Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's royal wedding

Chinese divorce themselves from royal wedding of Britain’s Prince Harry to Meghan Markle

Social media users apparently more interested in launch of new album by Wu Yifan

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 May, 2018, 8:46am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 May, 2018, 10:58pm

It might be big news in Britain, but the marriage of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle on Saturday is unlikely to cause much of a stir in China.

When Prince William married Kate Middleton in 2011, Chinese social media platforms were abuzz as people shared their thoughts and excitement about the big day.

But seven years on, the mood is much more subdued. On Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service, the topic of the royal wedding garnered just a few hundred comments. In comparison, the platform’s latest hot topic – the release of a new album by pop star Wu Yifan – received more than 1 million posts.

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Clothing manufacturers and online retailers have been equally uninspired by the upcoming nuptials.

Within hours of Shanghai Dragon Television broadcasting the 2011 royal wedding, garment factories were racing to reproduce the Alexander McQueen dress worn by the new Duchess of Cambridge, and she has remained something of a fashion icon ever since.

A search for “Kate Middleton” on online shopping platform Taobao returned links to more than 1,000 products, mostly reproductions of clothes she has worn.

In contrast, just a handful of Chinese shopping agents, who source goods from overseas, are offering items similar to those worn by Markle, while there appears to be no interest at all among garment manufacturers to produce lookalike products.

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“I think most people regard Harry as just another prince in Britain,” said Emma Wang, a 25-year-old bank clerk in Shanghai.

“The royal wedding doesn’t seem to be as special for us, now that we’ve seen extravagant ones involving Chinese celebrities.”

Despite the almost universal lack of interest in the event in China, in some small pockets of the country, a handful of people will be celebrating the royal wedding.

Officials from the British embassy in Beijing and consulates in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Chongqing, have organised get-togethers for mission staff and members of the public.

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The event in Chongqing will be held at the InterContinental hotel from 6pm to 8pm where each of the 50 guests will be able to watch a live broadcast of the ceremony from Windsor Castle as they tuck into drinks and snacks, the consulate said on Weibo.

The hotel is charging 198 yuan (US$31) per person, but to celebrate the big day it will donate 30 yuan from the sale of each ticket to charity, the consulate said.

British coffee shop chain Costa also tried to get in on the act on Friday. The company offered free samples of one of its drinks to selected customers in southern China.