Britain will enjoy a bank holiday bonanza next spring as millions get an extra day off to celebrate the royal wedding.
Prince William and Kate Middleton are to marry in Westminster Abbey on Friday April 29 next year, which has been designated an official public holiday.
With Easter falling the weekend before, and May Day holiday on the following Monday, it means many people will enjoy two four-day weekends in a row.
The couple were said to be “completely over the moon” after getting the spring wedding they wanted in a venue they chose for its “staggering beauty” and 1,000-year royal history.
They are also keen on making the day a national celebration and a concert in Hyde Park to mark the occasion has been proposed. A senior royal aide said: “Their view on it would be, ‘Let’s have a party’.”
It is being reported, too, that around 100 tickets to the wedding will be given out through a Willy Wonka-style “Golden Ticket” draw. Applicants will be drawn at random by organisers in a bid to involve the British people “at a deeper level”, The Sun said.
William and Miss Middleton, both 28, announced their engagement last week, nine years after they met as students at St Andrews University.
Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, private secretary to the Prince, said: “The couple are completely over the moon. I’ve never seen two happier people, which is absolutely fabulous to work in that sort of environment. They’re on cloud nine, like any other newly-engaged couple. They’re now getting stuck into organising their wedding. They are very much in charge of the arrangements for the big day.”
Prince William has strong ties to Westminster Abbey in central London – his grandmother, the Queen, was married and crowned in the historic place of worship, and the funeral of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, was held there.
The cost of the wedding – including the church service, music, flowers, decorations, reception and honeymoon – will be split between the Queen, Charles and Miss Middleton’s millionaire parents, Michael and Carole. But the taxpayer will pick up the bill for related costs such as policing.