At the merest whiff of a royal wedding in 2008 the souvenir makers went into overdrive and plates bearing Prince William and Kate Middleton’s beaming faces were produced, as were insignia mugs and William-and-Kate tea towels.
Now that the wedding is actually on the market is being flooded with memorabilia – most of it mass-produced in China!
Imitations of Kate’s engagement ring that once belonged to Diana are among the hits. Kate’s ring cost £30 000 (R345 000) while replicas start at less than £1 (R11,50) and go up to around £7,50 (R86) – and in China girls are clamouring to snap them up.
Many of Chinese factory workers churning out other merchandise depicting the royal couple had never heard of them. “I was told this is all for a prince and princess,” Liu Ying says. “I’m not sure which country they’re from but they look beautiful. I hope they will grow old together.”
In Britain everything from condoms to coins and toys are being themed around the couple.
Sylvanian Families, a range of toys featuring forest creatures, has brought out the Royal Wedding Celebration Set starring two happy rabbits.
Condoms bearing the name Crown Jewels Condoms come with a disclaimer that they will not protect the lovers from disease or pregnancy. “They’re a novelty,” a spokesman for the manufacturers says. “You’re supposed to keep them, not use them.”
Then there’s the interactive book Knit Your Own Royal Wedding which shows how you to make woollen versions of key players in the wedding. Woolly Wills looks like Postman Pat in his uniform while knitted Kate is cute in a short-sleeve long dress – which raises the all-important question: what will Kate be wearing?
“It’s become the best-kept secret in England,” a royal observer remarks. “But she’ll look good – she always does. We won’t be disappointed.”