US fans plan royal wedding tea parties
Chicago - It's just 10 days until Americans set their alarm clocks for the wee hours of the morning to watch Prince William marry Kate Middleton, and already the royal fever is heating up across the Atlantic Ocean.
In one of Los Angeles's suburbs, a pub owner plans to stay open all night for a champagne party. In Washington, one woman plans a British tea for 20 guests.
A particular die-hard fan plans to fly halfway across the country to watch the wedding with her daughter, just as they watched Princess Diana's wedding in 1981, while another is taking the day off from work to soak up the details in solitude.
Television specials are planned, American magazines are putting out commemorative issues and wall-to-wall US news coverage of the April 29 nuptials is expected.
But why are Americans so interested in the royal wedding? Kate and Diana
A clue is Middleton's role as a commoner breaking into the unbreakable British monarchy, said Philippa Levine, co-director of the British studies programme at the University of Texas in Austin.
"For Americans, that really taps into something that's deep in this culture, anybody can succeed, you just have to try hard," Levine said. "It really does, for a lot of people, bring home the possibility that it could be them."
"Wedding-watchers will see William and remember how his mother brought glamour, star quality and a breath of fresh air into the royal family," said Yvonne Yorke, royal wedding expert for the cable television station Wedding Central.
"When they look at William they see his mother," Yorke said. "A lot of people want William to find the happiness that eluded Diana."