AMERICANS are losing their heads over the royal wedding, with over-excited fans recording songs, planning 3am viewing parties and stockpiling kitschy memorabilia.
With days to go, US news outlets are overflowing with the minutiae of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s big day, seven specials about the couple have aired on network TV and venues are advertising lavish celebrations.
Many Americans have spent thousands heading to the United Kingdom for the big day, while others are attending “princess pyjama parties”, dressing up for champagne-fuelled soirees at hotels and pubs or watching at cinemas across the US.
“I plan to wake up at 3am local time to watch all the coverage, and when my daughter wakes up she will join for a special breakfast of scones, tea and sandwiches,” Chicago-based royal fan Allison Lackey Peschel, 31, told news.com.au. “She has royal pyjamas to wear and the same personalised robe that Prince George wore when he famously met Barack Obama.
“I have been watching non-stop segments, documentaries, reading books, flipping through magazines, and more in anticipation for their big day. I am constantly refreshing the Kensington Palace Instagram or Twitter for updates. It is crazy in the USA — every news segment has something around the royal wedding.”
In Washington DC, revellers have been sipping on cocktails named American Princess, Markle Sparkle and Kensington Garden Party at the Royal PUB (Pop-Up Bar) since May 4, while New Yorkers have been spotted hefting cut-outs of the couple down the street.
British-themed stores and cafes are flogging all manner of royal wedding-themed merchandise, including fake invitations, tea-towels, aprons, T-shirts, china and playing cards. Joel Diamond, from New Jersey, has created a tribute video that has had 45,000 views on YouTube.
New York coffee shop Tea & Sympathy had a queue around the block for Prince William and Kate’s wedding six years ago, and they are expecting even greater mayhem now an American is marrying into the family.
“America is going is wild, America is so excited,” says Beaumont Etiquette founder Myka Meier, who runs a training program in New York called the Duchess Effect.
“We don’t have royals here, so for us, it’s always been like a fairytale, a Disney movie.”
She points out that the last time an American married into the royal family, “it didn’t end so well.” King Edward VIII was forced to abdicate in 1936 to marry the vilified Wallis Simpson.
“For the first time, we have a real American royal,” says Ms Meier. “Not only royal, but a Hollywood celebrity, a divorcee, a bi-racial powerful woman who talks about politics, race and women now has massive platform
“Americans are very prideful of this and of her, she’s making waves globally.”
Ms Meier — who will dispense advice on sitting, dressing and acting like a royal at the Plaza Hotel’s wedding day celebration — sees the union as a symbol of the “modernisation of the royals.”
For $150, guests will enjoy live commentary from royal experts, lemon and elderflower cake pops — mimicking the wedding cake — and fairy floss in Harry’s favourite banana flavour with edible gold.
Tables for a $70 champagne viewing breakfast at British restaurant Jones Wood Foundry on the Upper East Side have already sold out, with the eatery “calling all romantics to watch it live — the fairytale wedding that proves anything is possible!”
Hundreds of bottomless brunches and high teas are taking place across America, with many fans hosting their own events or tuning in to a Facebook Live.
Amanda Bowman, founder of the Anglosphere Society, is hosting a party from 6.30am to 9.30pm on her New Jersey farm. “I think it’s the royals carrying the special relationship between the US and the UK,” she says. “The sense of connection between the two countries and indeed the English-speaking world is being held together by the royal family and I think it’s lovely.
“The fact this young women is American and from an unconventional background is important, the fact she’s bi-racial has interested people who wouldn’t be interested.”
Ms Bowman believes the rapture is partly down to “a celebrity-driven culture” but also represents a moment to “celebrate the amazing changes that have taken place during reign of the Queen”.
The British-American, whose family members worked in the royal household, says the Queen has presided over an evolution in the royal family from having a sister who couldn’t marry a divorced man she loved, to seeing her children face personal challenges and divorces themselves.
“My sense is — and maybe it’s projection — is she’s just delighted her grandson has found someone who makes him happy.”
Anne Chertoff, a royal and wedding trends expert at global marketplace WeddingWire, attributes the “frenzy” to “the love we have for Princess Diana.”
The princess’s wedding to Prince Charles in 1981 at Westminster Abbey was watched by 17 million Americans, while 33 million tuned in to see her funeral. William and Kate’s was seen by nearly 23 million in the US and Harry and Meghan’s could attract even more attention.
“Princess Diana was so loved by the American public, these are her sons, her boys, we just want to see them happy,” says Ms Chertoff.
“We watch The Crown, we watch Downton Abbey, to see an American have this dream come true, it’s a joy to watch.”
The royal history buff is keen to see how the couple incorporate the bride’s heritage through the American food or Californian wine, whether Meghan’s mother walks her down the aisle and where they have their first kiss. She says many people have asked her about the dress, which she thinks will be modest, but a more “fashion-forward red carpet evening dress” than Kate’s traditional gown.
“With all news going on, all the horrible things you see, it’s just one of those happy things, it’s just a positive thing anyone can enjoy.”
The buzz will reach fever pitch this weekend, with the New York Times style section having already run 20 royal wedding pieces, the Today show hosting a man who paints the monarchy on nuts and Fox News opining: “Meghan Markle proves that no matter who you are, you can be anything in America, even British royalty!”
Allison sums up the joyful feelings of many Americans when she says: “I am excited for this royal wedding in particular because of how apparent it is that Meghan and Prince Harry love each other. This wedding will transcend racial, class, and global lines, and will continue to modernise the Royal Family.
“They will use their positions to change the world for the better.”
Originally published as Insane tribute to royal wedding