Britain puts royal twist on April Fools' Day
Britons faced a right royal slew of April Fool's jokes Friday, with a leftwing daily pretending to endorse the monarchy and a fake poll saying parents were renaming their children William and Kate.
Just weeks before the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Britons were also asked to believe the opposition Labour Party was holding its own street parties to mark the impending nuptials of leader Ed Miliband.
With the news dominated by the royal wedding, British newspapers and pollsters took the opportunity to poke some light-hearted fun at the mounting enthusiasm.
The left-leaning Guardian newspaper caught readers off-guard with an editorial saying it had dropped its traditional hostility to the royals.
Under the headline "The magic of the monarchy", the Guardian said it was "shaking off years of mean-spirited republicanism to acknowledge and celebrate the pivotal role played by the royal family in British national life."
"Few things, after all, are as likely to lift the spirits of Britain's embattled public sector workers or benefit claimants than the sight of Kate Middleton's sure-to-be spectacular wedding dress," it said.
Comments later in the piece about starting a 24-hour wedding blog and "recalling correspondents from some less newsworthy parts of the globe, such as north Africa" gave the game away.
Meanwhile a "survey" by pollsters ComRes said that 68 percent of people aged 16-18 had applied to St Andrews University in Scotland, where William and Kate met, "to try to find a spouse."
It also said five percent of parents had renamed their children William or Kate, while 55 percent of single women confessed to having Googled "Prince Harry marital status" to check whether William's younger brother was married.
It said the poll was commissioned by "lifestyle think-tank Folio Parl" -- an anagram of April Fool.
Budget airline easyJet joined the fun, reporting that it had discovered the newlyweds would be spending the first days of their honeymoon in Scotland, after a "Mr and Mrs Wales" bought two flights to Edinburgh.
William's official title is Prince William of Wales.
In non-royal April Fool's jokes, the right-wing Daily Telegraph said it had seen a secret Labour party memo featuring a ten-point plan to celebrate the May 27 wedding of Ed Miliband.
"As you will now all be aware, Britain will be celebrating an event even more important than the Royal wedding in London on April 29, namely, the civil ceremony uniting Ed and Justine, on May 27," said the joke email by one Flora Lopi -- another anagram of April Fool.
The Independent broadsheet reported that Portugal football star Cristiano Ronaldo was to join Spain to help ease his nation's debt crisis and Britain was to begin taxing fresh air.
It said Real Madrid winger Ronaldo had agreed to "act like a patriot" and defect to the Spanish national team, netting his debt-ravaged country 160 million euros (227 million dollars).
Mirror reporter "Flora Olip" revealed that the British government was to introduce a "gasp" bill to raise taxes from fresh air.
And the Daily Express said that a British company had developed a modified Zimmer walking frame which incorporated a skateboard for pensioners who wanted something "a little more speedy".
© 2011 AFP