Navy personnel and Royal Marines ready to play their part at Windsor wedding

Royal Navy sailors have spoken of their nerves and honour at providing ceremonial duties at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Personnel from the Fleet’s Small Ships and Diving Units and 30 Commando IX Group Royal Marines from Plymouth will be among the 250 members of the armed forces at the royal wedding on Saturday.

Members of the Royal Marines march across the parade ground at HMS Collingwood (Andrew Matthews/PA)

One half company (24 ratings and one officer) from the Royal Navy, and the same sized contingent from the Royal Marines, will line the streets within the precincts of Windsor Castle along with their counterparts from the Army and RAF.

The sailors have been rehearsing their role at HMS Collingwood in Fareham, Hampshire.

Practice at HMS Collingwood ahead of Saturday’s big day in Windsor (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Royal Navy State Ceremonial Officer Warrant Officer Eddie Wearing, who is in charge of training all personnel for their ceremonial duties, said: “There’s a lot of planning and preparation that goes into this.

“It’s an honour for us to be involved in such an event and bolsters the already great relationship between the Royal Family and the military.

“We have done a lot of ceremonial duties in the last 12 months, including Royal duties in London, which was a first for the Royal Navy, and now a royal wedding.

A Royal Navy Petty Officer measures the distances between members of the unit (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“It’s going to be hard to top that.

“The guys will be able to cope with the pressure on the day because we have done a lot of training and it’s all about repetition so that they are focused on what they are doing.

“Nerves are a good thing and a bit of healthy nervousness is good in my book. We are absolutely ready to go.”

Prince Harry, in his role as Commodore-In-Chief, Small Ships and Diving (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Prince Harry was appointed Commodore-in-Chief Small Ships and Diving by the Queen in August 2006 and recently he was also appointed Captain General Royal Marines in December 2017, taking over from his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, who held the title for 64 years.

Able Seaman (Diver) Andy Waller is representing Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2), based at Horsea Island in Portsmouth, at the wedding.

His unit is the first to respond to explosive ordnance discovered in the south of the country including a 500lb Second World War German bomb found during dredging work at London City Airport.

Members of the Royal Marines will provide ceremonial support at the wedding (Andrew Matthews/PA)

He said: “It’s a great feeling to be able to be a part of this.

2For me the highlight will be once we’re finished and I can look back and know we’ve done a good job, and that everything went well on the day. 

Members of the Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving unit at work (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“We’ve been practising for two and a half days and it’s been very intensive training, but it’s come together very well.

“This is a seminal moment for the British royal family which does not happen very often.

“Prince Harry is well loved by the military so we’re very proud to be taking part.”

- Press Association


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