Excitement brews in Canada ahead of royal wedding
The upcoming nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton is whipping up a frenzy in Canada which is to welcome them on their first official trip outside Britain as newlyweds.
William and Kate are to visit Canada from June 30 to July 8, two months after their wedding on April 29.
Special royal china has been ordered for a feast at the posh Windsor Arms hotel in Toronto where 1,000 are expected to follow the wedding ceremony telecast live from London's Westminster Abbey.
"At four o'clock in the morning, you'll have the live broadcast on a big screen (television) in our courtyard cafe. It comes with a traditional English breakfast," said hotel manager George Friedmann.
Guests appear to be unfazed by the five hour time difference between Canada and Britain as reservations have been brisk, he said, explaining: "Canada has a very strong connection to the royals," and Canadians are particularly fans of Prince William.
The search and rescue pilot is directly in line to become Canada's king after his father Prince Charles, the heir to the throne in the 16 Commonwealth realms, including Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
The Monarchist League of Canada boasts 30,000 members. With William and Kate's marriage fast approaching its membership has been growing by two or three new members each day, says Cian Horrobin who heads the Toronto branch.
The New Brunswick-born music student insists it is not just idle retirees or bored housewives that have shown an interest in the royals. Half of the league's members are young people like himself, he says.
Although not a diehard monarchist, forty-something Karyn Gingras is also excited in her own way about the wedding. A hatter for 20 years, she has made headpieces for Canada's first lady Laureen Harper and for Kate Middleton.
Burgundy red, sculpted to recall Canada's Rocky Mountains and topped by a nest and bird made of tissue, Middleton's hat took four months to create.
Now she just has to get the delicate piece to the future princess. "I've been in contact with the British high commission in Ottawa," she says, flanked on her studio walls by a dozen photographs of William and Kate.
For Horrobin, the excitement brewing in Canada over the wedding is due to the fact that "we've watched Prince William grow up, we've seen these two dating for a long time now and they're finally getting married."
"They've become part of our lives," he said, noting also that royal weddings are typically once or twice in a lifetime experience.
Canadians are also attached to the royal family itself, he insists. A poll last year during the visit of Queen Elizabeth II showed only 36 percent of Canadians want the queen replaced by an elected head of state, down from 43 percent in 2009.
The queen is represented in Canada by the governor general. "It's a cultural tradition that predates confederation," Horrobin said. "It means that not every aspect of our lives have to be political."
The Canadian tour by William, 28, and Kate, 29, will include Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and the capital Ottawa, said St James's Palace.
© 2011 AFP