15 May 2018

The Royal Wedding – Impact On UK Business & Opening Times

Referred to as a ‘constitutional event’ by the BBC and ‘nationally significant’ by Home Office minister Baroness Williams, royal weddings are an institution for British people.

Following William and Katherine’s wedding in 2011, this year, it’s the younger brother’s turn. Harry, the 33-year-old prince, is marrying Meghan Markle, 36, an American actress, on Saturday 19th May.

The wedding is expected to be viewed by almost three billion people - or 40% of the world population! Two billion people viewed William and Kate’s wedding, and advances in technology plus social media mean more people than ever will be able to live stream the event on the Saturday.

Affect On Business Opening Hours

The wedding takes place in the small town of Windsor, where the royal residence at Windsor Castle can be found. The town, which has a population of 33,000, is to welcome seven times that population on the Sunday - between 100,000 and 150,000 - with around 50,000 Americans estimated to be flying in.

Needless to say, local shops, pubs and business will be affected. With an event attracting global attention happening right outside their doors, some shop owners will be taking cover, whilst others are keen to make the most of the additional footfall.

Opening Times have conducted a survey of shops on Windsor’s main street to see how owners plans on spending the big day.

Opening times during Royal Wedding

According to the results:

  • 55% of shops plan to remain open as usual
  • 25% are still unsure on whether they will remain open or have their opening hours changed
  • 20% have changed their opening hours to fit the Royal Wedding.

We surveyed 35 shops on the Windsor high street and surrounding area.

Moda in Pelle and Marks and Spencer, for example, will open an hour earlier than usual to welcome early bird visitors (7am instead of 8am). L’Occitane and Kiko Milano, on the other hand, will close during the procession and church ceremony (from 11am-2pm). Karen Millen told us that they would like to remain open on the day, but confessed it will be difficult with so many people flocking the streets.

Shops aren’t the only businesses affected by the royal wedding. Bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants will also be changing their routine. Indeed, across the whole of the UK, the House of Lords will allow all pub licenses to be extended to 1am on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th in celebration.

You can see the standard opening time for shops in Windsor here.

Impact On The British Economy

With so many people visiting Windsor and watching on TV, the wedding will be a boost to British businesses. But will the boost to the economy outweigh the cost of the wedding itself?

According to a recent study, the wedding is estimated to cost almost £32m, with a security bill of almost £30m. That’s 1,000 times more expensive than the average wedding (obviously most people getting married don’t require such a comprehensive security operation)!

Whilst republican taxpayers may bristle at having to pay 56p on average to the royal family each year, the monarchy contributes more to the British economy then one might think. With an expected 150,000 visitors in Windsor, shops are anticipating a boost in sales during the days preceding and following the wedding. Some analysts have predicted £60m to be spent by tourists on that weekend alone.

Hotels and other lodging owners will see a huge windfall. Airbnb has announced that 42,000 people will be staying specifically for that weekend (usually London has around 10,000 rentals a week). They also said that Windsor inhabitants could make £350 a night for renting their property during the wedding weekend. Small businesses, hotels, and up-market property owners, specifically those having a view on the parade’s street, are rumoured to have sold rooms for up to £10,000 a night!

The extra authorised opening hours for pubs is also said to contribute around £10m extra revenue to pubs across the country.

Overall, the British economy is expected a £80m boost – 150% more than the cost of the wedding itself.