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Prince William engaged; Britian distracted from glum economic times

By Melissa Bell
Britain's Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton (Kirsty Wigglesworth)

The British are in a tizzy: Their prince is to be married. The BBC, the Telegraph, the Guardian and the Independent are all leading with the nuptial news. Okay, fine, the American press is, too. Break out the commemorative tea towels, who doesn't love a fairy tale wedding? (And this time, there does not seem to be any ghosts of old girlfriends lurking behind the prince and his lady love.)

Imagining London roads under a shower of rice is a nice change from the very real images of just last week when the streets were littered with broken glass and burned protest signs.

Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party just got a very nice engagement gift from the royal couple: a distraction from the general economic angst in Britain.

"It's great to have a bit of unadulterated good news," Cameron said at a press conference on Downing Street, the Guardian reports.

It's also a good day to bury bad news. The news "completely drowned out the simultaneous announcement from 10 Downing Street of a raft of new cuts including, ironically, the scrapping of legal aid for poor people getting a divorce," writes the blog Gulf Stream Blues. "So while the royal family celebrates an upcoming wedding, their subjects learn it will now be harder for them to obtain an equitable separation."

The first grumblings of the marriage come from the journalistic curmudgeons out there -- Andrew Buncombe of the Independent typified this response with his rather amusing series: "Wow, Prince William's engagement is top story on BBC website. Seldom has anything seemed less important (except to happy couple, of course).... Cripes, William and Kate are on The Independent website. Shame we following the herd... The Guardian website's also leading with Kate and Wills. Feeling left out."

The other first complaints stemmed from Republicans who issued a quick statement asking that no taxpayers' money be used to host the royal wedding.

Robert Mackey has a suggestion over at the New York Times on how to spin the happy news into a money-making venture: use it as a stimulus package for the British tourism industry.

Whatever the country decides to do, it better batten down the hatches for a long winter of wedding fever.

By Melissa Bell  | November 16, 2010; 2:26 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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