London prepares for a royal wedding

Prince William and Kate Middleton pose for photographs in the State Apartments of St James Palace on November 16, 2010 in London, England. After much speculation, Clarence House today announced the engagement of Prince William to Kate Middleton. The couple will get married in either the Spring or Summer of next year and continue to live in North Wales while Prince William works as an air sea rescue pilot for the RAF. The couple became engaged during a recent holiday in Kenya having been together for eight years.

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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: There's a new happy couple whose pictures are plastered all over global newspapers. Prince William and his future bride, Kate Middleton. Today the couple will sit down with royal advisers to begin planning their wedding next year. But many Brits are already wondering how much it's going to cost -- that pomp and circumstance -- and whether it's appropriate in a time of austerity.

The BBC's Rebecca Singer reports from London.


REBECCA SINGER: When Prince Charles and Lady Diana married 30 years ago, one estimate put the cost at $50 million for the event. But today attitudes have changed towards extravagant Royal spending.

A royal spokesman has been quick to say that William and Kate will be "mindful of the economic situation" as they plan their big day. Mark Niemierko is a luxury wedding planner based in London whose couples spend on average half a million dollars. He says he doesn't expect it to be overly ostentatious.

MARK NIEMIERKO: For sure they'll probably go all out for the ceremony, and amazing ceremony that I'm sure thousands of people will be invited to. Which the nation will need and will want. But I also feel there'll be more intimate aspects to their wedding day for sure.

Royal weddings are typically paid for by the British taxpayer -- but there are already calls for Prince Charles to foot the entire bill for the wedding from his personal fortune.

But there's also a lot of excitement about what sort of boost this could give the nation at a rather gloomy time.
Niemierko says the wedding industry will profit from couple wanting to copy the Royal stationery, dress and party ideas.

Also, with billions of viewers from across the world expected to watch the Royal wedding on TV, it could also be great publicity for British tourism.

In London, I'm the BBC's Rebecca Singer for Marketplace.

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