The biggest wedding on the social calendar of many of the great and the good in Britain is just around the corner – Royal Wedding. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s long-anticipated royal nuptials will take place at 12.00 on the 19th May and many billions around the world are expected to watch the festivities on TV.
Some 600 lucky guests will actually be attending the ceremony at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, which will include a service by the Dean of Windsor and vows officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Around 1,200 specially selected members of the public, too, have been invited to greet the happy couple outside of the chapel.
If you’re not one of those lucky few, however, just what might the royal wedding mean to you? We’ve been pondering that exact question and have come up with ten ways that Prince Harry and Meghan’s big day could impact the Great British public. Some are obvious and some less so, some are serious and some not so much. So let’s get cracking.
Bringing Families Together
Given that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding is breaking with royal tradition and taking place on a Saturday rather than a weekday, there are sure to be plenty of families planning to get together and watch events unfold.
Royal weddings are one of very few types of events that appeal to people of all ages, so May 19th might just see entire extended families get together for the first time in a long time. Certain to put older generations in mind of crowding round a then-rare TV set to watch the Queen’s coronation, such get-togethers are sure to make for a fun and rewarding family day for many around the country.
Whilst many will indeed be joining in the fun and festivities surrounding the royal wedding, plenty of people will be impacted in a different way entirely. Those members of the British public with a less than positive view of the monarchy as an institution, for instance, are sure to be more than a little angry about events.
The royal wedding, after all, is a one-off event which is expected to cost approximately £500,000 and takes place following years of austerity cuts and belt tightening. Whilst the royal family have made the point that they – and not the taxpayer – will be paying for the wedding, republicans will surely ask where it is that their money comes from in the first place.
Keeping the Pubs Open Longer
Now that we’ve got one of the more contentious potential issues surrounding the royal wedding out of the way, let’s talk about an impact we can all get on board with. In order to help the Great British public celebrate the happy day to its fullest, the government have announced an extension to pub licensing hours for the weekend around the royal wedding.
Pubs across the land will be allowed to stay open until 1am on Saturday 19th May and Sunday 20th May, so that royal wedding parties and other celebrations, too, will not have to wrap up prematurely.
Delivering a More Modern Monarchy
As well as a number of potential short term impacts, the royal wedding might just have some longer term consequences, too. Most notably, the wedding will of course bring Meghan Markle officially into the royal family and that might just start to deliver a more modern monarchy for the British public.
In her early public engagements, after all, Meghan has already proved far more approachable and dare we say ‘normal’ than is usual for the royal family, and that can only be a good thing. What’s more, the wedding also represents a continuation of the royals’ changing attitude to divorce, by being only the second royal wedding to include a newlywed who has a living, divorced spouse.
Boosting the Tourism Industry
Having already mentioned the cost of the royal wedding, it’s only fair to talk about the positive economic impact it is also expected to have, especially when it comes to the tourism industry. Experts within that industry have expressed delight at the so-called ‘free publicity’ which the wedding will provide to Britain and similar past events have indeed delivered a notable boost for tourism.
In 2011, for example, the wedding of Harry’s brother Prince William to Kate Middleton was widely credited for a 28% surge in Eurostar cross-channel train bookings in the days and weeks surrounding the wedding. Considering that Meghan is arguably even more popular than Kate was in 2011, therefore, the royal wedding might just have those people who work in the British tourism industry laughing all the way to the bank.
Encouraging Street Parties & Boosting Community Spirit
Big national events like a royal wedding can provide a great opportunity for communities to get together, enjoy one another’s company and foster a more neighbourly spirit moving forward. Street parties that get everyone from a local area involved are the best example of how this can happen and the government are keen for such events to be held to celebrate Harry and Meghan’s big day.
Certain councils have waived the charges associated with closing roads to hold such events and Jake Berry MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State has been particularly vocal in his support of widespread partying in the streets:
‘We’ve made it easier than ever for local residents of all backgrounds to come together to celebrate the royal wedding…with the FA Cup final taking place on the same day, there’s never been a better reason to hold a street party.’
Helping to Combat Enshrined Racial Prejudice
When Prince Harry’s engagement to Meghan Markle was originally announced there was understandably a widespread and vociferous response. That response came both from the media and the general public, and some elements of it were unfortunately particularly unsavoury.
As the daughter of an African American woman, Meghan Markle was subjected to a ‘wave of abuse and harassment’ much of which was racist in nature, according to an official statement from Kensington Palace. As horrendous and unforgivable as such abuse undoubtedly is, the fact that the love between Prince Harry and Meghan has helped – and will continue to help – unmask and combat such prejudices is another crucial and positive impact of the royal wedding.
Boosting the Public’s View of the Monarchy
As we’ve already talked about, not everybody in Britain is necessarily a fan of the monarchy and the institution’s popularity in the country is actually quite fluid in nature. A royal wedding, though, is a sure-fire way for the royal family to boost that popularity and Harry and Meghan’s big day will be no exception.
Perhaps the best example of how a royal wedding can sway national opinion of the monarchy as a whole comes in the case of Prince William’s wedding in 2011. A poll held just after the marriage of Wills and Kate revealed that some 63% of people thought the country would be worse off without the monarchy. That compared to just 48% who replied similarly in a poll from 1997, when the monarchy was at its lowest recent ebb in popularity.
Raising Money for Charity
In place of traditional wedding gifts, Harry and Meghan have asked their guests and other well-wishers to instead donate to certain charities and causes close to their hearts.
Amongst those good causes, are UK and Irish based charities CHIVAS (the Children’s HIV Association), Crisis (a homelessness charity), Scotty’s Little Soldier’s (which helps bereaved children of servicemen and women), StreetGames (an organisation using sport to help children), Surfers against Sewage (which combats plastic pollution) and the UK Wilderness Foundation.
The upcoming royal wedding, therefore, will have a positive impact on many peoples’ lives thanks to the financial help it will provide to those fabulous causes.