Bets and belt-tightening ahead of royal wedding

Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:17pm EST
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By Stefano Ambrogi

LONDON (Reuters) - Royal courtiers were pondering on Wednesday how to tailor the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton to the austere times and Britons began betting on the likely date for the ceremony.

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.

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

Queen Elizabeth married at Westminster Abbey. Charles and the late Princess Diana tied the knot at St Paul's Cathedral.

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.

Bookmaker Graham Hill said July was marginally ahead on 15/8 with August at 2/1.

July 29 -- the 30th anniversary of the spectacular wedding of his parents -- is another hot favorite, while the Daily Mail newspaper said royal aides had made "discreet overtures" to Westminster Abbey about the possibility of August 12 or 13.   Continued...

<p>Britain's Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton (L) pose for a photograph in St. James's Palace, central London November 16, 2010. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett</p>