Australian media caught up in royal wedding fever
Australians may pride themselves on their fiercely independent spirit, but the nation's media indulged royally in wedding fever Friday as Britain's future king prepared to tie the knot.
With Prime Minister Julia Gillard in London to attend Prince William's marriage to Kate Middleton, the country's newspapers devoted front pages and pull-outs to the couple's upcoming marriage.
"United in hope for their kingdom," ran the headline in the Sydney Morning Herald above a photograph of a glowing William and Kate and smaller images of the prince's hugely popular late mother, Diana.
"Today the world will see the wedding that proves that fairytales can, and do, happen," wrote Andrew Rule from London in Sydney's Daily Telegraph tabloid, which reserved its first five pages for the wedding.
"It's a Cinderella story to make Hollywood drool."
The wedding at Westminster Abbey, which takes place in the evening Sydney time, will be covered by state broadcaster ABC as well as two of the three major commercial networks, in addition to radio coverage.
Although republican sentiment is strong in Australia, Queen Elizabeth II is a much loved figure and many believe she will remain Australia's head of state until her death.
Prince William has also revived interest in the monarchy during two recent visits, showing his mother's charm while meeting with Aborigines in Sydney's infamous ghetto-like 'Block' in 2010 and with floods survivors this year.
Private parties are expected to be held in homes around the country as people watch the wedding on television, while large screens in public areas around Sydney are expected to draw those swept up in wedding mania.
"I want to see if William cries when Kate gets to the altar, and I want to see what the dress looks like," Sydney-sider Rylee Martin told the Daily Telegraph.
But she added: "All our boyfriends have decided to go to the football."
Australia is an independent parliamentary democracy that retains Britain's monarch as its head of state.
© 2011 AFP