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The Royal Wedding 2011 user guide


Here in the UK, feelings about the Royal Wedding has been typically equivocal. Our media seem hesitant to take a meaningful editorial stance, preferring to focus on Ms Middleton’s dress or nutty local council rulings on the height of bunting. Among the Great Unwashed we find opinion wavering somewhere between mild approval of the extra holiday and, um, warm approval of the extra holiday.

KK Outlet Royal Day Off plate

KK Outlet Royal Day Off plate

You will need to plan your wedding to ensure a fulfilling, hitch-free day. If you’re going to watch it on TV then you need do little more than stock up on Duchy Originals Gooseberry Posset. For those intending to see it in the flesh, here are some useful resources.

The Wedding March

If we estimate the average height of a sea of parents with small children on their shoulders at 220cm — that’s 21½ hh for you Royalists — then your first instinct must be to take the higher ground before everyone else. There aren’t many hills around Westminster, so the steps to The Mall from Carlton House Terrace would seem a good choice. However, I think that your angle of view is narrow and there will probably be a large television camera tower in situ, so you may be well advised to go directly to Buckingham Palace and see if the police will let you sit on the stone balustrade dividing Green Park from the roundabout. Bring binoculars if you want to analyse family dynamics on the Palace balcony in detail.

Update: Nikon have published a Royal Wedding photography guide and a map for (amateur?) photographers. The map doesn’t really add anything we didn’t know already but it looks pretty. The Nikon guide suggests that you charge your battery, bring a super-zoom, arrive early, take lots of pictures and don’t focus exclusively on Kate ‘n Wills. Personally, I would use a fast prime, ignore the Royal couple and concentrate on the citizens of this Sceptered Isle who will undoubtedly present you with better photo-opportunities.

For those who want to be there but can’t be bothered to camp out all night for a good location, St James’ Park seems like a reasonable option and you may spot an opening in the crowd if you are mindful. Sunny weather would make Hyde Park a pretty pleasant picnic spot for the 200,000 expected to watch the nuptials on Boris Johnson’s giant TV screens, which are also going to be installed in Trafalgar Square. Hyde Park will open at 7am for early birds and there will be a ferris wheel. The park will be free for all until it’s full, but you can pre-book the ferris wheel on the Royal Parks site which also has a useful route map.

Synchronise watches

  • 10.30: Ms Middleton exits Buckingham Palace for Westminster Abbey in the Rolls-Royce Phantom that Charles and Camilla used for their tour of the student protests, proceeding down the Mall to Horse Guards and Parliament Square, arriving at the Abbey at 11:00.
  • 12 noon: The happy couple retrace the route back to Buckingham Palace in the 1902 State Landau.
  • 13.30: The Buckingham Palace balcony kiss and wave.

The Wedding Party

Royal Wedding economy flag

Royal Wedding flag, economy version, from Greens of Gloucestershire

“Don’t listen to people who say it’s all bureaucracy and health and safety,” said PM Cameron, “If anyone wants to have a street party you don’t need a food license, you don’t need an entertainment license, you don’t need to have written documents about closing your street. … If you do want to celebrate with Catherine and with William, you should go ahead and do so.”

Except the Not the Royal Wedding family knees-up which was banned due to health & safety concerns, although the HSE begged to differ, so it may have been Shaftesbury plc who got heavy with Camden Council. There are plenty of non-radical street parties in the pipeline but actual details are sketchy, a bit of a TBA moment. So let’s highlight some events that the ordinary citizens of London didn’t organise:

V&A Friday Lates are throwing a themed ‘I Do’ wedding party on Friday night from 18:30 – 22:00 for those wishing to mix matrimonial frocks with Victoriana.

Londonist has a round-up of Alt, Anti & Actual Royal Wedding Parties and
Spoonfed has a long list of Wedding Events.

The Enchanted Palace immersive installation at Kensington Palace is arty, aristocratic and occasionally anguished, seems to be staying open for the wedding.
Westminster Abbey closes from Tuesday April 26 so do your rubbing now.

Wedding Presents

Wedding memorabilia seems to have been created mainly by pasting new heads onto Charles & Diana patterns that have been stored in dusty archives for the past 30 years, so some terribly creative people at KK Outlet have launched an ironic set of plates for designer types who would otherwise not be seen dead collecting Royal knick-knacks. Thanks For The Free Day Off plate illustrated at the top of this page is a very reasonable £20 + P&P, suggest you snap them up ASAP.

Me? I will be sitting on a fence somewhere or other.

Words: © 2011 Ken Sparkes

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