Wedding bells quiet Irish antipathy toward British royals – for now
The real test of Irish sentiment toward the monarchs comes in May during the first royal visit to the Republic of Ireland since its independence from Britain in 1920.
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Not all those who are celebrating the wedding are taking it particularly seriously, either. Ciara Norton’s family in Dublin will be having a small party – with a difference: a canine version of the ceremony. "We also have two dogs, a groom dog and a bride dog, complete with a wedding dress,” she says.Skip to next paragraph
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Unorthodox enactments of the royal event aside, Ms. Norton will also be attending a fashion event on the morning of the wedding.
“I doubt you’ll find very many men interested in the wedding,” she says, “but there is a female interest from a fashion perspective: What will people be wearing?”
Monarch's first visit since independence
The real test of Ireland’s republican sentiment will be May’s visit by the British Queen, the first visit to the Republic of Ireland since the country gained independence from Britain in 1920.
Across the border in Northern Ireland, self-governing since the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Accord but still part of the United Kingdom, things remain as divided as ever – and the royal wedding is as good a barometer of that division as any.
Unionists, overwhelmingly Protestant, tend to be interested in the monarchy as a British institution. Republicans, typically Catholic, are – unsurprisingly – less interested. Northern Ireland’s capital will be alone among British cities in not showing the wedding on a giant public screen, located in Donegall Place, ironically at the end of the city’s main shopping street, Royal Avenue.
A spokesperson for Belfast City Council says the decision whether or not to screen the event wasn’t its to make as the screen is owned by the BBC and has been installed in the run-up to next year’s London Olympic Games: “The Belfast screen will become operational next month, and the broadcast content will be managed by the BBC on behalf of the London 2012 organizing committee.”
Nonetheless, unionist areas of Belfast are festooned with flags and bunting in preparation for the event.
“The pomp and circumstance of it holds a great attraction for Ulster’s loyalists,” says Rankin Armstrong, deputy editor of unionist daily the News Letter. "Many people here have a great affinity with the royal family and what it represents. They cherish the feeling of belonging."