Britain prepares for nationwide royal wedding bash

Fri Mar 4, 2011 7:03pm EST
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By Mike Holden

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Thousands of Britons are planning to get out the bunting, balloons and fold-up tables and hold street parties across the country to celebrate next month's wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

About two thousand requests have already been made to local councils for road closures to allow street events to be held on April 29th when the couple tie the knot at London's Westminster Abbey, the Local Government Association said on Saturday.

London has received the most applications with 70, followed by Essex, the county northeast of the capital, which has had 46. Dozens of requests have also been sent to local authorities in Wales, western, northern and central England.

"Street parties are an established part of British culture, they're a great way for people to meet their neighbors and strengthen community bonds," said Chris White, chairman of the LGA's Culture and Tourism Board.

"It's great that we're seeing such community spirit sweeping the nation. And these applications are only for parties which require a road closure, there will be many more celebrations in gardens and homes across the country."

In order to help, some councils have waived the usual fee to close roads while others are offering party packs for organizers, with free bunting and flags.

"The eyes of the world will be on William and Kate on April 29 and I am sure that many Britons will use the excuse to celebrate," said Claudia Joseph, author of "Kate: The Making or a Princess."

"After all it is a public holiday -- and everybody loves a party."   Continued...

<p>Britain's Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton listen to speeches during their visit St. Andrews University in Fife, Scotland, February 25, 2011. REUTERS/Toby Melville</p>