The red carpet is literally being rolled out in north Queensland, complete with a 15-piece orchestra, to celebrate this weekend’s Royal wedding.
Cairns resident Melissa Harwood is a long-time royal fan who has pulled out all the stops to make sure the wedding is appropriately celebrated half a world away.
“There will be a pre-wedding afternoon tea with fancy hats, tiaras and plenty of cups of tea,” Ms Harwood, who will celebrate with friends, said.
“But you can’t have a royal tea party without an orchestra, so I have the Cairns Youth Orchestra coming to play and we’ll all stand when they play God Save the Queen.”
Ms Harwood has also made sure her home is a picture of royalty, replacing photos of her family with images of the Windsors.
She is not the only person to have made changes to their home for the royal wedding.
Melissa Harwood shows off her preparations with her selection of formal hats. (ABC News: Mark Rigby)
Royally excited as big day nears
In Mackay, one royal watcher has had to make some last-minute modifications to her house to make sure she does not miss the big event.
Ms Hartigan will eat her dinner off royal-themed plates on Saturday night. (ABC Tropical North: Sophie Meixner)
Bronwyn Hartigan has lived in her current house for six years and has never had an antenna installed for free-to-air television.
Her family, including two young sons, has previously only used the TV for streaming services, but that all changed once Prince Harry announced he was tying the knot.
“My husband expected nothing less,” Ms Hartigan laughed.
“He wasn’t surprised at all. He just said, of course you do.”
Ms Hartigan said she had given the family strict instructions about what would happen at their house on Saturday night.
“Nobody is allowed to come near me if they’re going to make noise which means I can’t hear the TV,” she said.
“They’re welcome to join me, but it will definitely be in silence.”
A new generation of fans
The Queensland Young Monarchists League said the pending wedding, as well as the nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011, had seen a surge in the number of young people declaring they were monarchists.
Ms Hartigan says she is ‘ten out of ten excited’ for the Royal wedding. (ABC Tropical North: Sophie Meixner)
“When we go to monarchists’ meetings, the age groups are so varied. They’re either over 70 or under 25,” Wilson Gavin said.
“The story of Meghan Markle is inspiring for many young people. She’s a talented, intelligent woman and is proof that no matter who you are or where you come from, you can be part of the royal family.”
Ms Harwood created fancy mock invitations to her Royal Wedding party. (Supplied: Melissa Harwood)
Mr Gavin said his love of the monarchy was not so much to do with the young royals, but rather the head of state.
“I love that something so old has come through history and is still inspiring people,” he said.
“Look at the Queen, 70 years of unbroken service. It’s impossible not to be inspired by that.”
Ms Hartigan agreed the Queen was the cornerstone of her love of the Royal family.
“It’s something to aspire to, her level of commitment,” she said.
“And she’s shown she understands the royals need to become more modern, because of course the Queen had to allow Harry to marry Meghan.
“The Queen would never have agreed to something like this 10 years ago because she certainly didn’t let her sister marry a divorcee.
“Meghan’s also from another country and this is far more of a break from tradition than Kate Middleton was for the monarchy.”
Ms Hartigan tests out her all-important ABC connection before the big day. (ABC Tropical North: Sophie Meixner)
Reliving the celebration
Ms Hartigan said the royal wedding would not be a one-off viewing event.
“I will buy the DVD,” she said.
“I have the highlights of William and Kate’s wedding and I’ve watched it from start to finish about 10 times,” she laughed.
“A couple of years ago I watched it on Christmas Day and it was just such a happy occasion.”