BBC News

Windsor 'royal weddinged out' as it braces for second marriage

By Adam Whitty
BBC News

Related Topics
  • Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
image captionBunting still lines the streets of Windsor, but does the town care about a second royal wedding?

In May, Windsor felt like the centre of the world as the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex took place.

Thousands stood behind the barriers lining the streets on the day Prince Harry and Meghan Markle exchanged vows, and the Berkshire town seemed to relish the attention of an estimated 1.9 billion people watching on television.

Five months later, a second royal couple are tying the knot - Princess Eugenie and her wine merchant beau Jack Brooksbank - and Windsor is once again the venue.

But after having one of the events of the decade on its doorstep so recently, can the small town get itself excited again for royal wedding fever?

"There isn't the same buzz about the place," says Alice Thompson, who lives and works near the centre of town.

I ran into her on one of Windsor's main thoroughfares, Peascod Street, one of the few places adorned with bunting.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionMore than 100,000 people lined the streets of the town in May for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Windsor's famous castle was surrounded by cheering crowds, flags and security barriers in May - but now it is looking, well, normal.

Gift shops are certainly not teeming with Eugenie and Jack merchandise, either.

"Everyone's a bit over it," Alice adds. "I don't really think anyone in the town is discussing it."

You could argue they should. The Royal Family will be out in force for the wedding, and the police have estimated they will spend £2m on security.

'Everyone is over it'

The sense of grandeur will not be missing, with the ceremony taking place at the historic St George's Chapel - the same venue as for Harry and Meghan - before Eugenie and her new husband ride in a carriage procession through the streets of the town.

But local councillors have reportedly been told to expect only a modest turnout compared with the 100,000 earlier in the year.

You got a sense among some local businesses that the big event has already come and gone.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionOn the left are what Windsor looks like this week, on the right, the huge preparations that took place before the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wed

To celebrate Harry and Meghan's big day, The Three Tuns Pub - a stone's throw from the castle - was renamed The Prince Harry.

"It was absolutely crazy when Harry got married," says landlady Kelly Carpenter. "But nobody is really bothered this time. I don't think anybody knows who she is?

"It could be something of a nothing to be honest, particularly if it rains."

Mrs Carpenter said she wasn't expecting a big day of business on Friday and certainly had no intention of renaming her pub The Princess Eugenie.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe Three Tuns pub in Windsor was renamed "The Prince Harry" as the crowds and media descended on the town in May

Two other people on the Long Walk, where thousands of picnickers waited five months ago to cheer on the royal carriage, were equally scathing.

"I didn't even know about it until I read the paper this weekend - and I live in [neighbouring town] Maidenhead," said one.

"I think we are a bit 'weddinged out'," said another.

image copyrightJonathan Brady
image captionJack Brooksbank and Princess Eugenie are to marry on Friday 12 October

Logistics for the day are much simpler than on 19 May, it seems.

Windsor and Maidenhead council has simply warned tourists to be mindful car parks in the town centre may be very busy, while train operators are planning a normal Friday service.

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A look online will show hotel rooms are still available in the town, when for Harry and Meghan's big day they were sold out at extortionate prices, while the wedding will only be broadcast by one TV channel, ITV, and will not be on the BBC.

One person who feels positively about the wedding is Sam Qadir, who sells royal-themed gifts.

image captionSam Qadir is expecting a shipment of Princess Eugenie gear, but says the Harry and Meghan merchandise still sells well

Mr Qadir, who manages the King and Queen gift shop, opposite Windsor Castle, said he was expecting a lorry-load of Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank merchandise.

"Lots of people are excited about it," said Mr Qadir. "Because there is another wedding, we expect lots of people to suddenly visit the town.

"It will advertise the town well, make it busy and create a buzz here."

Mugs featuring a portrait of the pair are expected to do very well, apparently, as is princess-branded tea.

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