x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Making the most of the merchandise

A number of UAE shops - mostly in Dubai, where the British community is centred - have been stocking wedding goods ranging from Kate masks to bunting and cupcakes.

From souvenir stalls, to enterprising individuals online, to high street stores, the vast array include something to cater for every taste – or lack of it.
From souvenir stalls, to enterprising individuals online, to high street stores, the vast array include something to cater for every taste – or lack of it.

DUBAI // As billions of television viewers around the world prepare to watch Prince William and Kate Middleton say "I do" today, many will have surrounded themselves with the paraphernalia of a British royal wedding - and none more so than the UAE's British expatriates.

A number of UAE shops - mostly in Dubai, where the British community is centred - have been stocking wedding goods ranging from Kate masks to bunting and cupcakes.

Demand has been keen. When the Giftbox store at Arabian Ranches received a consignment of Kate and Will flags, balloons and bunting, the items were snapped up.

"We had a big rush and most of it was sold," said the co-owner, Laura Sarssam. "We unloaded it from the lorry and people were going through the boxes before we even had a chance to put them on display.

"People are having garden parties, and the flags and bunting have been the key things."

Mr Ben's Costume Closet at Al Ghazal Mall has been doing a brisk trade in Kate and Will paper masks at Dh30 each, or Dh50 a pair, along with masks bearing the faces of other royals, including the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince Harry, the best man.

Mr Ben's is selling and renting out British-style costumes to mark the wedding, including a guardsman's tunic, a colonial soldier's uniform and, in a nod to the London setting, a Big Ben outfit.

"There's been a lot of interest," Jayne Eastland, the owner, said. "We've had Union Jack costumes and England superhero costumes, and the royal family masks have been a big hit. I think people just want to have a bit of fun with it."

If you want to catch up on the story so far, head over to Magrudy's where you'll find a selection of books about the royal romance.

You can choose from: William and Kate - Celebrating a Royal Engagement, by Robin Nunn; Kate - The Making of a Princess, by Claudia Joseph; and William and Kate - A Royal Love Story, which has been published by a UK newspaper.

The range in the UAE is as nothing compared to what is on offer in London, where the centre for Retail Research is predicting sales totalling £200 million (Dh1.2 billion).

From souvenir stalls, to enterprising individuals online, to high street stores, the vast array include something to cater for every taste - or lack of it.

If it can be moulded from plastic or fired in a kiln, then London has a version of it with Kate and William's image slapped on it: mugs, ceramic bells, teaspoons, ashtrays, milk jugs and teapots.

Should you want your tea as well as your tea-set to be royally branded then there's KaTEA and William tea bags, although at £4.95 for a set of two it is a pricey brew. The tea bags are available in Dubai from the S*uce fashion chain for Dh40.

For those too young to be interested in tea or commemorative coins, the Early Learning Centre has come up with the Happy Land Royal Wedding Set, at £15.

* The National