Michael Curry – really took the world by storm! There was an outbreak of spontaneous applause when he finished speaking.”
Dawn didn’t see Meghan’s dress until she got home and switched on the television but she caught a glimpse of the top half when the couple drove by in their landau. “She looked stunning. So elegant, understated and classic.
“And it’s obvious they love each other. You can tell they really want to connect with people, it signifies a real shift in the Royal family, a big move in the right direction.”
Dawn and Jeff were among 1,200 members of the public invited to join the celebrations to make the wedding a truly inclusive affair. They were asked to bring a picnic and seating but were given a hessian goodie bag comprising the order of service, a bottle of water, chocolate coin, shortbread and a Meghan and Harry fridge magnet.
Dawn bought her on trend Preen royal blue floral frock from Debenhams with toning shoes from Marks & Spencer. Their picnic also came from the popular chain – renamed Markle and Sparkle for the weekend.
The couple stayed in Windsor the night before the nuptials and made their way to the castle in the morning. “It was all so well organised with lots of knowledgeable uniformed ushers,” she recalls. Their only complaint? The fact it all went by so quickly.
The couple were back home in Luton by 5.30pm for a cuppa and a never-ending stream of calls from family and friends wanting to hear all about it.
“I still can’t believe we were there,” Dawn smiles. “It was an absolutely spectacular once-in-a-lifetime experience.”