Labor strife is as much a part of British life as the royals. First there were threats that British Airways and London tube (subway) workers would strike during the royal wedding. Both threats were withdrawn, but now the police are considering a strike, the Daily Star reports. The police are upset about cuts to their pay and retirement benefits. Although police do not have the right to strike, union officials are urging their members to call-in sick March 26th. If that action is successful, they may repeat the action on April 29th, union officials say. “We haven’t got the right to strike but we can make our feelings known,” said one police officer.
In other royal-related news:
– Yesterday (March 10), the official wedding website released an interactive map of the wedding route to and from Westminster Abbey. Now Google has gotten into the act. They have assembled a “3D” video of the route, which Google Earth has posted on YouTube:
“Google [has] upped the 3D quality of London along the route, so Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, the ministries along Whitehall, Horseguards’ Parade and Buckingham Palace all look more real,” the Mirror says.
– Many London hotels are offering all sorts of packages for wedding visitors. A quick summary of some of them is on the CTV News website. Among the more opulent is the special offered by The Churchill (Hyatt Regency London). Here’s what you get: a three-bedroom suite that sleeps six, which includes drawing room, dining room, kitchen, study, private gym and terraces overlooking London. A Daimler DS420 limousine, which is the sort often used by the royal family, is at your beck and call. Also, you’ll have your own private chef to prepare meals, including a banquet for ten on Saturday, April 30th, served in the suite’s dining room. For those concerned about such trifles as price, it is £30,000 ($48,000). Sound too high? Look at it this way: it’s only $8,000 per person (taxes not included).
– Blake, described as a “classical boys band,” has recorded a song dedicated to the royal couple, Sky News reports. Unlike other pop groups releasing songs about the wedding, two members of the quartet are acquaintances of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Jules Knight studied at St. Andrews University with William and Kate, and Ollie Barnes went to school with Kate.
The group acknowledges that their music is more likely to find a receptive listener in someone like Prince Charles. Asked what they suspected the younger royal couple would think of the song, Knight replied, “I’m not sure it’s their taste. Will likes cool stuff like rap.”
– The saga of the royal tea towels continues. In December, the Royal Household announced that it would not issue an official tea towel to celebrate the wedding. Protests followed and, in a rare reversal, officials said they would issue a tea towel after all. When the official tea towel was unveiled, the design was met with a collective yawn. Now Tetley Tea Co. has stepped into the breach, the Daily Star reports. Tetley uses seven animated characters to promote their Tea in the UK, and the Kate and William figures on the tea towels are drawn in the same spirit. According to the Star article, “experts reckon” 7.8 million tea kettles will be turned on after Kate and William say, “I do.”
– Given all the merchandising surrounding the wedding, it’s unusual when someone acknowledges they went too far. Russell & Bromley, a high-end UK shoe chain, apologized for placing posters in its shops of Kate wearing the firm’s brown suede ankle boots, The Telegraph reports. “We are very sorry that the posters went on display,” a Russell & Bromley spokesman said. “They were never meant to be displayed in public areas. The stores were given them so that staff would know which shoes Miss Middleton had worn, if customers asked for them.” Although prices for the boots weren’t available, a pair of sandals costs £125 ($200), and flats, £165 ($265).Read More