The Royal Wedding and Britain’s north-south divide

Last Friday the UK celebrated the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, otherwise known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The day was designated as a special public holiday so most people had the day off work.

Kate and William
The happy couple

It’s traditional for everyone to join in royal wedding celebrations by holding street parties. But this seems to be getting less popular. When Charles and Diana married in 1981, there were tens of thousands of street party applications (you have to have a special license). This time, there were only 4,000.

Royal Wedding bunting
Royal Wedding bunting

If you’ve ever spent time in England you have probably heard of the north-south divide: most often this turns up in the form of friendly (or not so friendly) rivalry between the two parts of the UK, but it is also reflected in salary levels, joblessness, health and various other indicators. On Friday the north-south divide turned up again – street parties were much more popular in the South of the UK.

Royal Wedding street party
Londoners celebrating with their neighbours

Read more:
Picture Postcards: Wedding cake in the UK
Portugal and the UK: a historic royal alliance
Romania’s Royal history

About the author

Lucy (Liz) Chatburn
Lucy is English and first ventured out of the UK she was 19. Since then she has lived in 4 different countries and tried to see as much of the world as possible. She loves learning languages, learning about different cultures and hearing different points of view.
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  • This reminds me of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South somehow.

  • Thanks for the recommendation – I didn’t know it but I’m going to look for it immediately! I’m from the north and went to university in the south, so I can confirm tht the north-south rivalry thing really exists :)

  • I thought the little flags were very amusing – William’s teeth looked like someone had tip-exed over them.

    The information about the difference between the celebrations in the north versus the south is very interesting.

    I didn’t see any celebrations at all here in Leeds ‘up north’ in England – not one – and I was out in town because I wasn’t very interested in watching the wedding on the TV.

    Leeds was quiet, but it could have been the everyone was at home sleeping on their extra day off…

    Still, I cannot imagine that the reason there were few parties in the north because of some north-south divide that makes loyalists out of southerners and republicans out of northerners.

    I just don’t think that northerners equate royalty with the conservatives and the rich.

    As you are from the north – what do you think about that?

    Interesting that Cameron was speaking in Harrogate (the posh bit of Yorkshire) – he might have been run out of town if he had tried to speak in Leeds.

  • It’s a very bright smile isn’t it?

    I am from the north, although I don’t live in the UK so I guess I’m not the most qualified to comment. Like you I thought the north-south street party thing was interesting. Although I can’t think of any particular reason for it. Maybe I will try surveying some friends…

    Thanks for stopping by David.