Cana­di­ans ea­ger to soak in all things royal

Gar­den party at the palace fol­lows Harry and Meghan’s big day


LON­DON — Nicola Day’s flight to Lon­don will land just hours be­fore Prince Harry is set to wed Meghan Markle at Wind­sor Cas­tle, and she’s de­ter­mined not to let jet lag stand in her way.

The Kingston, Ont., res­i­dent ex­pects to spend the first hours search­ing for a place to watch Satur­day’s spec­ta­cle.

But the main rea­son she and her hus­band are head­ing to Bri­tain is for an­other royal event — a gar­den party at Buck­ing­ham Palace to cel­e­brate the work of The Prince’s Char­i­ties, which sup­ports the phi­lan­thropy of Prince Charles.

Steve Day scored an in­vi­ta­tion as a grad­u­ate of an en­tre­pre­neur pro­gram run by the Cana­dian chap­ter. The na­tional pro­gram helps Cana­dian Armed Forces mem­bers tran­si­tion to civil­ian life by of­fer­ing ed­u­ca­tion and re­sources to launch their own busi­ness.

Day is one of three Cana­dian grad­u­ates in­vited to the gar­den party on Tues­day, May 22.

“It’s all in the pri­vate por­tion of

Buck­ing­ham Palace that the pub­lic can’t get ac­cess to, so that’s why it’s kind of neat,” he says.

Word is that the new­ly­weds have re­port­edly cho­sen the cel­e­bra­tion as their first of­fi­cial event as a mar­ried cou­ple.

“I feel an affin­ity with Prince Harry as a re­tired vet who’s fought in Afghanistan. I like what he’s do­ing to sup­port veter­ans,” says Day, who spent more than a year of cu­mu­la­tive duty in Afghanistan be­tween 2003 and 2011.

Nicola Day says she’s watch­ing videos of past gar­den par­ties to nail

down the pro­to­col and is fret­ting over her at­tire.

“Let me tell you, it’s hard to find a nice hat in Kingston,” she says.

“So I may just have to look when we ac­tu­ally get to Lon­don and I’ll prob­a­bly spend a for­tune. But I may just have to do it be­cause it is a once-in-a-life­time op­por­tu­nity.”

Nicola Day says the party will in­clude high tea and a for­mal pa­rade, in which the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Corn­wall will move through the guests.

The cou­ple also hopes to hit as many tourist hot spots as pos­si­ble:

Big Ben, the Lon­don Eye, West­min­ster Abbey and the site of the wed­ding, Wind­sor Cas­tle, about an hour and 20 min­utes from down­town Lon­don by car.

The town of Wind­sor ex­pects 100,000 visi­tors to see the new­ly­weds travel in pro­ces­sion af­ter the cer­e­mony.

Ex­perts ex­pect the num­ber of visi­tors to the U.K. will in­crease af­ter the wed­ding, but some agents re­port al­ready see­ing a spike in in­ter­est be­cause of the nup­tials, ac­cord­ing to an in­for­mal sur­vey by TLNet­

A spokes­woman for Ex­pe­dia. ca says it has seen a 175 per cent in­crease year-over-year in flight search data for travel to Lon­don over the wed­ding week­end.

Cana­di­ans appear to be among those search­ing for deals.

Charles Pur­due Pulido of Straw­berry Tours in Lon­don said he has seen an in­crease in Cana­dian book­ings for his agency, which of­fers tours. He says they’ve added an early morn­ing tour Satur­day that will visit royal land­marks and con­clude with a screen­ing of the wed­ding at a pub in cen­tral Lon­don.

Vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor Christa­belle Sethna says she’ll likely catch the fes­tiv­i­ties on tele­vi­sion like most of the world, even though she is in

the U.K. for aca­demic work until the end of May.

The Cana­dian cred­its wed­ding hype with giv­ing her work­ing trip a wel­come cel­e­bra­tory boost, and can’t help but find the royal cou­ple’s Hol­ly­wood love story en­thralling.

Sethna finds her Bri­tish friends and work col­leagues rather un­in­ter­ested in the whole af­fair.

“I’m the most en­thu­si­as­tic for many rea­sons,” says Sethna, a pro­fes­sor in the In­sti­tute of Fem­i­nist and Gen­der Stud­ies at the Univer­sity of Ottawa.

And as a for­mer Toron­to­nian, Sethna says she feels “strangely con­nected” to Markle, who de­tailed her favourite Hog­town haunts on so­cial me­dia while shoot­ing her TV se­ries Suits.

“The fact that Meghan Markle ... went to yoga classes and juice bars and had a big pack of girl­friends, I think many, many women can iden­tify with her Toronto life­style,” says Sethna, who used to live in the same neigh­bour­hood linked to Markle.

“Of course, Toronto wants to feel that it’s at the cen­tre of ev­ery­thing, and be­ing from Toronto I com­pletely un­der­stand that feel­ing ... It got to be the host for this re­la­tion­ship and I think that’s won­der­ful.”


Steve Day meets with Prince Charles at CFB Tren­ton on June 30, 2017. Cana­dian visi­tors to Lon­don are ea­ger to soak in the royal wed­ding cel­e­bra­tions.

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