Stiff competition: Royal condoms lead the pack as souvenirs for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding go on sale
Memorabilia include souvenir condoms presented in a box playing ‘God Save the Queen’ and ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’
Masks, mugs, tea bags and condoms in patriotic musical boxes are among the treats that royal fans can get their hands on this week to commemorate Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s upcoming wedding.
The names and faces of Queen Elizabeth’s grandson and his American fiancée adorn merchandise in shops across the British town of Windsor, where the couple will marry on Saturday and where vendors hope to capitalise on interest from locals and tourists.
Bags, cups, plates, and “Harry” and “Meghan” jars of Marmite – a yeast extract usually spread on toast – are on display on store shelves and in windows, alongside flags, cuddly toys and party wear.
“Our shoppers like to have something to remember the day by,” said Anthony Edwards of Daniel department store. “We’ve got customers who bought 130 of the miniature magnets because they’re celebrating their wedding on the same day.”
The Royal Mint has introduced a special coin, while a company called the Crown Jewels of London is selling “royal wedding souvenir condoms”, presented in a box playing “an exclusive musical arrangement of God Save the Queen and The Star-Spangled Banner”.
The box promises “sumptuous latex” and “a princely fit” from the “artisan-style sheaths”, but the lavish descriptions for this “condom of regal luxury” are somewhat undercut by the warning: “This is a novelty product, not for use as a contraceptive”.
One consultancy has estimated that the wedding, which is to be held on Saturday, could boost the UK economy by £1 billion (US$1.35 billion).
UK economic forecasting group EY ITEM Club said last week that it expected the lift to be “limited”.
“There should be some benefits to the UK economy from the royal wedding, although we would be wary of overegging the potential impact or seeking to put a hard figure on the potential gains,” Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY ITEM Club, said in a statement.
“We suspect there will be a very limited, temporary boost to the economy focused on some sectors, notably retail, tourism and, possibly, catering and pubs.”
Outside Windsor Castle, where Britain’s sixth in line to the throne and the actress will marry, Kevin Ball has set up a small stall of commemorative caps and scarves on a bicycle to be able to move among the huge crowds expected.
“My mother-in-law is 87 now and she’s pulling out things from Queen Elizabeth’s wedding … People like to look back on it in years to come,” he said.
At the King and Queen gift shop, customers in a steady flow are picking their souvenirs.
“Everybody’s going crazy,” Alan Earwaker, 70, said after buying a commemorative mug. “I’ve got people over from Brazil, they’re buying loads and loads of stuff to take back … Everybody’s wedding mad.”