Royal watchers who didn’t make the guest list for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s nuptials can take heart: the event will be celebrated in style in Victoria, that most English of Canadian cities.
The century-old Fairmont Empress Hotel, which has been visited by Queen Elizabeth six times throughout her reign, is hosting several events for the occasion, including a dinner served on fine bone china that until now was reserved exclusively for royal visits.
Taking place in the elegant Empress Room on April 29 and 30, the $150-per-person dinner will include a selection of dishes from royal menus that the Queen herself dined on during her visits.
But far more affordable is the hotel’s $39 “Rise and Shine with the Royals” beginning at 3 a.m. (PDT), just as, across the pond, guests start arriving at London’s Westminster Abbey for the wedding.
The event includes a live broadcast of the ceremony and a traditional English breakfast buffet served until 11 a.m. Hotel guests may attend in their pyjamas and bathrobes if they so desire.
Celebrations continue throughout the day with a “Picnic Afternoon Tea” on the front lawn of the hotel, which includes a dog show and a contest for best dressed dog. No doubt there will be some corgis in the running.
On April 30 and May 1 there will be a “Royal Celebration Tea” served on an upgraded tea service along with a glass of sparkling wine in The Library.
The town of Sidney, 20 minutes from Victoria, is also getting in on the celebrations.
Back in February, Sidney’s town crier announced a “Royal Wedding Week” from April 24-30 that includes a rebroadcast of the wedding ceremony along with both a breakfast and a noon brunch on April 30 at the local community centre.
Guests are encouraged to don their best finery, uniforms and medals are to be worn, and Union Jack flags will be flying. Preceding the brunch, couples are invited to renew their wedding vows in Beacon Park on the waterfront.
Meanwhile, with royal wedding fever peaking in the U.K., Irish bookmaker Paddy Power is reporting record levels of betting on the nuptials from people around the world.
So far almost 5,000 bets have been wagered with the bookmaker on a diverse range of royal wedding topics, including how late the bride-to-be will arrive at the church, the colour of Queen Elizabeth’s hat, and the big one—the designer of Middleton’s wedding gown.
Sarah Burton for the Alexander McQueen Fashion House has long been considered the hot favourite, but has drifted in the betting amid rumours she may instead be designing Middleton’s evening dress, according to a press release from Paddy Power.
Little known designer Sophie Cranston at Libelula is now the 5/4 joint favourite alongside Burton amidst reports that fashion-savvy Middleton designed her wedding dress with Cranston, whose creations have been worn by the likes of Emma Watson and Jerry Hall.
With the level of bets the biggest for a one-off event since the bookie took wagers on who would be the new Pope in 2005, Paddy Power anticipates close to one million British pounds being gambled on the royal wedding across the whole betting industry, according to the release.
About 1,900 guests are expected at the wedding, including 50 members of the British royal family and about 40 representatives of foreign royal families, as well as military personnel and charity workers.
Prince William has admitted he is having pre-wedding jitters and sleepless nights worrying about “the whole thing.”
He told The Telegraph that getting married in front of hundreds of guests—not to mention an estimated worldwide TV audience of a billion—was “quite a daunting prospect.”