The last time Britain saw such frenzy was July 29, 1981, when Prince Charles married Lady Diana. Today, again, the royal family is set to dazzle when their son Prince William marries Kate Middleton in the ancient Westminster Abbey. The event to be watched live by a record two billion audience.
Planned and choreographed to the last second, Britain is known for organising such royal spectacles better than any other country.
It is a national holiday in Britain, and it is clearly party-time for many people, momentarily setting aside the effects of economic downturn.
The pomp, pageantry and history associated with the royal family have attracted millions from far and wide. Fans of the royal family have poured into London to occupy every available inch along the wedding procession route, outside the Abbey and the Buckingham Palace.
Camping in the city
For many among them, this is their third royal wedding, having camped on the route during the wedding of Queen Elizabeth in 1947, and Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s in 1981.
A media village has sprung up near the palace with all the world’s major news broadcasters setting up temporary studios. Clapham Common, a patch of land in south London, is hosting a makeshift campsite for the fans. People are paying £75 (Rs5,500) to camp there for three nights. And for those opting for luxury tents, the price is £3,500 (Rs2.55 lakh) for three nights. These come equipped with beds made with Egyptian cotton, bathrooms with running water, sheepskin carpets, champagne and hot meals.
Bollywood & bhangra
Those who cannot make it to London will celebrate in street parties, another quintessentially British tradition.
The parties will include Bollywood-style dancing to bhangra music in places such as Southall, where members of the Middleton family lived years ago. Virendra Sharma, the Labour MP from Ealing Southall, has written to residents to celebrate the event with street parties.
Eric Pickles, the Communities secretary, said: “Royal wedding street parties are a great British tradition. So if folks want to get together to organise a street party to celebrate, we have made it as easy as possible without endless form filling.”