First royal wedding fan camps out by London abbey

LONDON Tue Apr 26, 2011 4:16pm EDT

Royalty fan John Loughrey poses for journalists outside Westminster Abbey ahead of this week's Royal wedding, in central London, April 26, 2011.REUTERS/Andrew Winning

Royalty fan John Loughrey poses for journalists outside Westminster Abbey ahead of this week's Royal wedding, in central London, April 26, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Andrew Winning

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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The first royal fan has reserved himself a spot outside London's Westminster Abbey to watch the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

John Loughrey, 56, has set up camp on the pavement across the road from the famous abbey, equipped only with a sleeping bag and two Union Jack carrier bags, and intends to remain there all week to beat the tens of thousands of spectators expected and ensure a good view of the event on Friday.

"I am a royalist and there's a lot of royalists in this country," Loughrey, a long-time fan of Prince William's late mother Diana, told Reuters on Tuesday.

"I came here on bank holiday Monday, on the 25th of April, I came here exactly at five o'clock when the Big Ben chimed five times because it spells Diana's name, D-I-A-N-A," he added.

The diminutive former chef chatted happily with a swarm of reporters and television crews. Despite chilly weather, he wore only a t-shirt emblazoned with a picture of the royal couple, a banner printed with a similar image tied around his waist over his trousers, and sported a Union Jack knitted hat.

"I hope it doesn't rain on the day, but if it does, us British are very used to it," he said, adding that fans of the wedding would simply open up their Union Jack umbrellas.

Loughrey, whose partner died of skin cancer in 2003, said he had camped outside the Royal Courts of Justice for three days in October 2007 during an inquest into Diana's death in a car crash 10 years earlier.

"Diana would be very proud of her son Prince William and Catherine's marriage and Prince Harry as best man.

"She will be with them in spirit in Westminster Abbey on their special day and always," he said.

(Reporting by Helen Long and Olesya Dmitracova; editing by Paul Casciato)

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