Royal Roundup: In First Canada Visit, Royal Couple Will Skip Toronto
On their first state visit as royal newlyweds, William and Kate will be going to Canada from June 30 to July 8. The trip will take them to Ottawa, Alberta, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories and Quebec. But the itinerary does not include Toronto, Canada’s largest city. Torontonians believe they have received a royal snub. When the Toronto Star investigated why their city was overlooked, they received a classic bureaucratic response. A royal spokesman said to ask the Canadian government, and the Canadian government said to ask the royals. Most likely, as the newspaper reluctantly conceded, Toronto has had its fair share of royal visits lately. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip toured Toronto last summer and Prince Charles and Camilla visited the year before.
In other royal news:
– Unlike most couples, Kate and William don’t have to choose whether their wedding will be videotaped, photographed or both. An estimated 1 billion people will watch the wedding on television. At least they can select the photographer. The official “royal snapper” is Hugo Burnand, the London Evening Standard reports. A well-known society photographer, Burnand is no stranger to the royals. He has taken pictures of William and Harry, and was commissioned by Prince Charles for his official 60th birthday portrait in 2008. Nonetheless, the pick was something of a surprise. The prevailing view was that the job would go to Peruvian fashion photographer Mario Testino, who was widely praised for his engagement portraits of William and Kate.
– Even Ladbrokes, the famous British bookmaker, is gripped by wedding fever. New subscribers to Ladbrokes’ website are offered a free £25 ($40) wager on any aspect of the royal nuptials, GamblingKingz.com reports. What color hat will the Queen wear? The odds are blue, at 3:1; pink, 5:1; purple, 7:1; and even black, at 25:1.
– Plans for wedding celebrations in Kate’s home village of Berkshire are well under way, BBC News reports. Locals should brace themselves for the sound of bells; the set at the local church are scheduled to peal for three hours. The Bladebone Inn, a pub “just a stone’s throw from the Middleton family home,” will have a special celebration. Perhaps the best party will be outdoors. The local park is having live music, entertainment and a hog roast.
– Is humbug your response to the royal wedding? No problem. Avoid the wedding hoopla and go camping in Wales. The Balchder Cymru campsite will stage an “Escape the Wedding Camp” weekend from April 28 to May 1. “Not everybody is over the moon that these two are getting married,” organizer Adam Phillips told myjoyonline.com. The campsite has showers, bathrooms and hot water. The royals are taking the wedding alternative in stride. “Other people are allowed to spend their time any way they want. We basically wouldn’t want to comment,” a spokesman said.
– Gardening is something of a national sport in England. And if there are gardens, there are – yes – garden gnomes. And if there are garden gnomes…well, you know the rest. Retailer B&Q is selling bride and groom gnomes to mark the royal wedding, The Mirror reports. The gnomes, in full bridal gear and sporting hats with the Union Jack, are not replicas of William and Kate, but “match the spirit of the event.” The gnomes sell for ₤20 ($32) a pair.
– Perhaps the third time will prove the charm for Earl Spencer, William’s uncle. The Earl, Princess Diana‘s brother, has announced his engagement to Karen Gordon, a charity worker, BBC News reports. This is the third marriage for Spencer, 46. The private wedding is set for June 18, only weeks after William’s.