Britain gets caught up in celebratory mood

More than 100,000 people are expected to flock to Windsor where Prince Harry will marry his US fiancee Meghan Markle in a glittering ceremony on Saturday.
Police officers and members of the public watch as military personnel rehearse their part in the procession through the streets of Windsor for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding.
Police officers and members of the public watch as military personnel rehearse their part in the procession through the streets of Windsor for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding.PHOTO: REUTERS

Hundreds of street parties planned, as pubs, churches also mark the occasion

LONDON • Street parties, open-air screenings and hipster bars are all offering Britons a chance to join in celebrations of the Windsor Castle wedding of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle tomorrow.

Here are five ways in which Britons are celebrating - or bemoaning - the royal nuptials:

HEN AND STAG

While Prince Harry celebrates with his brother and best man Prince William at a five-star hotel near Windsor, and bride-to-be Ms Markle enjoys the comforts of a nearby country estate with her mother, London nightspots are encouraging partying in their honour.

In trendy east London, the Bethnal Green Working Men's Club will host a "royal" hen night promising to feature the staples of such occasions, including phallic symbols and cut-outs of Prince Harry.

STREET PARTIES

Local authorities across the country have received hundreds of party applications, which allow roads to be shut and streets to be decked out with bunting. Hotspots include Richmond in south-west London, which is hosting 93 parties over the wedding weekend.

BOOZE

In a bid to generate some enthusiasm for - and economic benefit from - the big day, the government extended pub opening hours, with the industry set for a £10 million (S$8 million) boost from celebrations.

Plenty of pubs are offering up proclaimed regal fare, from high tea to gin cocktails, and many are pairing English and US themes in honour of this Anglo-American union.

GIANT SCREENS

Organisers are staging viewing areas along the procession route in Windsor and elsewhere in the town. Churches and other groups are also planning to screen the nuptials in villages, towns and cities.

REPUBLICAN CONVENTION

For those who find the royal wedding does not sit well with their politics, anti-monarchy campaign group Republic will hold its annual convention, an alliance of European republican movements, in London's financial district tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Ms Markle finally confirmed yesterday that her father Thomas would not be attending her wedding.

Mr Markle had been due to walk his daughter down the aisle, but he gave a series of contradictory statements this week about whether he would be there. TMZ.com reported he had undergone heart surgery on Wednesday.

"Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding. I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health," Ms Markle said in a statement.

"I would like to thank everyone who has offered generous messages of support. Please know how much Harry and I look forward to sharing our special day with you on Saturday."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2018, with the headline 'Britain gets caught up in celebratory mood'. Print Edition | Subscribe