Friday, April 8, 2011

England 2011 - Day 8

When ever I go to England I always have a list of things to bring back for friends and family -- chocolates from Hotel Chocolat, sweets from Marks & Spencer, and Tesco reusable shopping bags. The list for this trip was different. With the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton at the end of the month people were asking me to bring back wedding memorabilia. I think the British have become desensitized to the impending wedding because when I asked The Boyfriend to help do some pre-shopping at before I arrived he no idea where to go. But, there are souvenirs EVERYWHERE.

Royal Wedding memorabilia

You can get the ultimate tourist versions of stuff like tea cups or tea towels or you can get the fancier versions.

Royal Wedding mugs
On the right is the Royal Collection Wedding Tankard I found at the Westminster Abbey shop and at Fortnum & Masons.
On the left is the mug from a tourist shop in Piccadilly.

Royal Wedding tea towels
On the right is a tea towel from Duty Free in the airport.
On the left is a tea towel from Cath Kidston.

There are so many products commemorating this wedding that it is a bit ridiculous ... chocolates with the couples faces imprinted on them, tree ornaments, Union Jack flags with their photos in the middle, magnets, key chains, wall posters, etc. Some of the stuff at the tourist shops are so poorly made that the images dodn't even look like Prince William or Kate, yet people were buying them! The British people should thank the obsessed foreigner who buys a suitcase full of royal wedding memorabilia because those people are helping to keep the British economy and tourist industry going!

So why the obsession fascination? I believe it is because England (even with the anti-royalists) maintains an active monarchy while America doesn't have REAL royalty. The idea of kings, queens, princes and princesses are only in fairy tales and Disney movies for us. My daughter LOVES the fact that there is a REAL prince and (soon to be) princess, so even I got a little caught up in the excitement of a royal wedding. I didn't go overboard, but I did pick up a canister of the Fortnum & Mason royal wedding tea blend and a cute "Princess in the making" shirt for my daughter. I even took Princess D to Westminster Abbey so she could see where the wedding will be taking place, and you can bet I will be recording the ceremony!