Less than a week after Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their upcoming nuptials, stores are "awash with cut-price variations" of Kate's engagement dress, says Olivia Bergin in The Telegraph. And this is just the beginning. Tapping into princess-envy has long been a successful business model — just asked Disney. The Mouse House launched its Princess consumer products line in 2000, and sales have grown from $300 million in the first year to $4 billion in the last. Here, a brief guide to the princess economy:
Weight, in carats, of Kate's sapphire and diamond engagement ring that previously belonged to Princess Diana
Estimated value of the ring
Cost of the "Princess Simulated Sapphire Ring" that debuted on QVC five days after the engagement announcement
Number of hours it took for the blue Issa London wrap dress Kate Middleton wore at her engagement announcement to sell out in a "shopping frenzy" at London's Harvey Nichols department store. "Since the announcement of the royal engagement we have been inundated with requests regarding Issa," says Harvey Nichols' buying director, Averyl Oates.
Cost of the Issa London dress
Cost of a knock-off version of the dress being offered at Tesco, a British supermarket. "We expect it to sell out fast," says a Tesco representative. If it does, Middleton wannabes have other options: Fashion labels Ingenue and Coast are both hawking similar dresses for around $134. "Inspired versions have been produced quicker than it takes the time to mutter the words 'bride-to-be'" says Olivia Bergin in The Telegraph.
Amount that next year's royal wedding may add to the British economy, according to retail analysts at Verdict Research
Unofficial estimate of the cost of Princes Charles' 1981 wedding to Diana. "William and Kate should avoid a lavish ceremony at a time when there is huge pressure on the public finances," says Emma Boon, campaign director of the TayPayers' Alliance.
Approximate amount generated yearly by the United Kingdom's monarchy, according to VisitBritain, a state funded tourism board. "In a royal wedding year, that figure is going to be massively exceeded," says a spokesman.
Approximate cost to taxpayers of maintaining the monarchy for the 2009-2010 financial year, down from $66.1 million the previous year
The amount the royal family cost each taxpayer last year, down from $1.10
Number of public sector jobs the British government is planning to cut over the next four years to reduce the deficit
Annual sales in Disney Princess merchandise worldwide
More than 25,000
Number of Disney Princess items for sale, as of 2006
$599 to $1,199
Price range for seven wedding gowns designed by Alfred Angelo and "inspired" by the "most iconic royalty of all: the Disney princesses"
Cost of Princess Diana's 1981 wedding dress, designed by Elizabeth Emmanuel
Cost of Kate Middleton's future wedding dress
Sources: The Telegraph (2)(3), CBS News (2), Examiner, Stylelist, Bloomberg, Daily Mail, The Economic Times, Los Angeles Business Journal, New York Times, Brides