Mixed reception as royal couple name their day

Extra bank holiday means two consecutive four-day weekends, but businesses take hit

Royal watchers, romantics and well-wishers finally have a date: the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton will take place at Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011, St James's Palace has announced.

Two thousand guests will witness the couple exchanging vows, while tens of millions will watch the event live on television. The global audience is tipped to top the billion who saw Prince Charles marry Lady Diana in 1981, making the event one of the biggest in TV history.

People in most of Britain will get a day off. Within minutes of the date being announced, the Cabinet made the day a bank holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, giving those uninterested in the spectacle a reason to be thankful – and some small firms a staffing headache, according to one business group.

The wedding takes place on a Friday and the following Monday is the May Bank Holiday so many people will be able to enjoy a four-day weekend. And with the preceding Monday being Easter Monday the working week before the wedding will be reduced to just three days.

After news of their engagement last week, speculation had been mounting about the wedding date and location. St James's Palace said the couple chose Westminster Abbey for its "staggering beauty", 1,000-year royal history and intimacy, despite its size.

The royal family – as well as the Middletons – will pay for the wedding, including the costs of the service, music, flowers, decorations, reception and honeymoon. The public will pay for policing and security, which could reach £5m.

Prince William's private secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, said the couple were "completely over the moon". "I've never seen two happier people," he said. "They're now getting stuck into organising their wedding. They're giving us and the Household office very firm direction indeed."In a nod towards global economic turmoil, he added: "All parties involved want to ensure that a balance is struck between an enjoyable day and the current economic situation."

Tourists are expected to flood into London in April, providing extra business for airlines, taxis and hotels. Verdict Research predicts that the total generated could be £620m, with merchandise sales of £26m and £360m for grocery retailers, as shoppers load up on champagne, wine and food.

But the wedding could result in a net loss to UK plc, experts said yesterday, given the CBI has calculated each bank holiday costs £6bn. But the employer's organisation put aside the concerns, saying: "The royal wedding is a day for national celebration, and under these unique circumstances a one-off bank holiday is appropriate." The Federation of Small Businesses complained the event would be awkward for small firms, particularly when workers asked for the week off.

Graham Smith, spokesman for Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, said: "The public holiday blows a hole in the idea that the wedding will be an economic boost."

29 April: Winners & Losers

Economy Estimates of revenue generated range from the Centre for Retail Research's £515m to Verdict Research's £620m. But since each bank holiday costs up to £6bn, the event is likely to be a net loss to the economy.

Tourism Foreign royal watchers have been booking up airlines and hotels. Travel agent Thomas Cook forecasts a rise in traffic the other way, as Britons make use of the extra days' holiday to jet off to Turkey, Egypt or the Canaries.

Weddings After years of decline, religious groups hope the royal entwining will revive another ancient institution: marriage. The Church of England said: "The royal wedding will remind people again of the main ingredients of a wonderful wedding – the venue, vows and vicar – which everyone can have."

The feelgood factor The wedding will lift the spirits of "people who are interested in what other people are doing," according to clinical psychologist Dr Helen Nightingale. People who are cynical about relationships are unlikely to share in the happiness, she added.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
British author Helen Macdonald, pictured with Costa book of the year, 'H is for Hawk'
booksPanel hail Helen Macdonald's 'brilliantly written, muscular prose' in memoir of a grief-stricken daughter who became obsessed with training a goshawk
Sport
footballLive blog: Follow the action from the Capital One Cup semi-final
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Teacher Required To Start ASAP.

£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough, Cam...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy