British royal street parties set, but not for all

Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:07pm EDT
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By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) - About 5,500 street parties will be held across Britain to toast next Friday's wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, although the royal nuptials appear to have failed to excite locals in east London.

Applications for road closures to hold the traditional celebration of state occasions have flooded into councils across the country, and officials say more affluent southern England appears to be more royalist than the poorer north.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said many councils had been inundated with requests for parties, in which streets are adorned with bunting and flags, while locals erect folding tables in the road to share food and drink.

However, the east London borough of Barking and Dagenham, a diverse, working-class area home to many poorer people of immigrant origin, has not received a single application.

"There are a few things going on like parties in community halls, but we haven't had any applications to close roads," a spokesman for the council said.

"We haven't been offering funding for help with royal wedding street parties. That may be a reason."

Across the capital as a whole, there will be more than 800 such parties while the southeastern counties of Surrey, Hertfordshire and Kent, which surround London, have between them also received several hundred requests.

The figures indicate there was less enthusiasm for the community get-togethers outside major cities in the north.   Continued...

<p>A tourist photographs Union flags hung along Regent Street in celebration of the forthcoming royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton in London April 19, 2011. REUTERS/Toby Melville</p>