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A royal wedding can be a royal pain
Alternative trips, parties are planned
LONDON | There’s still a month to go until the royal wedding, but some Britons are already asking: Is it over yet?
While millions around the world are following every detail of the wedding planning — the guest list, the cake, the carriage, the dress — others are desperately trying to tune it out.
In the British press, scores of stories about the April 29 union of Prince William and Kate Middleton sit alongside grimmer news: an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan, war in Libya, and a diet of spending cuts, job losses and inflation in Britain.
It’s no surprise many people are not in a party mood.
“I’m tired of hearing all about it,” said Andreas Dopner, 24, a postgraduate researcher at London’s Imperial College. “You see it on television, the Internet, everywhere. I don’t believe in having a royal family, and I think the money could be spent better elsewhere.”
For many British businesses, the wedding is good news. International interest in the marriage and the predicted pro-Britannia “feel-good factor” will bring in extra tourists, giving a boost to hotels, restaurants, shops and royal-related tourist attractions.
But there also will be an exodus, with several million Britons heading abroad, thanks to the lucky timing of the wedding day — a holiday for most — between the Easter weekend and the May Day public holiday. Clever employees quickly calculated they could get an 11-day break by taking only three days off work.
Those still in Britain on April 29 will find central London bedecked with Union Jacks, tens of thousands gathering along the wedding procession route, millions watching on TV — and millions more trying to ignore it.
“It tends to be kind of an older-generation event,” said London student William Dobson, 19. “Young people are much more interested in having a good weekend rather than seeing the wedding.”
Even for the uninterested, the wedding may be hard to avoid. But for those determined to do so, alternatives are available.
A Welsh Nationalist group, unimpressed with English royal excess, is holding an “Escape the Wedding Camp” in the countryside for those who really want to get away from it all. A theater company in northeast England is staging a reading of “Cinderella 2,” the story of a fairytale romance gone sour.
In southwest England, Bristol’s Trinity community arts center is holding an Alternative Royal Wedding Party featuring children’s games, DJs and a fake wedding service allowing guests to get hitched to a friend or a stranger.
Center manager Emma Harvey said the royal wedding was not uppermost in the minds of residents of the ethnically diverse, economically deprived area.
“It’s not necessarily a massive thing on people’s radar,” she said. “There is a sense that it is quite a decadent occasion.”
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