Jacksonville woman goes to London to see royal wedding

Former Missionary caught royal fever while living there in early '80s

By Scott Johnson - Reporter, Roxy Tyler - Web producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville woman is in England to get as close to the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as possible.

Portia Gillespie used to live in London in the early '80s when she was a missionary there and said she caught royal fever when Prince Charles and Lady Diana got married in 1981.

"It was very exciting.  We were glued to the telly to see what she was going to wear.  And that was the thing, what her dress looked like," said Gillespie.

Ever since she has been fascinated with all things royal.

"With all the pomp and circumstance that surrounds the royals and kings and queens.  I think she was just real.  She and Charles started out their marriage being married in St. Paul's Cathedral in London," said Gillespie. 

Over the decades, she’s gotten rid of a lot of her royal memorabilia, but she still has her hat box and tea set. She said she will be wearing her hat for the big day. 

"Every morning, I have my Yorkshire tea, and I can only get that from World Market here in town, so I got there to buy the tea I used to get there," said Gillespie.

When Portia first learned of Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s pending nuptials she was quick to hook up with a group called Road Scholar, an organization that planned a large trip for Americans who love British royalty to travel to London for the wedding.

"I’m pretty excited because we get to hear from the former royal chef.  The former chief of security who was the personal bodyguard for Princess Diana and the royal children," Gillespie said.

So nearly 40 years after she fell in royal love with Charles and Di, she’s there for the next chapter with Harry and Megan.

Gillespie has lived a somewhat fantasy royal life for decades.  

She just retired from a company she operated that put together princess parties for little girls. 

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