LONDON – Watching the cheering, flag-waving Brits lining the sun-soaked royal procession route on television, it’s easy to get the impression of a wedding-crazy country still deeply in love with its royal family.
But at the Duke of Sussex pub — an early 20th century boozer that shares Prince Harry’s new royal title — the mood was mainly one of benign indifference. Miniature American flags had been deployed in honour of Harry’s Yankee bride Meghan Markle, but many of the patrons had their minds on the weather instead.
“It’s irrelevant,” said Louise Broom, a 37-year-old teacher who’d been sunning herself at a nearby park during the ceremony. She laughed off the idea, widely discussed in the British press, that the royal family’s addition of Markle — whose mother is of African heritage — marked any real move toward greater tolerance.
“It’s not going to fix interracial relations,” Broom said.
Danny Meehan, a 35-year-old consultant, said he missed the wedding as he’d been out house-hunting — and was more interested in Saturday’s big soccer tournament in any case.
“It’s all about the FA Cup today,” he said.
He said that earlier in the day he’d crossed a drunken rugby fan on a London subway platform who was bellowing, “Did everyone enjoy the royal wedding?!?” at fellow passengers. The fan didn’t get a response, so he shouted the question a second time, and then a third.
“Stone cold silence,” Meehan said, adding that the rugby fan eventually gave up, saying, “I love this country.”
Polls generally show high levels of popularity for the royal family — a recent Ipsos MORI survey found that only 15 per cent of Brits thought abolishing the monarchy would make the U.K. better off — and most everyone at the Duke of Sussex pub wished the new couple well, with many complimenting Markle on her poise and grace.
“I think she looks stunning and I hope that they do well,” said Lee Simpson, 35, who was sharing a table with Meehan.
But for many of the patrons enjoying their lagers in the sunshine, the highlight of the wedding was that Harry and Markle hadn’t brought America’s scandal-plagued president to the U.K.
“It’s great that they didn’t invite Donald Trump,” Meehan said. “It shows that they’re not hostages to protocol.”
“They did invite Oprah,” Simpson said.
Meehan, turning to an American reporter, said with a smile: “She’s your next president!”