Bets and belt-tightening ahead of UK royal wedding

Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:45am EST
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By Stefano Ambrogi

LONDON (Reuters) - Royal courtiers are already pondering how to tailor the ceremony to the austere times and Britons have started betting in earnest on the likely date for the wedding of Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton.

The wedding -- which according to one estimate will boost Britain's economy by nearly $1 billion -- has been widely hailed as a welcome respite from budget cuts and belt-tightening.

But amidst the celebrations and the flood of congratulations from around the world, it has also raised the awkward question of who should foot the bill.

In their first broadcast interview on Tuesday, William, second in line to the throne after his father Prince Charles, confessed: "We're like sort of ducks, very calm on the surface with little feet going under the water."

Buckingham Palace confirmed they were due to sit down with royal advisers to work out the details, but both were tight-lipped on a likely date or whether the ceremony could be held at the kind of regal venues which hosted his father's and his grandmother's nuptials.

The queen married at Westminster Abbey. Charles and Diana tied the knot at St Paul's Cathedral in 1981.

William and Kate, both 28, have so far revealed only that the wedding will take place in either the spring or summer next year with bookmakers tipping July and August as favorites.

July 29 -- the 30th anniversary of the spectacular wedding of his parents Charles and Diana -- is another hot favorite.   Continued...