Excited Bucklebury gears up for Kate's big day

Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:19am EDT
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By Stefano Ambrogi

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - As Britain prepares to celebrate the royal wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton, one place is making sure it pulls out all the stops.

The once sleepy parish of Bucklebury in Berkshire, southern England, where the bride-to-be grew up and where her parents still live, has been swept up in wedding fever.

Its population of 2,000 drawn from tiny hamlets in the heart of the English countryside -- nicknamed "Kate Middleton Country" by the press -- has been working flat out to lay on a wedding day extravaganza.

As local authorities fret over the inevitable media invasion, the burning question on everybody's lips is just how many people are likely to turn up?

"The world and his wife will be here," Wynne Frankum, chair of Bucklebury Parish Council told Reuters.

"I've no idea what will happen because we have never done it before, so this is new territory for us ... it's a once in a lifetime experience," she said.

Events begin with "wedding breakfasts" at the crack of dawn at two leafy village pubs frequented by the Middletons -- there are only three such drinking establishments in the whole of the parish.

At one, the Cottage Inn, in Upper Bucklebury, the phone hasn't stopped ringing. "It's absolutely manic," said landlord Gary Bush whose establishment will throw open its doors at 6 a.m.   Continued...

<p>Visitors leave The Old Boot Inn to board their bus during a whistlestop tour of the Berkshire childhood haunts of Kate Middleton, fiancee of Britain's Prince William, in Bucklebury February 20, 2011. REUTERS/Kieran Doherty</p>