The alternative royal wedding – live Britain gripped by excitement as tree identification walk begins


It’s Saturday May 19, it’s a beautiful spring day, and there’s only one event that matters in Britain right now: the tree identification walk in Highgate Wood, London – “join the staff for a guided walk looking at how you can identify trees by their leaves, bark and other identifiers”.

OK, that’s not strictly true.

The band Tokyo SexWail are also playing Deptford Cinema to help celebrate a mini-festival of punk movies that “chart almost a hundred years of filmmaking resistance to the monarchy”. For some reason they’re calling it “Deptford Cinema does the Royal Wedding”.

And it’s the first day of the Spring Steam and Real Ale Weekend on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway. Plus there’s a football match due to kick-off in north London, and since it’s a Saturday in spring there’s bound to a wedding or two happening somewhere.

The BBC has just told us that one US channel has bought 15 anchormen and women down to Windsor, and that “the world is watching”.

But is it? And, in particular, is Britain?
In November, when Harry and Meghan announced their engagement, pollsters YouGov found that 52 per cent of Britons weren’t interested.
In other, (more referendum-based) contexts that kind of majority would be seen as the unsabotageable will of the British people.

But perhaps now is not the time to mention such matters. Or this week’s YouGov poll that suggested that the proportion of Britons who were uninterested in the royal wedding had increased to 66 per cent.

The same poll suggested that rather than being glued to the royal wedding coverage, fully 60 per cent of people in the UK would just be carrying on with their weekend as normal.
Only 27 per cent of people – fewer than one in three – would be tuning in to at least some of the royal wedding coverage.

But now is not the time to talk about such matters.
No, now is the time to concentrate on how nice, how selfless, how down-to-earth Prince Harry is.
Which is what Dermot O’Leary is doing, with the help of a couple of his mates.
It might not be what the majority of the people want, but it’s what they’ll get.
All day.