LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Britain’s royal wedding is off! Oh no it’s not, it’s an April Fools’ joke.
The big royal occasion later this month was the top target for traditional April 1 pranks in the press on Friday, including bride-to-be Kate Middleton shopping for baby clothes and the left-leaning Guardian joining the pro-monarchy bandwagon.
Beyond the royal nuptials, British tycoon Richard Branson has snapped up Pluto in a bid to reinstate it as a planet while his Virgin Atlantic airline will encourage first class travelers to grow their own vegetables on long-haul flights.
And the Daily Telegraph reported a “secret memo” about Labour Party plans to hold royal wedding-style street parties to mark the upcoming marriage of its leader Ed Miliband on May 27.
In terms of journalistic resources, few put in as much effort as the Guardian, traditionally a bastion of royal-bashing republicanism.
“In something of an about turn, the Guardian today pledges its ‘full throated support’ for the monarchy,” it said in its online edition, which features a comprehensive live blog poking fun at rival newspapers and broadcasters.
It includes a photograph of Prince William’s best man and brother Prince Harry holding “what appears to be a draft of his best man’s speech” which refers to an incident involving a goat and royal pal Guy Pelly at the exclusive Bouji’s nightclub.
A Breaking News headline at 10:11 a.m. declared the royal wedding was off, but four minutes later a “Correction” informed readers that it was on.
Most readers were in on the joke, but those in two minds might refer to the blog heading in Latin: “Sis tranquillus est iocum.” Fret not, it’s a joke.
The Daily Mail has a Middleton look-a-like studying infants’ clothes a month before she gets married. The photographer was “Will Sandkate.”
On a half-page advertisement in the Guardian, BMW refers all queries regarding its special Royal Edition M3 Coupe to firstname.lastname@example.org.
An emailed request for comment from Reuters elicited the following response from the BMW team:
“Thank you for your interest in the BMW M3 Royal Edition. We would be delighted to send you more details about the model if it weren’t for the fact that it was an April Fool’s joke.”
Branson was arguably the day’s most outlandish prankster with an interplanetary deal.
A statement from his Virgin Group said he planned to bulk up Pluto’s planetary mass in order to have it reinstated as a planet after its ignominious downgrade to dwarf planet in 2006.
The mission was to “set an example for struggling entrepreneurs facing setbacks.”
Low cost airline Ryanair promised to introduce “child free” flights from October in what most people assumed was a joke.
However, the idea of a peaceful journey clearly appealed to some online commentators reacting to the “story.” “All airlines should offer child-free flights. If you have ever flown for six hours with some brat kicking the back of your seat the whole way, then you would agree,” wrote “PM62” on USA Today’s website.
Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato