From pies to condoms: the royal wedding cash cow

Mon Feb 7, 2011 11:45am EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - From plates and pies to underwear and condoms, retailers are gearing up to cash in on the upcoming wedding of Britain's Prince William to Kate Middleton.

Whether it's manufacturers of specialist china, or novelty items, or even the company founded by Middleton's mother, shops and businesses are looking to make the most of the couple's big day on April 29.

"Every time there's a royal wedding or a coronation or anything like that, everybody suddenly decides, I think I'll manufacture a few mugs or tea towels or whatever it happens to be," said royal biographer Christopher Wilson.

"They've been doing that for centuries. It's a boost for the economy. People will make these things and people will buy them."

Buckingham Palace has issued strict guidelines on what can and cannot be used on official souvenirs and commemorative merchandise, only allowing tea towels celebrating the engagement after protests from manufacturers.

All such items must be in "good taste," it said.

But that has not stopped a slew of unofficial memorabilia hitting the streets and internet shopping websites.

Already on offer are "Crown Jewels" condoms, featuring a picture of William and Middleton gazing into each other's eyes and bearing the famous motto, "Lie back and think of England."

"In years to come, they will be a timeless memento of a magical wedding day," said spokesman Hugh Pomfret, although would-be users might be slightly disturbed to see the condoms described a as a novelty product not intended as a contraceptive.   Continued...

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