The Royal Wedding 2011 user guide

17 Apr , 2011  

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.

'Thanks for the day off' royal wedding 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.

Synchronise watches
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 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.

View the Royal Wedding route in 3D

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.

The Wedding Party

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.

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: © Ken Sparkes. All Rights Reserved
(for Accommodate London)

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