VisitBritain provided a traditionally English prelude to the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Friday, hosting media partners to an old fashioned lunch of roast beef with all the trimmings at Sydney’s newly opened Duke of Clarence Hotel.
Saturday’s wedding proved to be as inclusive as possible with the couple inviting more than 2000 members of public into the grounds at Windsor Castle to share in the day. Thousands of visitors also viewed the wedding procession from Windsor Castle as Harry and Meghan made their way through Windsor in a carriage into the town centre and down the Long Walk before joining their guests at the reception at St George’s Hall. The couple included a public carriage ride in the proceedings so that people were able to come together and enjoy the atmosphere of the special day.
Unsurprisingly, the royal knot-tying proved to be a boon for English tourism, with the town of Windsor the focus of the world’s eyes for the weekend. And the bevy of celebrities attending – including George and Amal Clooney, the Beckhams, Elton John, Serena Williams, Oprah Winfrey and virtually the entire cast of US legal drama Suits, ensured interest was at an all time high.
Business within Great Britain certainly enjoyed the weekend’s altered trading conditions, with pub landlords given special permission to stay open until 1am on the eve of the nuptials, as well as on the day itself. The British Beer & Pub Association estimated the extended trading hours would deliver a £10m sales boost, according to a report in The Guardian.
Airbnb, meanwhile, forecast 42,000 guest arrivals in London, bringing almost £12 million to hosts in the capital city over the royal wedding weekend. Even the relatively insalubrious town on Slough saw a 1400% increase compared to May 2017. The town of Windsor itself had an estimated 100,000 visitors over the weekend, and a spike of over 200% occupancy according to Airbnb, while nearby Maidenhead saw occupancy surge 360%.
The only drawback for Great Britain’s tourism authorities is that, sadly, it looks like this may be the last royal wedding for a little while.