Stags and screens: Britain braced for wedding revelry
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 Meghan Markle on Saturday.
Here are five ways Britons are celebrating — or bemoaning — the royal nuptials:
Hen and stag
A pre-wedding night out — known as a stag-do for the groom and a hen night for the bride — is a well-observed tradition in Britain, regardless of your nobility.
So while Harry celebrates with his brother and best man Prince William at a five-star hotel near Windsor, and brideto-be Markle enjoys the comforts of a nearby country estate with her mother, London nightspots are encouraging partying in their honor.
In Shoreditch, a venue housed in a pop-up mall of shipping containers will stage its own version of Harry’s stagdo. It will feature royal wedding DJ hopeful Jevanni, who slipped the prince his business card during the couple’s visit to a radio station in Brixton, south London.
England and Wales have a proud history of staging street parties, which started as “peace teas” following World War I as a treat for children in days of hardship, and have evolved into a tradition on national days of celebration.
Hot spots include Richmond in southwest London, which is hosting 93 parties over the wedding weekend.
Scots appear less enthused by the occasion, with just one reported street party taking place, in the town of Elgin in the northeast.
Alcohol and British royal weddings appear to go handin-hand, and this year — which coincides with England’s FA Cup soccer final — will likely be no exception.
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 pound ($13.5 million) boost.
Organizers are staging viewing areas along the procession route in Windsor and elsewhere in the town, while churches and other groups are also planning to screen the nuptials in various villages, towns and cities.
Hundreds of people are expected in Kensington Gardens, just next to where the couple will live in Kensington Palace, at an open-air screening.
For those who find the royal wedding does not sit well with their politics, anti-monarchy campaign group Republic are holding their annual convention — an alliance of European republican movements — on Saturday in London’s financial district.