In just over three months, Prince William will marry Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London. The royal wedding is prompting huge excitement among Brits and overseas Anglophiles alike. But even the most ardent royal-watcher might have missed these strange facts about April's nuptials:
1. How does the Queen send out invites? By fax
Queen Elizabeth II used antiquated means to send out save-the-date invitations to the kings and queens of Europe, reports The Huffington Post. No, not a carrier pigeon nor a horseback messenger, but a quaint device known as "ye olde facsimile machine." Apparently, it's standard practice among royal households. In case it seems like the British royal family is still stuck in the "dark ages," consider that "the royal engagement was announced on Twitter and the Queen has both Facebook and Flickr pages."
2. Britain is running out of Prince William lookalikes...
If you have a passing resemblance to the future King of England, book a flight to London. Talent agencies are facing a desperate shortage of Prince William lookalikes for corporate parties, TV commercials, and PR events. But would-be impersonators ought to be accomplished thespians too, says Sylvia Hui at the Associated Press. "It seems it's extremely challenging for amateur actors to capture the unusual blend of royal confidence and humility that William projects."
3. ...but Lifetime is managing to make a Lifetime movie about the royal pair
An inability to find William clones hasn't stopped Lifetime from greenlighting a TV movie based on the couple's nine-year relationship. Newcomer Nico Evers Swindell will play the prince, while the role of his father, Prince Charles, goes to Ben Cross, who is best known for playing Spock's father in the recent Star Trek movie. The couple's courtship is "truly the stuff of Shakespearean forbidden-love stories," jokes Mike Vilensky at New York.
4. And a set of Japanese miniature rabbit replicas is on the way, too
Japanese toy line Sylvanian Families has designed rabbit replicas of the royal couple, to go on sale in the U.K. around the time of the wedding. The company has named the tiny felt rabbits William Balmoral and Catherine Chocolate. The set comes with an anthropomorphic replica of the Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England, who is represented as a beaver named Kelvin. (Watch an ITN News report about the royal rabbits)
5. You can celebrate the union with a commemorative condom
Forget tea towels, crockery, and glassware. The must-have commemorative item for this year's royal wedding is a pack of "Crown Jewels condoms," birth control devices fit for a king. "Combining the strength of a Prince with the yielding sensitivity of a Princess-to-be," says the manufacturer, "Crown Jewels condoms promise a royal union of pleasure."
6. Die Deutschen lieben die Königliche Hochzeit*
Enthusiasm about the wedding is rife in the U.S, but we pale in comparison to the Germans. Not only are more Germans booking flights to the U.K. for the ceremony than any other country, but European travel agents have also created a tailor-made royal wedding tour specifically for "swooning German girls left inconsolable" by the dashing prince's engagement. Why are the Teutons such big fans of the Royal Family? Well, the House of Windsor is, in fact, a branch of the German Saxe-Coburg and Gotha dynasty. Yes, the Royal Family is German. Who knew?
(* The Germans love the royal wedding)
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