Published On: Sun, Dec 3rd, 2017

Meghan Markle’s wedding present: Harry’s bride gives Britain’s economy £500MILLION boost

Thousands of visitors are expected to flock to the UK for the ceremony at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, while millions more watch on TV.

Consultants Brand Finance predicts the increase in tourism, combined with sales of royal memorabilia and the knock-on effect of spending in Britain’s shops, bars and restaurants, will be huge.

Chief executive David Haigh said: “In 2012 we estimated the uplift of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations to tourism at £390million, including hotel bookings and merchandise sales. It could be expected that the royal wedding next year generates a similar or even larger value.

“A lot of value generated by the monarchy comes from the Duchess of Cambridge’s Midas touch and the extra sales of fashion brands that she is seen wearing.

“Meghan Markle is an accomplished actress in her own right, with a global popularity and a strong personal brand. It can be expected that she will join the Duchess of Cambridge as a great ambassador of the monarchy and British brands in general, especially in her native United States and in Canada where she recently lived.”

A £495 handbag carried by Suits star Meghan at the couple’s first official public engagement on Friday in Nottingham quickly sold out on the designer Strathberry’s website.

When William married Kate in 2011 the UK saw a year-on-year increase of 800,000 visitors.

With the pound depreciating, it is predicted that tourist numbers are likely to be even higher for Harry and Meghan’s wedding.

The celebrations are also likely to boost the value of media coverage for Brand Britain around the world, estimated to be worth £125million this year.

Brand Finance estimates the value of unofficial endorsements by members of the Royal Family – sometimes called the “Kate effect” – at £200million a year but a “Meghan effect” could boost it even higher.

The rags to riches story of Meghan’s union with Harry first broke in the Sunday Express in October 2016 and captured imaginations in both America and the UK.

It is thought the wedding between LA-born Meghan, 36, and 33-year-old Harry will cement Britain’s relationship with the United States.

Dr Ted Malloch, an adviser to US President Donald Trump, said: “I watched their interview and came away thinking these were two people who are genuinely in love. They are clearly suited to each other, and I think it’s a commentary on what will become a very special relationship between Britain and the US.

“Meghan is an established and respected figure in the US. She seems to be a decent person who is also philanthropic – that’s what drew the couple together – and the Americans are very positive about the announcement.

“Americans are still enormously enamoured with the British monarchy. Trump himself loves the Queen, because his mother adored her.

“The vast majority of Americans visiting Britain still make Buckingham Palace their first port of call. And Harry remains a fi rm favourite in the US. While Americans like all the ceremony that accompanies Britain’s Royal Family, Harry has an ‘everyday guy’ quality about him that makes him the most popular royal in the US. He’s had a few scrapes in the past and I think Americans look at him and think, ‘He’s more like us’.

“People in Britain have a propensity to forget how well liked they are in the US, how much the UK is respected. We are already close as nations and this will bring us even closer.”

A senior US TV producer said: “An all-American girl marrying her handsome British prince absolutely guarantees an enormous audience here in her home country.”

No fewer than 14 US channels covered William and Kate’s wedding and even more are expected to apply for permission to broadcast live from Windsor.

Daily Express :: News Feed