BBC World Service

Some British towns opt out of royal wedding celebrations

Lucy Hooker Apr 28, 2011
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BBC World Service

Some British towns opt out of royal wedding celebrations

Lucy Hooker Apr 28, 2011
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COPY

Stacey Vanek Smith: The royal wedding is this Friday in case you’ve somehow missed the news bonanza. The traditional way to celebrate an event like that in England is to throw a street party with cucumber sandwiches and Victoria sponge cakes.

But not everybody is celebrating as Lucy Hooker discovered.


Lucy Hooker: Time is running out for Pete Briggs. He’s a bookseller in Chesterfield in northern England. Briggs is offering sale-price copies of “William and Kate: A Love Story.” But even at $5 apiece, there aren’t many takers.

Hooker: Are you selling many of the William and Kate memorial books?

Pete Briggs: I bought a lot of them anticipating they’d go well, but they haven’t.

There’s isn’t much spare cash sloshing around towns like Chesterfield. In the 30 years since William’s father, Prince Charles, married Lady Diana, local coal mines have closed and jobs are still hard to find. So there’s not much enthusiasm for a party.

Steve Hill, in his 40s and out of work, says he’ll probably just watch the highlights on the TV.

Steve Hill: I remember for Charles and Diana, there was really a lot of celebration and street parties and things. But I can’t see it being the same for this one, really. A lot of people haven’t got much money, including myself. And also with the recession and with the government now sort of bringing all these sort of major cuts, I think a lot of people think, well, it’s just another waste of money, really.

The government wants people to hold traditional street parties. And while some parts of the country, especially London, are hanging out the bunting and laying on cakes, there’s only one official neighborhood celebration in Chesterfield, organized by Yvonne Stone and her husband.

Yvonne Stone: Personally, I think there is a little bit of apathy towards the royal family. But it is an historic occasion and we felt it would be nice for the children to be able to remember it, because they’ll be the generation when William will be king.

Still, most people in Chesterfield will do little more than crack open a box of royal wedding shortbread to eat in front of the TV. It might seem a shame to miss out on a party, but, with the Friday’s forecast calling for rain, it looks like the wedding’s naysayers may have made the right choice.

In Chesterfield, northern England, I’m the BBC’s Lucy Hooker for Marketplace.

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