Knit your own nuptials – and other souvenirs

The royal wedding market is getting bigger and more bizarre as retailers cash in on kitsch

Kate Youde
Sunday 30 January 2011 01:00

Their forthcoming nuptials have already spawned an avalanche of kitsch. Now, the latest souvenir off the production line will have Prince William and Kate Middleton immortalised in, er, wool.

The interactive book Knit Your Own Royal Wedding, which goes on sale in March, enables readers to craft the year's most talked-about marriage in yarn.

It includes patterns for 10 key players involved in the celebrations – from the Queen to a corgi. Aside from the bride and groom, other figures that can be knitted include Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince Harry. Crafters can knit themselves into the party by customising a guest pattern, while the set includes a balcony to showcase the work.

The Centre for Retail Research estimates the royal wedding will provide a £515.5m boost to retailers, with souvenirs bringing in £222m.

The book includes clothing designs for the completed eight-inch dolls, based on what author Fiona Goble anticipates the royals will wear on 29 April. Knitted Prince William says "I do" in Royal Air Force attire; Prince Charles and Prince Philip are dressed in Royal Navy regalia, with the latter displaying "lots of bling".

We can reveal Kate Middleton will walk down the aisle in a simple, short-sleeved, fitted cream dress complete with veil and a tiara made from wired beads. In wool, naturally.

Tom Kitch, an editorial director at publisher Ivy Press, said the book was inspired by Ms Goble's festive title, Knitivity: Create Your Own Christmas Scene.

But will the woolly figures get the royal seal of approval? "I think they'll like it," said Ms Goble. "I don't think anyone would be offended by them. They are cute looking. They have got a little element of caricature in them but they are not caricature."

A Clarence House spokesman was not won over, saying only that the royal household did not comment on memorabilia.

Souvenir bonanza: China, coins and condoms mark the big day

The Centre for Retail Research estimates three million mugs and five million commemorative coins will be bought for the royal wedding. But what other memorabilia are up for grabs? From April, aspiring princesses can play with a £24.99 Sylvanian Families Royal Wedding Celebration Set starring a couple of happy rabbits, William and Catherine Balmoral.

Crown Jewels Condoms of Distinction are sold in royal purple packs of three featuring a picture of the prince and bride-to-be. However, anyone lying back and thinking of England should be warned that they come with a disclaimer: they are a "novelty condom not suitable for contraception or protection against STDs".

Goldsmiths the jeweller is selling £999 "get the look" engagement rings. You'll need a dress to go with that ring. Shortly after the engagement, Tesco launched a £16 Florence and Fred copycat version of the blue Issa dress Kate wore for the world's media.

Decorated with an entwined C and W plus doves, white ribbons and hearts in silver, gold and grey, the Royal Collection's pill box, tankard and plate feature the date of Prince William's coronet and the wedding date. However, the designs do not include a portrait of the couple, despite being the only products endorsed by William and Kate.

London communications and creative agency KK Outlet commissioned seven designers to create unofficial commemorative china. Slogans on the pieces include "Thanks for the free day off, HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton's four-day bender".

The Royal Mint unveiled the £5 Alderney coin to mark the royal wedding. However, the faces do not bear a great likeness to the couple, with the Daily Mail noting "Kate looks far chunkier and older". The Early Learning Centre plans to re-create the royal couple as plastic dolls. The £15 HappyLand Royal Wedding Set also includes the Queen, Prince Philip, guards and a corgi.

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