Commemorative plates, napkins and tea bags vie for attention in shop windows near Buckingham Palace, ready for the first coronation of a British monarch in 70 years.
“We’ve ordered about three times as many (souvenirs) as usual,” Sardor Zok, a salesman in charge of coronation items at online memorabilia retailer Cool Britannia, told AFP.
Zok expects demand to increase ahead of Charles III’s coronation on Saturday.
Elsewhere, the coronation presented an obvious marketing opportunity.
High-end department store Fortnum & Mason, which supplies tea to the royal family, is selling a special organic Coronation Darjeeling for the coronation priced at £19.95 ($24.90) for 200 grams.
“We chose Darjeeling because we understand that King Charles drinks it with a spoonful of honey,” said Ottilie Cunningham, one of the brand’s managers.
“We have decided to select only organic tea gardens in Darjeeling due to Her Majesty’s passion for organic farming.”
The ‘Emma Bridgewater’ ceramics company, popular with royal collectors, produced a wide variety of tableware for the occasion, ranging from £12 to £28 for a mug, cup of tea or coffee.
All of its pieces are decorated by hand, the maker says, adding that sales have started on a high note and are expected to be better than for Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee last year.
The coronation will also see the sale of some six million coins and medals minted for the event, millions of pounds of jewellery, flags and banners as well as 10,000 teapots, according to forecasts by consultants at the Center for Retail Research.
The cost of living crisis will take a back seat, with Britons and tourists alike expected to spend more than £245million on souvenirs alone – and more than £1.4billion if wider celebrations are included, a he added.
– ‘Fanatical’ –
“A lot of the people buying souvenirs will be older people… less affected by the cost of living crisis – they own their homes, have a pension,” said CRR director Joshua Bamfield.
In the souvenir shops behind the palace, customers enter to browse an eclectic mix of royal memorabilia, looking to spend “£15-20”, according to store manager Ismayil Vadakkethil.
Items include protective gloves embossed with the Royal Coat of Arms, paper towels and streamers decorated with the Union Jack and a ‘Monarchy Forever’ t-shirt featuring the King.
“My mum is a fanatical royalist, she has a window display with all that royal stuff,” said Australian Julie Whitehead, 63.
“So I’m going to take King Charles’s for her because her cabinet is full of Queen Elizabeth’s,” she added.
But while King Charles items are selling well, so are memorabilia featuring the monarch’s late mother, which remains hugely popular with royal memorabilia hunters.
“I prefer the queen,” said Amélie Zerr, a 40-year-old French tourist, adding that she was looking for a “kitschy little souvenir” and had set her sights on a mug and a coaster.
Customers have changed lately, Vadakkethil noted.
“Recently I’ve noticed it’s not just tourists coming in. People who work nearby, in offices, Londoners themselves, they come into the store,” he said. added.
For Britons, “it’s a big event”, and many will be experiencing a coronation for the first time, Bamfield said.
“People will be impressed by the ceremonial aspect and will buy things to remember it,” he predicted. “It’s part of the British psyche.”
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)