World·THE ROYAL FASCINATOR

Royal wedding souvenirs — from the cute to the kitschy

If you’re looking for something beyond the standard mugs and plates to remember Prince Harry and Meghan's big day, it's certainly out there. Royal wedding memorabilia has been a big seller for generations, dating back to Queen Victoria's time.

Newsletter: Your invitation to royal wedding news ahead of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's nuptials

Among the souvenirs on offer ahead of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's upcoming marriage are cardboard masks of the pair — sure to keep a permanent smile on the faces of guests at any royal wedding viewing party. (Pascal Leblond/CBC)

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If you're looking for something beyond the standard mugs and plates to remember Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's big day, it's certainly out there. 

Royal wedding memorabilia has been a big seller for generations, dating back to Queen Victoria's time, when industrialization and mass production of such souvenirs took off. And it's been a moneymaker. One report suggests 222 million pounds were spent on memorabilia ahead of Prince William and Kate's marriage seven years ago.

And sometimes that profit opportunity creates a momentum of its own. When Diana was expressing doubts about going ahead with her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981, her sisters cautioned her that it was too late, because her face was already on all the tea towels.

Here's a look at some of the memorabilia marking Harry and Meghan's marriage. Some of it tries to strike a regal tone (as much as these things can). Some of it definitely doesn't. And much of it falls somewhere in the middle on the cute-to-kitschy scale.

The official line

(Royal Collection Enterprises Limited)

Of course, there's the official line of memorabilia from the Royal Collection Shop, much of it English fine bone china and at a considerably higher price point than the mugs and postcards that have been on the shelves of tourist shops for months.

Decor for the big day

(Pascal Leblond/CBC)

Bunting often takes on a patriotic British feel, with all its red, white and blue, and comes out for celebrations throughout the year. But this bit of wedding decor is pretty much only good for one occasion.

Dress-up dolls

(Pascal Leblond/CBC)

Maybe it's no surprise there are dress-up dolls for the royal newlyweds. But hey, Cinderella and other fairytale princesses get a similar treatment.

Postcards, too

(Pascal Leblond/CBC)

Even the corgis get a nod here. They've had a regal link for a quite a while, given the Queen's long devotion to the breed. And, it turns out, the Queen's dogs took to Meghan right away.

Ginger moments

(Pascal Leblond/CBC)

When Harry and Meghan were on their first official royal outing in Nottingham, a redhead in the crowd asked the prince how it felt "being a ginger with Meghan." He seemed pleased: "It's great, isn't it. Unbelievable."

The classic souvenir — modernized

(Pascal Leblond/CBC)

Few royal souvenirs are more quintessential than the tea towel. But it takes many forms, from official to those with an edgier feel… that maybe even resemble a tattoo.

Souvenirs for non-fans

(Pascal Leblond/CBC)

Suffice to say, this one is not for Harry and Meghan's biggest fans. Graphic designer Lydia Leith made a similar bag to mark William and Kate's wedding, and insists she's not on anti-monarchist. It all started out as a joke, she told the Huffington Post. "I'm a fan of royal memorabilia myself and I just thought it would be a lighthearted addition to what's available to commemorate the day."

And if all that isn't enough

(Toby Melville/Reuters)

Plates, spoon rests, key chains — the list of wedding memorabilia goes on and on. And sometimes it can go back generations, with even a nod to Harry's mom amid all that's on offer at one shop in Windsor.


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About the Author

Janet Davison is a CBC senior writer and editor based in Toronto.