What A Difference A Date Makes

Poor Charles and Camilla: their wedding plans have been beset by one problem after another. First of all, the Queen let it be made known that she did not intend to be there for the second marriage of her own eldest son. That ruled out access to every couple’s dream wedding-venue – Windsor Castle, naturally – and recourse instead to a garden-variety local town hall. The shine on the event had also quickly faded among the British public, who were noticeably slow to go after the usual commemorative souvenirs brought out for sale for a royal wedding – you know, teapots, coffee cups, dishtowels, that sort of thing.

Now, however, such souvenirs are flying off the shelves. It’s not so much because of the English reconsidering their attitudes towards the marriage of Prince Charels and Camilla Parker-Bowles, as it is due to another mishap on their path to the altar, reports Marianne Fajstrup in the Danish Berlingske Tidende (Wedding Souvenirs with the Wrong Date Hoarded). That darn Pope John Paul II, as sainted a guy as he was otherwise – I know, EuroSavant promised just yesterday not to cover him again – had to up and die on such a schedule that pencilled his funeral in for this upcoming Friday, just the day when the Prince of Wales was intending to tie the knot again.

This article in the Guardian (in English, then) can brief you on the hesitations and calculations behind the resulting decision to put the wedding ceremony off by a day, to Saturday. (Saturday: when what Guardian writers Steven Morris and Stephen Bates describe as the “horse-loving Queen” had intended to attend the Grand National, the peak event of the English racing season! It’s another blow of misfortune connected with this already star-crossed marriage – and in this connection, dear reader, the bell tolls also for thee, as the Grand National is famous among other things for the wide array of silly hats worn to it by the female eminences who attend it, whose ranks this year must inevitably be drastically reduced in favor of the royal nuptials.)

But Fajstrup digs rather deeper than these gentlemen on the subject of these now-popular wedding souvenirs. In addition to picking up the same quote from one Kashmir Dhillon, owner of Dhillons Crafts and Woollens, the shop in Windsor functioning as a primary retail outlet for this memorabilia, Fajstrup also snatches comment from Gavin Williamson, director of Aynsley China, the firm manufacturing much of this stuff. “Souvenir collectors are not like other people. . . . What looks like an error for a normal customer is a potential fantastic find for the sharp-eyed collector.” (Actually, Williamson contributed this comment to the London Times.) And a bit of her information conflicts somewhat with what the English reporters have to say: While the latter wrote that “the Royal Mail tried to work out when it should release its special issue of stamps,” Fajstrup reveals that it already has released collections of such stamps with the superseded 8 April date (the stamps themselves are undated, of course), and is considering whether to call them back. (Just try! The horse has already left the building, gentlemen.) But the journalists from both sides of the North Sea agree that the Royal Mint prudently forebore from similarly jumping the gun, and still has time to change the date on the commemorative coins it is to issue – to the annoyance, Fajstrup notes, of many collectors.

Update From Conan O’Brien (reported here), Prince Charles had the following to say about the postponement: “I don’t want this enormous, tragic event to compete with the pope’s funeral.”

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