Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rule, Britannia wedding souvenirs

What with the Royal W just a bit over a week away, and it being Queen Elizabeth’s birthday today, I was feeling in a bit of a take-a-royal-gander mood. So it was interesting to check out the Kate and William souvenirs that are on offer. (Source:

This just might be the major boost that can get Recession-deadened consumers spending again.

I sure hope so.

Not that I’ll be buying much of anything.

Still, it’s nice to know that if I do decide to commemorate this event, there are plenty of options.

At first glance, the Pez dispensers look like  a cheap and easy way in. But these are one-offs, being auctioned on eBay, with the proceeds to go to the charity of the pez-dispenser-REUTERS-Herwig-Prammer__1302188574_5928couple’s choice. Which is flat-out no fun for those who collect Pez dispensers, as eBay should damned well know if anybody does. Harrumph.

I’ll take a pass on the commemorative condoms. Was it just 30 short years ago that her sisters were kidding Lady Di about her face being on the tea-towels? Now we have Crown Jewels. Not what I would call an uptick in taste, that’s for sure. (“Well, Kate, you can’t back out now. Your face is on the condom pack.”)

Beer lovers can get a bottle of “Kiss Me Kate” or “Prince William Porter.” Tea lovers can buy Kate and William tea-bags. Car lovers can get a windshield sticker.  And the Franklin Mint has a couple of Kate dolls, available in “limited” edition. If $195 per doll is above your personal limit, there’s also a Barbie-style fashion doll.

What else is out there?

Creepy playing cards. Creepy chair cushions. Creepy cardboard cutouts.

If you’re seized with the entrepreneurially spirit, and are feeling flushed with royal zeal, you’ve still got another week to come up with a souvenir. So have a go. But do be mindful that the Royals, like any other corporation, celebrity, or celebrity corporation, want to control the use of its brand. Just keep calm, carry on, and follow the guidelines that has so kindly put together for us.  There has been a “Temporary Relaxation” approved by Prince William that lets you use Royal Photographs and Insignia on souvenirs, including the full-coat of arts of the prince.

To qualify for the privileges detailed in the circular such souvenirs must be:

(a) In good taste.
(b) Free from any form of advertisement.
(c) Carry no implication of Royal custom or approval.

I suspect that the condom-makers didn’t exactly follow the guidelines. Nor the sick-bag maker. (“Throne up.” Get it. Thrown up. Har-dee-har.)

I don’t blame them for wanting to steer clear of condoms and air sickness bags, but those Royals sure are picky about textiles:

With the exception of carpets, cushions, wall hangings and head scarves, Royal Devices MAY NOT be used on textiles (which includes articles of clothing, including T-shirts, drying up cloths and aprons).

Note that a Royal Photograph is not tea-towel-London-Peter-Macdiarmid-Getty-Images__1302188575_1896a Royal Device, so Kate’s face can go on a tea towel. Not to mention “metalware, ceramic or other semiindestructible” container or receptacle for, say, biscuits, or tea. As with textiles, photos only: no use of the Prince’s coat of arms or cypher.

There is still time to whip up some net bags with Jordan almonds in them.

I do caution that this event will all mostly be good for British business – and right-io-ly so. It’ll also be good, of course, for the Asian factories spewing this stuff out. (Honestly, don’t you ever wonder what’s going through the mind of some Chinese peasant working in some sweatshop churning out William and Kate tea-towels, Pez dispensers, and biscuit tins. What’s Chinese for WTF?)

If an explanation or guidance is required in respect of the rules please write to the Lord Chamberlain’s Office, Buckingham Palace, London, SW1A 1AA.

Hurry, do.