Bookies in mood after Prince William and Kate Middleton's engagement

17th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Bookies offer odds on venues, television ratings and wedding dress designers as retail analysts predict boost to businessWill more viewers tune in than they did for Charles and Diana? Is it to be March or July? St Paul's or Wembley stadium? Unimpeded by official confirmation, betting shops were quick to exploit speculation about the royal wedding today.With news of Prince William and Kate Middleton's nuptials splashed across the world's front pages and saturating primetime TV slots in the US, Asia and Europe, anticipation of the commercial potential of the event was climbing steeply.Britain's retail analysts, souvenir sellers and hotel owners were predicting a tourist influx, and a boost to businesses. As much as 620m could be injected into the UK economy, according to Neil Saunders from Verdict, the retail researchers."It is a modest amount of good news for some retailers in these difficult times," said Richard Dodd of the British Retail Consortium. Suggestions that it would stimulate financial recovery were, however, "ludicrous", he said.At Clarence House, the prince and his bride-to-be spent the morning in discussions with royal household staff, who will organise planning of the wedding."An announcement about the venue and date will be made in due course," a palace spokesman explained, "after other members of the royal family, Mr and Mrs Middleton, and the government have been consulted." Prince William later returned to his RAF base in north Wales, where he is due back on shift tomorrow in his role as a helicopter search and rescue pilot.Tom Bradby, ITV's political editor and the first journalist to interview the pair after the announcement, suggested their preferred date would be in the spring."I think they want to have it in March," he said on This Morning. "Their people have now got to say: 'Right, now who do we invite? Do we invite the Obamas? Do we invite the Sarkozys?'"Bradby praised Middleton's performance in the interview. "I thought she did pretty well. She was very nervous," he said. "I think one of the things people have to understand is she's not a massive showboater."Some Australian commentators saw it as a blow to republican campaigners, while a headline in the Toronto Globe and Mail enthused: 'Kiss me, Kate: Rating Middleton's wardrobe'. Italy's La Stampa called William's fiancee "the Cinderella of Bucklebury" a reference to her home village in Berkshire.A video surfaced on YouTube that purportedly shows Middleton as a 13-year-old performing in a school play where a fortune teller declares that she will meet a handsome, rich gentleman who will take her to London. By coincidence, the character she marries is called William.tonight's England match against France.William Hill declared Westminster Abbey the favourite venue with odds of 8-11, followed by evens for St Paul's Cathedral, and St Clement Danes the RAF's main church at 6-1. The O2 Arena and Wembley Stadium are at 1000-1.Punters suspect July will be the most likely date. Other firms are setting odds on who will design the wedding dress. Ladbrokes is taking bets on whether more people will tune in to watch than the 32.2 million people who saw the 1966 World Cup final or the 28.4 million who saw Charles and Diana's wedding.Prince WilliamKate MiddletonRoyal weddingMonarchyBritish identity and societyOwen © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions More Feeds

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