updated 1 Apr 2011, 08:27
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Mon, Mar 28, 2011
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A month from British royal wedding, excitement set to build

LONDON, United Kingdom - With one month to go from Tuesday before Prince William and Kate Middleton tie the knot, royal watchers note little excitement in Britain - but believe wedding fever is just around the corner.

"Over here at the moment it's probably the least excited bizarrely," said Robert Jobson, royal commentator and author of "William and Kate: The Love Story".

"In America, it's crazy," Jobson told AFP, adding the US television network NBC were interviewing him about three times a week about Britain's biggest royal wedding for 30 years.

But he believes enthusiasm in Britain will quickly begin to mount in the coming weeks as royal officials release more news and the couple's appearances increase ahead of the April 29 ceremony.

"It's more of a slow burn, and they'll do more public appearances and so you'll get to see them more and more - and that's when the excitement will build up," he predicted.

Ever since the second-in-line to the throne William and his university sweetheart Kate announced their engagement in November after an eight-year romance, palace officials have only sparingly released information.

Visit London, the capital's tourism body, predicts that an extra 600,000 tourists will flock to London on the day of the wedding, pushing the number of visitors up to 1.1 million compared to a normal day.

But a search of the Internet reveals that there are still hotel rooms available in the city on those days.

The couple are to marry in London's historic Westminster Abbey, in Britain's biggest royal wedding since William's parents Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana married in 1981.

Kate, 29, will travel to the wedding past some of London's most historic sites in a Rolls Royce limousine.

And it will likely only be when she walks down the aisle on her father's arm that a global TV audience expected to be in excess of one billion will finally see the dress she has chosen for her big day.

William, 28, and Kate will say their vows in front of about 1,900 guests, including foreign royals, family and friends.

While guests' names have not been released, it seems certain British Prime Minister David Cameron will attend, while among the few celebrities reportedly invited are football star David Beckham and his wife Victoria.

The historic abbey will reverberate to the sound of two choirs, the London Chamber Orchestra and two fanfare teams from the Royal Air Force and the Household Cavalry.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will marry the couple and after the ceremony the newlyweds will travel back to Buckingham Palace through the streets of the capital, lined with cheering crowds.

The wedding day will be a public holiday and hundreds of thousands of people are expected to throng central London to watch the spectacle.

After the ceremony, Queen Elizabeth II will host 600 of the guests at a lunchtime reception in Buckingham Palace, and an even smaller group of 300 will attend a dinner and dance hosted by Charles in the evening.

Given the economic situation in Britain, where people are beginning to feel the effects of drastic austerity measures, the royal family and the Middletons will share the wedding costs, with the government meeting security and transport costs.

Many hope that the wedding will provide a boost for Britain after a torrid time for the country, knocked hard by a deep recession during the global financial crisis from which it is only slowly recovering.

According to consultants Verdict, the wedding is set to inject an extra ï¿¡620 million (S$1.2 billion) into the British economy.

Despite concerns over Britons' lack of enthusiasm so far, Jobson has little doubt the wedding will be a success in the end.

"We always like in Britain to sort of not get overly excited and try to make out we're not having fun, and then when it actually happens the whole place will be mobbed and everyone will be drunk and having fun," he said.

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