It's official! "Kate and William Mania" has taken hold everywhere. While we can understand the fascination throughout the United Kingdom with the upcoming royal wedding, it seems, stateside, we are also gaga over the royals.
And that is a very good thing for the recession-weary because the royal wedding means serious cash in the form of jobs created to make the "big day" a memorable one. Estimates vary about the total tally for England, but some are predicting up to £1 billion (about $1.5 billion U.S.) in extra tourist revenues and memorabilia sales.
If that sounds crazy, consider the kinds of jobs created by this international event.
The ceremony itself, at Westminster Abbey on April 29, will feature two choirs, one orchestra, two fanfare teams -- and that's just musicians. The audio for the entire ceremony, including the vows, will be released by Decca Records and available immediately after on iTunes.
And, speaking of Westminster Abbey, it will take teams of cleaners and assorted personnel working round-the-clock to polish the brass and make the historical landmark shine.
The 1,900 wedding guests will have to be put up somewhere, so hooray for the hoteliers, restaurants, nightclubs, spas, manicurists, hairstylists, limousine services, security staff, police services and assorted local businesses. And don't forget to factor in the food- and lodging-related expenses of the tens of thousands of tourists who simply must be there!
London homeowners are sure to cash in, too. With a finite amount of hotel rooms, Londoners are opening their houses as AOL News reports:
"One person planning to profit from the royal rental boom is Edward Turner. The 44-year-old lawyer owns a three-bedroom flat in a Victorian apartment block in west London's desirable Kensington neighborhood -- a 15-minute subway ride from the heart of the city. "The apartment would normally rent for £900 [$1,500] a week, so we're looking for at least one and a half times that, or maybe more."
If an entire apartment is out of the question, there are also individual rooms available, and these come with a royal extra, as this Londoner put it:
"There'll be bunting, pots of tea, cucumber sandwiches and pictures of the queen above the fireplace."
Now, can we talk REALLY BIG money, as in $930 million? That's how much it is estimated that royal wedding memorabilia will bring in for Britain. Interestingly the royal family does draw the line when it comes to where the couple-of-the-day can be (ab)used. William and Kate's faces can be seen imprinted on: cases for iPhones, porcelain plates, tea cups and assorted silverware, head scarves, wall hangings, cushions and carpets. No-nos include: clothing and textiles, including aprons, tea towels or drying cloths.
However, the royals did not foresee the hue and cry over the tea towels. After manufacturers raised a ruckus, the palace backtracked and allowed them with one caveat: only William and Kate's initials, not their faces or coat-of-arms can be used. Cost of tea towel: £8 ($12).
Black marketers are clapping their hands with glee, though, as they churn out T-shirts, underwear and even condoms adorned with William and Kate's faces.
Others who will benefit, big-time, from memorabilia mania:
Publishers. In one example, author Roger Hargreaves, of the popular children's book series 'Mr. Men,' introduced a new character, Little Miss Princess. The new Little Miss will appear in two new books -- 'Little Miss Princess' (already on bookshelves) and 'Little Miss Princess and the Very Special Wedding,' a coloring and sticker storybook, on sale in early April.
The New England Genealogy Society is also making its mark, stateside. They have released "The Ancestry of Catherine Middleton," claiming that Kate and George Washington are distantly related. Sale price - $29.95.
And, in an admittedly brilliant public relations move, author Alison Jackson's book, "Wills And Kate Up The Aisle" which parodies the royal event, used April Fool's Day to promote her book. Using two actors eerily resembling the royal couple, Jackson's stunt was an international success.
Appliance manufacturers: Admittedly among the silliest offerings -- refrigerator doors featuring the couple's faces. Salesmen everywhere are grinning as loyalists trade in their old appliances for a royal presence in their own kitchens!
Garden decoration manufacturers: Since this is England, no garden will be complete without garden gnomes. And, yes, there are Kate and William garden gnomes waiting to greet you as you dig in the dirt.
The Royal Mint is also cashing in with a special "Royal Coin."
The Royal Mail has issued limited-edition stamps bearing the engaging engagement photos of Will and Kate.
The Royal Cake has been assigned to lucky baker, Fiona Cairns, who will make traditional, brandy-flavored only-as-the-English-will-make-it fruitcake. The choice of cake was a surprise to many, but William soothed the masses by requesting a chocolate "groom's cake" to be baked by the famous British biscuit company, McVitie's.
Finally, one website found a clever way to not "make" money and yet, satisfy all those women longing to be Kate. Links London are giving away Middleton's white topaz teardrop earrings, seen in the engagement portraits. Of course, to enter, you must visit their website....can we say, traffic jam?
A break for average Joes
Working-class English citizens will also benefit financially from this big event. April 29 has been declared a bank holiday, which means that most workers will have the day off. Those in industries that cannot close down will still benefit in a big way as this poster on London's The Telegraph website commented:
"For someone like me who works in retail, [a] bank holiday means double pay or time and a half, not the day off. So as it is a formal public bank holiday I think people will just be pleased to earn double pay ... I for one am ecstatic."
Even public spaces such as parks are grabbing their share of the royal money pie. One area, Clapham Common, will be turned into a campsite for three days, broadcasting the wedding on giant screens, with capacity for 10,000 people. Luxury Tipis (tee-pees) on the grounds will cost £2,000 ($3,500) to rent out.
Ka-ching! Ka-ching! Tally-ho! Off to London, we go!
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