NEW YORK (
) -- It's the wedding of the century, no question. When Kate Middleton walks down the aisle at Westminster Abbey on Friday, a mind-boggling 2 billion people are expected to be watching around the world.
Away from the pomp and the media feeding frenzy, though, the royal wedding is also a money machine for companies producing weird and wonderful souvenirs of the event.
When Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, memorabilia tended to be of the gaudy plate and mug variety, but not anymore. From barf bags to cellphones and even condoms, there is now something out there for everyone -- Wills and Kate have spawned an entire industry of tat.
This is serious business, though. London-based Verdict Research told
that the royal wedding could inject around $1 billion into the ailing U.K. economy through tourism and memorabilia sales.
Desperate for a piece of the fairytale action,
has trawled through a cornucopia of wedding souvenirs and come up with the five weirdest:
Royal Mint -- Engagement Coin
Commemorative coins are a staple of British royal weddings. But, seriously, who
that moon-faced impostor staring blankly past Prince William? The coin, which commemorates the couple's engagement, is produced by the U.K.'s Royal Mint, no less, so one would expect at least a reasonable likeness of the attractive princess-to-be. This, apparently, is the Mint's first ever royal engagement coin, but, on the strength of this monstrosity, it should probably be its last.
William and Kate Teabags
These teabags are pretty weird, even by the bizarro-world standards of royal wedding memorabilia. The warped brainchild of German company
, the "KaTEA" bags are clearly geared toward Britain's famed tea obsession. Look closely, though, and you will see the bride brazenly clutching a fistful of pound notes. I mean, really? It's not like the woman needs the money.
Royal Wedding Phone
, along with the
and U.K branches of
, is looking to cash in on the royal wedding thanks to this tastefully patriotic phone. With an understated union flag on the front cover, the special edition phone is also emblazoned with William and Kate's joined initials, placed just above their auspicious wedding date.
Other commemorative features include a screen saver of the happy couple and a "God Save the Queen" ringtone, which presumably means that you have to stand up whenever the phone rings.
Royal Wedding Sick Bag
Lost in the media blitz surrounding the royal wedding is a fact that may come as a surprise to many people, particularly on this side of the pond. There are plenty of Britons who, quite frankly, couldn't care less about the nuptials of Wills and Kate. (The Association of British Travel Agents
that almost 5% of the U.K. population are taking advantage of Friday's national holiday and heading overseas.)
Clearly there are plenty of people, even in Britain, who are thoroughly sick of the whole thing. Help is at hand, though, courtesy of British designer and illustrator Lydia Leith, who is selling hand screen printed, limited edition barf bags. The bags, which politely encourage users to "throne up," come in a range of colors, including regal gold and purple for that extra-classy puke. Nice.
Prince Harry's Mugshot
So, apparently there is a wedding happening this week; Prince William is going to marry Kate Middleton, with more than a quarter of the world's population following the event. There are probably tribes even in the deepest reaches of the Amazon that are aware of this little shindig. So, why then, is William's brother grinning inanely out of the side of this souvenir wedding mug? Is there something we should know?
Seriously, though, will someone just put an end to all this madness?
--Written by James Rogers in New York.
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