Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Royal Wedding Inescapable In Britain

Originally published on

LONDON -- Ask a typical Briton his or her opinion of the impending royal wedding and you will get a well-rehearsed eye roll or quick huff of breath.

The media coverage drenching the most-talked-about wedding in a generation has long since saturated this country. People have had enough. The event is inescapable.

Still, in the month before the wedding, in this country that usually shies away from displays of patriotism, the Union Jack has increasingly been found everywhere and on everything. Pubs and bars advertise drink specials, encouraging patrons to watch the event on big-screen televisions. Prince William's and Kate Middleton's images are found on every imaginable surface, be it tea mugs or toilet lids.

The image of Kate, particularly, is requisite in the daily newspapers. One could more easily imagine a tabloid choosing to eschew words rather than a picture of the princess-to-be.
There is no ducking the wedding. At least not for those still in the country. Thanks to a trifecta of public holidays landing on or near the wedding, an estimated 2 million Britons will be abroad when William and Kate take their vows. But even they will find it difficult to escape worldwide interest in the event.

London, of course, is built for this sort of thing. Few places in the world are better equipped to handle such a large public gathering. But even in London terms, this is a massive event; roughly one-third of the world's population is expected to watch all or some of the wedding, by some estimates. Organizers are taking it very seriously. Police have already warned that disruptions will not be tolerated. Those hoping to demonstrate republican or anti-royal sentiment will not be allowed near the procession nor its audience.

Outside Westminster Abbey, where the wedding will take place, huge stands have been erected for the world's press. One stand immediately outside the cathedral is built to hold several hundred people. Elsewhere, inside and out, dozens of cameras have been stationed to capture every conceivable angle of the ceremony.

In London's Hyde Park and Trafalgar Square, both near the route of the wedding procession, huge television screens have been erected for the thousands upon thousands of well-wishers expected to turn out in hopes of seeing the happy couple as they pass by. Meanwhile, both national and local government websites are awash with detailed information on the what, where and when of the event, with festivities set to begin officially at 7 a.m. local time.

Helpfully, the UK's public services website, Directgov, offers this advice: "Visitors are advised to dress for the weather but to get in the wedding mood and wear a hat."

A fancy hat may not be enough for some people. A number of visitors have said they are planning to arrive dressed in their very best -- many promising tuxedos and elaborate gowns. Others may look a little less presentable on the day, but with good reason: several hundred people plan to camp out along the procession route the night before, to ensure their prime view of the happy couple.

Britain's residents may still insist upon rolling their eyes at talk of the royal wedding, but quite clearly the country is wedding mad. There is talk of rain in the forecast, but it is unlikely to keep onlookers away -- even those who claim not to be interested.

1 comment:

Leroy said...

Trifecta. What a brilliant word.