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A royal wedding - in Chilliwack

Jean Mayer is one of the organizers of a special tea celebraing the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 30 at Dickens Sweets.  - JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS
Jean Mayer is one of the organizers of a special tea celebraing the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 30 at Dickens Sweets.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS

It's got all the trappings of a royal wedding, but without the jet lag and pressures to curtsey just the right way.

Dickens Sweets and British Museum, has an invitation that's almost too good to pass up.

You are invited to celebrate the marriage of Prince William of Wales to Catherine Elizabeth Middleton.

Invites are limited.

For those of you living under a rock, Prince William and Kate Middleton are tying the knot on April 29. And while most in B.C. will be watching the long, drawn-out nuptials on TV, those attending Dickens' Royal Wedding Celebration will be doing so in high British fashion.

On April 30, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Dickens Sweets and British Museum is hosting a delayed screening of the wedding, which will include all the proper trimmings of a real royal wedding: Tea, crumpets, finger sandwiches, semi formal attire, every guest announced at the door, oh yeah, and a vast selection of Brits and English accents too.

"Whether you're a royalist or not, everyone is going to be watching this wedding," said Jean Mayer of Dickens. "Prince William is going to be the future king, there is no doubt about that. It is going to be a huge event; how could we not do something?"

Dickens Sweets and British Museum is owned by Anne and Fred Hails, who were both born and raised in Britain, and who have a home in Wales just 10 minutes from the young royals.

The couple, themselves, will be in Wales for the wedding affair. But at home, in Chilliwack, where a large British population resides, they knew they couldn't just let the event slip away uncelebrated.

"We've been planning this as soon as we found out," said Mayer.

By the looks of things in the shop, though, it's as though they've been planning it since Prince William was born. There's pictures of a young Wills, a teenage Wills, Wills with Princess Diana and Prince Charles, William in university, in the military, with his brother Harry, with Cate Middleton, a selection of Cate in a variety of Brit-flavoured hats, a young Queen Elizabeth after taking the throne, a much older Queen Elizabeth, and even a replica of Cate's engagement ring, formerly the ring of Princess Di.

"I think this is fabulous," said Mayer. "It's probably going to be the last time in our lifetime that we will see a king get married."

William and Cate met in their first year at St. Andrews University in 2001 while living in the same hall of residence. For nearly 10 years, Cate, a mere commoner, has been hounded by the paparazzi just like Princess Diana, who also came from "common" roots, once was.

When Prince Charles and Princess Di wed in 1981, more than 750 million people watched it on TV, and two million spectators lined the route to the church to get a glimpse of Diana, dressed in a puff ball meringue dress with a 25-foot train.

Mayer, then still living in Northern Ireland, still remembers watching the wedding on TV.

"You had to watch it," she said. "Everyone was watching it. It was the wedding of the century."

Just like how their son's wedding will be the wedding of the 21st century.

"I think actually more people will be watching this one than they did the last one," said Mayer.

They're going to be watching to see what the bride wears, see the extravagancy of the affair, see who's on the guest list, and what they wear.

"It resonates with so many more people now," said Mayer.

"A lot of people were Diana fans, so even if they're not royalists, that's her son – they will be watching this wedding."

The Dickens Wedding Celebration in Oliver's Tea Room will entail four hours of refreshments, lunch, afternoon high tea, socializing, door prizes, best dressed prizes, photographers and more. There will be five TV screens all airing the wedding extravaganza.

Only 40 tickets are available, 15 of which have already been sold.

Tickets are $35 at Dickens Sweets and British Museum.

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