Across the nation they rallied to the occasion – even some republicans joined in

Around the country

Jonathan Brown
Saturday 30 April 2011 00:00
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Even republicans got in on the act. Amid all the bunting, brass bands and sausage rolls marking the betrothal of the next-but-one king and his queen, there were spirited counterblasts in the form of Not The Royal Wedding parties in Hebden Bridge, Bristol and London.

But they were in the minority. Although it looked at times over the past few months as if apathy might have carried the day, large numbers from all corners of the realm found themselves swept along with the spirit of the occasion, rekindling memories of past royal celebrations that, following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, many believed might never be repeated.

Nowhere were the celebrations more intense and traditional than in the new Duchess of Cambridge's home village of Bucklebury, Berkshire, where hundreds packed into her former local pub and enjoyed Morris dancing and lamb racing on the green.

Those who gathered in Liverpool, where a giant screen had been erected at Chavasse Park, were disappointed when a technical fault blacked out proceedings at the crucial moment. There were no such problems in central Manchester, where the ceremony was relayed live to hundreds, who cheered as the couple exchanged vows.

In the West Country, revellers began gathering at 6am at the newly restored Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare while in Plymouth, Devon, 1,000 gathered on Armada Way to watch the ceremony, setting out deck chairs and picnic tables. At Ventnor on the Isle of Wight a royalist, Anne Turner, painted the side of her terraced home with a giant mural of the happy couple.

In Alcester, Warwickshire, around 4,000 people gathered for a mass picnic and to witness members of the town's manorial court parade through the town in ceremonial regalia. It was a similar story across England. Even in Hull, which had been due to stage no street parties whatsoever, a late rush saw six parties arranged.

The day was marked with particular gusto in Anglesey where Prince William is stationed, and where the couple will set up home together. More than 2,000 people gathered at the blustery Anglesey Agricultural Showground where the wedding was shown on two giant screens. Street parties were common across the rest of the principality, but 100 locals from Pentrebane in Cardiff chose to ignore the event altogether, organising a mass outing to a theme park instead. In Northern Ireland, parties got underway in the loch-side town of Carrickfergus in Co Antrim, of which William now enjoys the new title of Baron.

At St Andrews in Fife, where the couple met while at university, students and locals crowded into St Salvator's Quadrangle. However, in Glasgow, police and council officials urged party-goers to stay away from an unofficial gathering in Kelvingrove Park which had been organised through social-networking websites.

It was a different story in Edinburgh where 200 anti-monarchists marched down the Royal Mile chanting republican slogans. Protesters gathered outside Holyrood House, the Queen's official residence in Scotland. One placard said: "Let them eat cake".

Gerry Corbett, a member of the Scottish Socialist Party, said: "As individuals, I don't really care about the royal family. We believe in a republic where people are elected, not some unelected monarchy. At a time when there are massive budget cuts, this is a distraction."

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