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Prince Harry-Meghan Markle wedding: UK pubs to stay open late to toast royal wedding

The royal wedding remains on top of the agenda of the tabloids, with issues related to the American bride’s father and other family members dominating headlines.

world Updated: May 17, 2018 12:49 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Prince Harry,Meghan Markle,Prince Harry-Meghan Markle wedding
A portrait of Britain's Prince Harry hangs on the wall as drinkers sit at a bar inside a pub called 'The Prince Harry' near Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London on May 15, 2018, as preparations get underway for the forthcoming Royal wedding. Britain's Prince Harry and US actress Meghan Markle will marry on May 19 at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle. (AFP)

There are some discordant notes in the growing drumbeat for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in Windsor on Saturday, but parliamentarians have done their bit and approved longer pub opening times on May 18 and 19.

Following debates in the House of Commons and House of Lords this week, approval was granted with a steady hand to the Theresa May government’s plans to extend licensing hours on the nights of May 18 and May 19 until 1 am the following morning.

The usual pub opening times are 11 am to 11 pm from Monday to Saturday, and 12 noon to 10.30 pm on Sunday. The approval will allow for an extended bacchanalian celebration of the royal marriage in pubs across the UK.

The royal wedding remains atop the agenda of the tabloids, with issues related to the American bride’s father and other family members dominating headlines. The question of her father attending the wedding in Windsor has occupied many journalists.

Victoria Atkins, minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability in the Home Office, who signed the order extending pub hours, said: “The government’s decision to extend the licensing hours to mark the Royal Wedding has received overwhelming support.

“I know that people across the country will be celebrating this memorable occasion and this extension will help us to raise a toast to the happy couple.”

The approval has been hailed by campaign groups such as the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), among many fans of the royal family.

Its chairperson Colin Valentine said: “CAMRA is not just raising a glass to the royal couple, but also to the government for their decision to extend pub opening hours during the royal wedding celebration.

“Pubs play a hugely important role in landmark days in peoples’ lives, including weddings. Extending opening hours will provide a welcome boost to the industry and help ensure the public can celebrate, hopefully by toasting to the happy couple with a pint of traditional real ale.”

This is not the first time pub hours have been relaxed.

Since the Licensing Act was introduced in 2003, hours have been extended for many occasions, including the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations in 2016.

First Published: May 16, 2018 16:42 IST