Pre-wedding poll shows support for royals

25th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

As preparations step up for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, an opinion poll Monday showed two-thirds of British people believe the country is better off because of the royal family.

However, only 37% said they were "genuinely interested and excited" by Friday's nuptials.

In bright sunshine, thousands of tourists in London took advantage of the Easter Monday holiday to flock to Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace to see the two focal points of the wedding.

The prospect of the wedding appears to have given a boost to the royal family's popularity, with 63% of those questioned in the ICM survey for The Guardian saying Britain would be worse off without the monarchy.

And 74% believe the royal wedding will give the country "a strong feel good factor", although only one third of respondents said they were "genuinely interested and excited" by the marriage.

Researchers interviewed a random sample of 1,003 adults across Britain.

After days of unseasonably hot weather, cloudier and cooler weather was spreading across Britain and forecasters said the wedding could be hit by heavy showers.

"At the moment, it is looking like temperatures will probably be a little bit above average and there is a risk of heavy showers," said Helen Rossington, senior forecaster at MeteoGroup.

William spent Sunday having lunch at the home of Kate's parents in the village of Bucklebury, southeast England, reports said, while the rest of the royal family had gathered for an Easter church service in Windsor.

The British media pored over the guest list, noting that while football star David Beckham -- who befriended William during England's doomed bid to host the 2018 World Cup -- was invited, it was confirmed there was no place for Sarah Ferguson.

The absence of the ex-wife of Queen Elizabeth's second son, Prince Andrew, will make the wedding a bittersweet occasion for their daughters Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice.

Also among the 1,900-strong congregation at Westminster Abbey will be "Mr Bean" actor Rowan Atkinson, a good friend of William's father Prince Charles.

Bahrain's crown prince on Sunday turned down a controversial invitation to the wedding to avoid causing potential embarrassment to Kate and William after protests in the Gulf kingdom were crushed by security forces in recent weeks.

Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa complained that British media had "misrepresented" his stance and "clearly sought to involve my potential attendance as a political proxy for wider matters involving Bahrain."

It also emerged that a British Guardsman, 18-year-old Cameron Reilly, has been removed from duties at the wedding of after he called the bride-to-be a "stuck-up cow" on his Facebook page.

© 2011 AFP

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