US flush with royal wedding events for all pockets

When Britain's Prince William weds Kate Middleton on Friday, a dozen dedicated royal watchers in Denver, Colorado, will be woken up at 3:45 am to watch the nuptials on television in a hotel room.

For this, they will have paid $329 (225 euros).

At the Ritz Carlton in Washington, 15 royal wedding overnight packages have been booked so far at $429 a room, and more than 200 guests have reserved seats at the $40 royal wedding-watch breakfast that starts at 5:00 am local time.

In New York, fans of British royalty with very deep pockets could book in to a hotel in the empire of US presidential wannabe Donald Trump and catch the nuptials for more than it would cost to fly to London and back for the real thing.

For prices starting at $1,075, guests at the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Manhattan will get a (short) "night of ultimate comfort" in a renovated room, a wedding-watch breakfast from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, and the option to check out in the late afternoon so that they can nap after the nups.

For a more lasting and tangible souvenir, Americans could purchase their very own limited-edition Kate Middleton Royal Wedding Vinyl Doll from The Franklin Mint.

For $490, plus shipping and handling, the doll will come clad in a replica of the dress that Middleton will reveal to the world when she walks down the aisle on Friday, and atop a wig styled to carefully copy Kate's wedding day coiffure, the vinyl Kate Middleton will wear a tiny tiara.

Throw in another $190 for the Kate Middleton Engagement Doll wearing a knee-length royal blue dress like the one the real Kate wore when she and William announced their engagement, and The Franklin Mint will waive the shipping and handling fees.

But wait. That still makes $680 for two dolls.

As of last week, no one from The Franklin Mint had returned a call to AFP to comment on doll sales, and the wedding-watch hotel packages were far from sold out.

That could be symptomatic of the tough economic times the United States is going through, or it could be an indication that most Americans don't give a hoot about William marrying Kate half a world away.

A CBS/New York Times poll published Friday found that a plurality - 42 percent - of Americans are "paying no attention at all" to the royal wedding, compared with six percent of 1,224 poll respondents who were following it "very closely" and 22 percent who were following the nuptials "somewhat closely."

Even Golriz Moeini, a dyed-in-the-wool fan of royalty and co-owner of the White Harte pub in Woodland Hills in California, which will stay open through the night to screen the royal wedding, admitted that it is "hard to find somewhere in Los Angeles that is showing the wedding."

"And when I tweeted my intention to hold a royal wedding watch party, most people said, 'Who cares?'" she added.

Sixty people have reserved at the White Harte, where, starting at 2:00 a.m. California time, guests will nibble on typical British pub grub like sausage rolls and Cornish pasties, along with not-so-typical wedding cake and French champagne as the ceremony in London is shown live on seven televisions.

"It's so exciting. I really feel like I'm having a wedding for Kate and Will at my little pub," said Moeini, who is charging a $25 cover charge for the evening. Or morning.

If Woodland Hills is too far away but $300-$1,000 too dear, try $39 for high tea at the Seaport Hotel in Boston, which overlooks the very waters where colonists in 1773 dumped a shipment of British East India Company tea into the harbor, a first step to shaking off British rule.

Or frugal folk could head to the Boston suburb of Walpole, where couples will be able to renew their wedding vows at the British Beer Company pub - a far cry from the romance and history of Westminster Abbey where William and Kate will wed, but at least it has a British connection and there will be beer.

And not the least of the options to consider for marking the day is the free-of-charge celebration of the royal wedding on the Merriam Webster dictionary website.

The US wordsmiths are celebrating with a list of their 10 favourite (spelled that way because it's British) words from Old Blighty.

Number one on the list is "prat," which means "a stupid or foolish person".

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