UK royal family and wedding act as a magnet for international tourism
The impending arrival of the newest royal baby and the highly anticipated wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle that took place last Saturday have fuelled royal fever throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia - which, in turn, spurred greater demand for travel to the U.K.
As Saturday dawned, royal fans, some of whom had traveled thousands of miles to the U.K., waved flags and crowded the streets of Windsor in anticipation of the event. The spectacle capped months of royal-wedding fever. This included fixation on nearly every detail of the wedding, from which titles the two would be given to the colour of the queen’s hat. Bookmakers took bets on questions ranging from whether it would rain during the wedding procession to the designer of the bride’s wedding dress.
Some travellers had camped out in the town, about 20 miles west of London on the River Thames, days ahead, hoping to secure a good view. According to them, sleeping outside the castle for two nights was worth it for the view they had secured. Many others travelled in style, with nearly all of London’s hotels booked out months before the event. Tens of thousands of spectators lined the streets in Windsor to cheer on the new duke and duchess as they married.
Some 600 guests attended the ceremony - among them George and Amal Clooney, Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams - while the royal couple chose more than 1,000 members of the public to watch the procession from within the grounds of the castle. Some adventurous characters, like the couple from Newport Beach tried to fake their way into Windsor Castle, pretending to be guests of the royal bride and groom, but security officials stopped them when they saw their names were not on the guest list.
Unlike previous royal weddings, no politicians were in attendance. Marrying a divorced, biracial American would not long ago have been unthinkable for members of the royal family. In 1953, the queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, was refused permission to marry Captain Peter Townsend, a Royal Air Force officer, because he had been divorced. Before that, Prince Edward, the queen’s uncle, chose to abdicate the throne to marry a divorced American socialite, Wallis Simpson, in a move that spurred a constitutional crisis.
But the times have changed, and the the Britons have welcomed the duchess into the UK as a sign of the monarchy’s modernisation. With a fresh blood rejuvenating this old institution, chances are Britain’s royalty will remain the country’s largest tourist attraction for years to come.
Photo by Mark Jones / Wikipedia Commons