Unless you have been living in a cave for the last few months, you will be very aware that the biggest event this weekend is the Royal Wedding of William and Kate. While the international media are putting this news as a priority, how is the event actually impactingliving and working in the UK?
If you are living and working in the UK you will have already noticed that the royal wedding has been in the daily news for several months now. The biggest magazines, newspapers and news channels are devoting lots of their programmes and articles on the events surrounding the wedding. The royal wedding is such an important event that it is has been declared a national holiday in the United Kingdom. But why is everyone making such a fuss over this event? How will people in the UK celebrate this special day in royal history?
England is one of the very few countries that still has royal involvement in the government and many Brits are quite proud of the traditions and presence of the monarchy in British society. Broadcast around the world, the royal wedding will be an excellent occasion for the British to show off their traditional heritage, customs and culture to the rest of the world.
Many Brits are showing enthusiasm for this wedding because William and Kate will be tomorrow’s King and Queen. They represent a fresh and modern perspective for the British monarchy which many people welcome. The fact that Kate doesn’t come from a royal family is another aspect of the wedding that attracts optimism as it is a reminder of the beloved Princess Diana.
London is hosting the wedding so the last few weeks have been dedicated to preparations for the event. Hundreds of flags have been hung in the street, the roads have been cleaned, the rehearsals have been getting tighter and the royal route has been getting safer with intense security checks. London’s shops have been customised with British flags and images of the bride and groom. Public institutions such as Transport for London have been promoting the event, inviting people to come to London and celebrate the marriage. The preparations alone are a sign of how far the British will go to ensure that this event runs flawlessly, reflecting their efficiency, organisation and well-kept cultural heritage.
While thousands of Brits plan to attend the event in the streets of London around Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey in particular, millions of others will be watching the events on TV and enjoying the celebration with tea parties, street BBQs and picnics. Stores may be closed in the morning during the wedding events and then open later in the afternoon.
A Commercial Opportunity
The royal wedding also represents a great commercial opportunity for British tourism as well as for Londoners who have rented their flats, rooms or even sofas to tourists from around the world. Gift shops are also taking advantage of the royal wedding and the many tourists it is attracting by selling special merchandise representing the royal couple. From postcards, mugs and banners to more bizarre items like a jelly bean with an image of Kate in the texture, you can find just about anything with the royal wedding theme. Other shops are celebrating the wedding by offering discounts and promotions on their products and services.
Mind the Gap
As millions of people celebrate the royal wedding, many Brits are actually running away from it. Surveys suggest an impressive 60% of the English population will not be watching the celebrations and will instead use the extra day off as an opportunity to get away from the crowds and press. Some have suggested that this disinterest is a result of a generation gap. Many younger people are no longer interested in old English traditions and consider the royal wedding to be pompous, boring and not on the same wavelength as modern British society.
One of the biggest points of contention around the royal wedding is the financial cost this places on British society in these difficult economic times. The Royal Family is an icon of luxury and wealth and the celebration involves an important financial investment that British citizens may not take well. Many feel that the scale of this event is too significant during a time when many are struggling financially.
Whether you are for or against the royal wedding festivities, be aware of the general disruption this will cause to your life when living and working in the UK. No matter what your take, the royal wedding will certainly be a topic of conversation when everyone returns to work after this long weekend, and discussions about the festivities may even replace classic British small talk around the weather so be prepared.
In the meantime, whether you are planning a celebration in honour of this momentous British occasion or an escape to avoid the crowds and festivities, enjoy this extra bank holiday.
© Communicaid Group Ltd. 2011