The Royal Wedding: Tat For Tits

If the Royal Wedding is going to be remembered for one thing, it's not the crowds, it's not the dress and it's definitely not the big day, it's the country's hideous attempts to cash in...
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If the Royal Wedding is going to be remembered for one thing, it's not the crowds, it's not the dress and it's definitely not the big day, it's the country's hideous attempts to cash in...

Have you checked the TV schedules lately? Virtually every show with more than 11 viewers (sorry Vanessa) has opportunistically tweaked its format to incorporate some tenuous Royal Wedding connection.

Come Dine With Me is doing a special street party edition, attempting to relive those simpler times when all it took was a few bottles of dandelion & burdock and some crepe paper tablecloths to bring people together. These days, we’re so busy suspecting the bloke next door of being a paedophile or a member of a sleeper cell, that we’ve forgotten neighbours should be, well, neighbourly.

Fancy a bit more drama, and a little less bunting? Well, there’s a Don’t Tell The Bride live special, as another clueless groom tries to convince himself that his future Mrs will love a wedding dress with Adidas stripes down the side. And don’t forget those lovable travelling folk, revelling in the kind of ostentatious nuptials that make William and Kate’s big day look like a couple of Ginster pasties on the road to Gretna.

The list goes on and on. Giles Coren and Sue Perkins are looking back at 500 years of royal marriages, there’s a Friends marathon with all the wedding episodes back-to-back, and The Royal Wedding Crashers promises to “deconstruct the hype and build-up to Kate and Wills’ big day”. It’s clear that where marriage is concerned, there’s a thin line between sanctity and insanity.

But, what can you do? The royal wedding is big news. And with analysts predicting a half-billion pound boost for UK retailers over the long weekend, it’s big money too. Not that this should come as any surprise to the ingenious entrepreneurs who’ve been making money off the big day for months. Here are my three nominations for opportunistic money-spinner of the year…

"Crown Jewels Royal Wedding Souvenir Condoms are a novelty condom not suitable for contraception or protection against STDs." So they look the part, but are largely useless. On second thoughts, maybe they're an effective reminder of the happy couple after all.

Gone walkabout

If you missed Five’s momentous broadcast of the William & Kate TV movie at the weekend, count yourself very lucky and book yourself a place on the royal love story walking tour instead.

For just £15 you could traipse around the streets of the capital and visit such historical landmarks as Mahiki, where William once declared his reinstated bachelorhood when the couple temporarily split in 2007. Or how about the branch of Jigsaw on Dover Street, where Kate briefly worked as an accessories buyer? Failing that, there's the offices where Kate's great-grandfather used to work as a solicitor. Tony Robinson must be wetting himself.

To be honest, most of the other stops on the tour are more concerned with Charles and Diana. Even Camilla gets a mention or two along the way. Because, any way you slice it, the young couple simply haven't had the chance to accomplish that much in their young lives. Like Justin Bieber's recent autobiography, it's a little too soon to try and piece together a narrative around a story short enough to be told in real time.

Memorabilious

If you don’t fancy wandering the streets and swotting up on the greatest love story ever shouted at you by a bored tour guide, you could always buy a glorious piece of cheaply manufactured tat instead. Commemorative plate-makers have been rubbing their hands together at the prospect of the imminent ‘I-do’s, ever since William first popped his cherry. But now, other canny industrialists are looking for a piece of the hot royal action.

Perhaps the most eye-rolling addition to the ever-expanding line-up is the now notorious range of 'Crown Jewels' condoms. For just £5.00, you can vicariously participate in the Royal deflowering with a "triumvirate of regal prophylactics". Alright, so you can't eat a sandwich off them and you wouldn’t want to hang them in the dining room, but just think of the stories you could tell the grandkids. You know, once you stop using condoms.

The official website declares that the 'boîte de capotes' combines "the strength of a Prince with the yielding sensitivity of a Princess-to-be" and "includes a collectable portrait of the Royal Couple as they might appear on their wedding day" although, hopefully, not in flagrante. Not everyone’s impressed though. Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty Magazine, has criticised the condoms as "completely tasteless and rather hurtful". Perhaps she was hoping they'd be ribbed, lubed and flavoured for her pleasure?

Before you get too excited, it's worth pointing out the website's disclaimer: "Crown Jewels Royal Wedding Souvenir Condoms are a novelty condom not suitable for contraception or protection against STDs." So they look the part, but are largely useless. On second thoughts, maybe they're an effective reminder of the happy couple after all.

There’s a Friends marathon with all the wedding episodes back-to-back, and The Royal Wedding Crashers promises to “deconstruct the hype and build-up to Kate and Wills’ big day”. It’s clear that where marriage is concerned, there’s a thin line between sanctity and insanity.

The Little Princesses

Kate may have landed her prince, but what about all the other little girls who grow up dreaming that some day, theirs will come too? For the majority, that dream begins and ends in the costumes aisle of Toys R Us. A cheap polyester Cinderella gown is all that most kids need to indulge in their juvenile royal fantasies.

But in lieu of an actual fairy godmother, parents with plenty of disposable income and a serious interest in their daughters’ marriage potential, are taking matters into their own hands.  They’re happily spending over £2,500 on a new prep school experience that teaches their little bundles of high-maintenance joy how to be a real princess.

The Kensington-based summer camp shows kids from eight to 11 the ‘art’ of being a royal. Instead of focusing on managing infidelity, hiding an eating disorder and smiling beneficently at tramps, the course offers lessons in good manners, horse riding and the perfect curtsey. And they get to drink a lot of tea. However, even the royal family has to adapt, so some traditional aspects of monarchical living have been replaced with more contemporary scenarios. In addition to lessons in royal history and philanthropy, the girls will be educated in “phone and iPod etiquette”. That means no ‘God Save the Queen’ ringtones or asking Her Majesty if you can borrow her USB charger.

If you’re not creeped out by the idea of an eight year-old girl practising how to deal with boredom, awkward moments and coughing fits, consider the fact that they have to do it in front of 33 year-old Sloaney wearing a paper plate with the Queen’s face printed on it.

The course seems to be a big hit with tiara-loving tweens, so its creator Jerramy Fine is now working on expanding her curriculum. For an authentic royal experience, she may want to cover off seat-belt safety, tipping protocol at The Box, and how to spot a tabloid sting.

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