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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement is the bright spot among Britain’s bad news

Reuters/Mark Blinch
A Royal engagement.
  • Rosie Spinks
By Rosie Spinks

Quartzy Reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

There’s only one thing that can decidedly turn around an otherwise gray Monday morning in Britain these days: news of another Royal wedding.

Clarence House announced the news that Prince Harry and his American actress girlfriend Meghan Markle have been engaged since earlier this month. A wedding date is scheduled for sometime in Spring 2018.

In a country beset by a seemingly never-ending Brexit saga, a problematic economy, a bleak outlook, looming terrorism threats, and an increasingly divisive mood in Westminster (not to mention across the country), news of a potential extra bank holiday and reason to indulge in the country’s favorite pastime—Royal nostalgia—couldn’t come soon enough.

It’s not clear whether the nation gets another day off, after all, a Royal wedding doesn’t automatically mean another public holiday. Also Prince Harry is now only sixth in line to the throne, after his father Prince Charles, his brother Prince William, his nephew and niece George and Charlotte, and William and Princess Catherine’s impending third child.

But if the nation does get an extra day off (an announcement from the Prime Minister is generally required) it’s not just a bank holiday weekend full of British bunting and commemorative tea towels that Britain has to look forward to.

According to the Office of National Statistics, the marriage of William and Kate in 2011 resulted in an additional 350,000 visitors coming to the UK over the same month in the previous year. Throughout 2011, visitors to Britain spent 5% more than the prior year’s visitors, no doubt in part thanks to the bewildering array of merchandise emblazoned with the Royals’ visages.

In addition, the “Will and Kate effect” has been credited with boosting the UK economy with every standard life milestone. The birth of their first child, Prince George, in 2013 reportedly generated an estimated £247 million ($329 million) in retail sales. With the couple expecting their third child in April, Britain’s economy could see a much-needed double Royal whammy.

Prince Harry and Markle are likely to draw in the crowds too—he’s royalty and she’s a glamorous famous actress that has grown in prominence for her humanitarian work.

As for the predicted location of the nuptials? Last week, before the announcement was even made, betting agencies placed the odds on Westminster Abbey as the favorite—which had previously confirmed that Markle’s prior divorce will not prevent her from walking down the aisle there—followed by Windsor Castle and St Paul’s. The British public, not doubt, will wait with bated breath.

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