WINDSOR -- Charming white-washed shopfronts on quaint cobblestone streets boast bunting made of Union Jack and American flags, while images of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's smiling faces stare back from store windows.
You can't take a few steps without bumping into smiling tourists snapping photogenic selfies with Windsor Castle as a backdrop while beaming locals proudly offer their photo-taking services.
Needless to say, the excitement in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is palpable, in stark contrast with London, mere kilometres away, where fewer souvenir shop windows betray signs of the impending nuptials.
And as the hours tick closer to May 19, the streets in Windsor are becoming ever-more colourful as new superfans lay their claim on a wedding-watching spot.
In one prime location, adjacent to Windsor Castle, several royal-watchers have already staked out their ideal space to cheer on the newlyweds as they make their way through the town’s streets in the royal procession, dressed head to toe in Union Jacks, holding placards emblazoned with the official engagement photos.
Meanwhile, nearly every street corner by Windsor Castle, and every balcony overlooking it, lays claim to a reporter and television crew speaking in Spanish, Portuguese, or American-accented English.
It's only Tuesday and the anticipation for the biggest royal event of the year is clearly building. And yet. There is one question that bubbles to the surface of every conversation. One question that tempers the excitement. One question that threatens to overshadow the happiness of the fairytale romance. That same question that comes up seconds into any conversation.
Is Meghan Markle's father going to walk her down the aisle or not?
Whether you're a royal-watcher, or only mildly interested, or even a jaded anti-monarchist, it is surely a question anyone can relate to. Will your parent be present for the most important day of your life? And would his absence mar the big day?
As of this writing, Markle's father has told TMZ he will need to undergo heart surgery and thus be unable to walk his daughter down the aisle to marry her prince, Harry. We'll keep you apprised of his health updates on CTVNews.ca.
In the meantime, I plan to visit on Wednesday an authentic superfan's bed-and-breakfast, one woman's personal homage to all things royal. Keep an eye on our social media accounts for a behind-the-scenes look as Windsor and its surrounding environs prepare for the royal wedding.
CTV News’ Senior Web Producer Mary Nersessian is among the news crew on the ground in Windsor and London, reporting on the royal wedding with behind-the-scenes updates on CTVNews.ca, and social media channels including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. Watch for her Daily Dispatch from Windsor and follow the wall-to-wall digital coverage on CTVNews.ca/royals.