Excitement building over royal wedding
The royal correspondents are calming their nerves and the souvenir sellers are taking a deep breath because - after weeks of hype - it's finally here. On Friday all eyes will fall upon London to watch Prince William marry Kate Middleton in what is expected to be one of the defining moments of our times.
Prince William is to marry Kate Middleton on Friday
For weeks people have talked of little else but the royal wedding, and all over the country folk are gearing up for a serious party - whether it's outside their house, in their living room, or lining the streets outside Westminster Abbey.
Over the past few days the hysteria has reached fever pitch and, as newsreaders have been sternly reminding us, the world is watching. An overwhelming assortment of royal wedding coverage across TV, newspapers and the internet has been fuelling the hype.
The mass public celebrations triggered by the wedding of Kate and Wills are nothing new, for back in 1981 when Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer married, people went equally gaga - buying commemorative mugs and plates and cooing at the bride in her beautiful dress.
But much has changed since then, and we will enjoy this royal wedding with a dazzling array of gadgets in rolling 24-hour coverage - thanks, mainly, to the internet. Back when Charles and Diana wed, newspapers had to wait hours to get their coverage out. This time around papers will use websites to create oodles of rolling words, pictures and videos for us to enjoy on desktop PCs, laptops and tablets.
But it's not just comment and clips we can get via our laptops and desktop PCs, for the wedding will be broadcast live on YouTube via the Royal Channel - using BBC footage. Also, if you want to do what would have been impossible in 1981 and watch the coverage in the park or on a train, you will be able to with your tablet computer.
Masses of multimedia features are being rolled-out for the big day. People will wake on Friday to find their favourite news websites filled with interactive graphics and photo galleries, and their Twitter feeds buzzing with updates from royal household staff.
People will also use Twitter to tell the world - rather than just their other half - what they think of Kate's dress. The royal household has encouraged people to get interactive and send messages of congratulations via the Twitter hash tag, #rw2011. On Facebook you can confirm your 'attendance' at the wedding and share your experiences of the day.
If all this talk of hashtags has put you in a spin, take comfort in the fact that some traditions will remain as they were - well, kind of. The BBC will be providing rolling coverage of the day, as it did in 1981. At the helm this time will be Huw Edwards, talking you through proceedings as you sit with your feet up in front of the television - be it a sleek LED TV or the same set you watched Charles and Diana on.
Also linking 1981 with 2011 is photography, with amateurs as keen as ever to record memories of their day. Digital cameras will allow people to see if their snaps are good as soon as they've taken them - no waiting for developers like in 1981.
But if you're heading out to celebrate on the day, be sure to take a waterproof cover. Despite the recent sunshine, the Met Office has said there is a risk of heavy showers on Friday - meaning that a case for your digital camera or tablet computer is probably a safe bet.
It's a good job it takes more than a drop of rain to spoil the party for the average Briton; which brings us around nicely to one aspect of the wedding celebrations that haven't changed - the parties. Up to 500,000 people are expected to take to the streets on Friday to toast the marriage of Kate and Wills over a sausage roll and a glass of pop - just like we did for Charles and Diana all those years ago.
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