Crazy for Harry and Meghan

Wedding of prince and ac­tress brings out­sized me­dia in­ter­est

The Sun Times (Owen Sound) - - FORUM - KIRSTEN GRIESHABER

BER­LIN — Like most ev­ery­one else with a taste for fairy­tales, Ger­mans love the spec­ta­cle of a royal wedding.

But since the coun­try’s last em­peror, Wil­helm II, was forced to ab­di­cate in 1918, Ger­mans haven’t had a monar­chy of their own to fuss over and so have adopted Bri­tain’s roy­als as sur­ro­gates.

It should come as no sur­prise then that Ger­man tabloids, tele­vi­sion sta­tions and so­cial me­dia have buzzed with the lat­est de­tails of Prince Harry’s fast-ap­proach­ing mar­riage to Amer­i­can ac­tress Meghan Markle — from the wedding guest list and the bridal dress to the loaded fam­ily dy­nam­ics and the lemon elderflower cake.

Three Ger­man TV sta­tions — ZDF, RTL and n-tv — plan to broad­cast and livestream the event.

Dozens of Ger­man cor­re­spon­dents are ac­cred­ited to be on the ground in Eng­land for Satur­day’s wedding, and net­works have en­listed “royal house­hold ex­perts” to help ex­plain the in­tri­ca­cies of the cer­e­mony to view­ers at home.

Some 79 in­ter­na­tional broad­cast­ers, in­clud­ing out­lets from the United States, Aus­tralia, New Zealand and Ja­pan, are plan­ning to re­port on Markle and Harry’s wedding. More than 5,000 U.K. and for­eign me­dia and sup­port staff have cre­den­tials to cover the ac­tion in Wind­sor, a town 35 kilo­me­tres west of Lon­don that is home to St. Ge­orge’s Chapel and Wind­sor Cas­tle, where the cer­e­mony and re­cep­tion are tak­ing place.

Amer­i­cans in par­tic­u­lar — some 46 U.S. broad­cast af­fil­i­ates will cover the wedding — are ob­sess­ing be­cause the bride is one of their own. The E! TV en­ter­tain­ment net­work plans to de­vote five hours of air time to the wedding that matches a Cal­i­for­nia girl with a Bri­tish prince.

But fans in Los An­ge­les, Markle’s home­town, will have to be up early to watch the ser­vice — which be­gins at noon in Eng­land and 4 a.m. in the Pa­cific Day­light Time zone. Plenty of other ac­tion in Wind­sor — in­clud­ing the ar­rival of celebrity guests, the first glimpse of the bride in her dress and other pre-cer­e­mony hoopla — will take place hours ear­lier.

As for Ger­many, pub­lic Tele­vi­sion ZDF did not want to spec­u­late on how many view­ers may tune in. When Harry’s brother, Prince William, mar­ried Kate Middleton in 2011, 3.1 mil­lion Ger­mans watched the nup­tials live. When Harry and William’s par­ents, Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, tied the knot in 1981, some 9.3 mil­lion Ger­mans were glued to their TVs.

Sev­eral restau­rants and cof­fee shops in Ber­lin are of­fer­ing spe­cials along with pub­lic view­ings of Satur­day’s royal wedding. At the Ger­man cap­i­tal’s fa­mous Bris­tol Ho­tel, guests will be able to sip tea and munch on Bri­tish bis­cuits as the cou­ple makes their mar­riage vows.

Nearby, the Ber­liner Kaf­feeroesterei cafe plans to serve wedding cake with rasp­ber­ries and tea for $29.40 while the celebration is be­ing screened in the cafe’s li­brary room.

El­friede Reg­ner, a 73-yearold re­tiree from Ber­lin, said she watched both Charles and William’s wed­dings and will spend Satur­day in front of the TV as well.

“There’s no way in the world I’m go­ing to miss this wedding,” Reg­ner said as she walked past the city’s main train sta­tion with an um­brella in hand de­spite the sunny weather.

“Just like a real Brit,” she joked.

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