A royal gala in time of depression
Class-conscious Britain is getting anxious over the kind of suit its Prime Minister should be wearing to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Dipankar De Sarkar reports. Royal extravaganzasworld Updated: Apr 21, 2011 16:50 IST
Class-conscious Britain is getting anxious over the kind of suit its Prime Minister should be wearing to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Royal watchers were thrown into a state of confusion after reports this week said Prime Minister David Cameron had decided to wear a lounge suit - rather than the formal morning dress - to the Apr 29 event.After a furious round of public debate, played out on newspapers, radio channels and television news, Cameron was said to have changed his mind. The original decision would have made him the first British premier not to wear the handsome morning dress - involving a long coat with tails, striped trousers, top hat, tie and silk waistcoat - to a royal wedding.
As an Oxford University student, Cameron was photographed along with fellow-upper class members of Bullington, an exclusive 150-year-old dining club, wearing tailcoats and other bits of the club's uniform that cost more than £3,500.
After the photograph was published by a Labour newspaper just before general elections last year, Cameron's Conservative party pressurised other media from following suit.
Now, with up to half a million public sector jobs on the line as a result of Britain's worst post-war recession, the wrangling over how a guest should look at the royal wedding has taken on a sharp tone.
"That this Old Etonian, ex-Carlton PR spiv thinks the sight of him in morning dress is going to pull focus from the assembled mass of the crowned heads of Europe is self-aggrandisement of the most risible kind," said the light-hearted Guardian 'passnotes' column.
A royal spokesman said, "The advice to all guests is that they should wear either a morning suit or a lounge suit and it is entirely up to them what they choose."
The royal wedding is expected to cost tens of million of pounds to the British taxpayer - according to one estimate, security alone will cost £80 million.
And previous estimates have put the cost of associated holidays to around £5 billion in lost man-days.