WINDSOR, England -- Few towns are as stereotypically English as Windsor, the bucolic riverside locale where Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle will get married on May 19.
And few towns are as pleasing when a warm spring sun bakes off the morning mist. Even the plump white swans on the Thames seem relieved that the long, hard winter is over.
Most of the swans belong to Queen Elizabeth II and must be counted each year by Her Majesty's Swan Marker in a ritual that reflects the dominant role the Windsors play in the town whose name the royal family has adopted as a surname a century ago.
All roads seem to lead to Windsor Castle, a magnificent fortress perched high on a hill topped by the royal standard when the queen is in residence.
It is here -- a favored royal playground since Henry the Conqueror built the first structure here in 1070 -- that the royal wedding will take place. Harry, one of the least traditional young royals, has chosen the most traditional of venues.
Fevered preparations are underway: Many roads have been repaved, street signs are being repainted, storefronts decked out with life-size cutouts of Harry and Markle, and shoppers are being lured by all kinds of souvenirs.
Windsor is getting a bit of a makeover, just like the monarchy, which is rebranding itself with attention focused on the new, younger generation of princes as the 92-year-old queen slowly reduces her public duties.
"Everything is now in place, we're 99.9 percent of the way there," said town councilor Phillip Bicknell, who expects more than 100,000 people if the weather is good. "We believe this is going to be the biggest number of people fitting into Windsor for any event. It's going to be quite tight, but the atmosphere will be electric."
There is already a party feel in Windsor well in advance of the actual party.
Tourists from around the world arrive daily by train and walk through the royal shopping arcade to the castle.
No one, it seems, can resist the impulse to take a selfie in front of the castle.