Royal wedding: Dress rehearsal and princess rings
With just two days to go until the wedding of the year, Prince William and Kate Middleton did what any wedding party would do: a dress rehearsal. Only theirs was at Westminster Abbey, the stately London church where the wedding will be held, and included carriages and horses.
People have traveled from all over the world to witness the royal wedding day celebrations. Many hotels and restaurants are at capacity and retailers are finding that every tourist wants a memory to take home. Anything you can possibly imagine is here graced with Prince William and Kate Middleton's smiling faces.
Jennifer Shoemaker of West Springfield, Va., and her family just moved to London a few weeks ago. Perfect timing for this nationwide celebration.
“We wanted to support the royal family so we have some flags and a couple of things to decorate the flat with it,” said Shoemaker.
Part of the fun: The family has its own William and Catherine, brother and sister. “They will be very excited,” said Shoemaker.
British flags are far from the only items being sold to commemorate Friday's nuptials. Souvenir shops and stands are overflowing with knick-knacks and memorabilia.
Visiting London from Roanoke, Va., Sandy settled on a mug and tea bag holder.
There's everything from banners and posters, to key chains and t-shirts, and for those looking for something more extravagant, there’s the china set. These are heirloom pieces, delicate commemorative china tea cups, plates and serving sets.
One of the most popular souvenirs is a replica of Princess Diana’s ring which now graces Kate Middleton's finger.
With 18 carats of sensational sapphire, Kate Middleton's dazzling engagement ring has a priceless past. William gave it to Kate to bring the memory of his late mother into the celebration.
It’s not just the tourist traps that are selling rings modeled after the one of the future princess. High-end jewelers are also showing off collections of sapphires.
Princess Diana ordered the ring from a catalog in 1981. The original price was reportedly $42,000.
The London-based Graff Sapphire collection also holds many treasures jewels – in fact, the stones are so expensive, guards have to accompany them at all times during their tour of the U.S.
The collection includes extravagant earrings with nearly 14 carats of sapphires and 11 carats of diamonds. They're legacy pieces intended to be passed down through families.
“I think a lot of women are now looking at their engagement rings more as family heirlooms than they were looking at them as jewelry for the here and now,” said Heather Shaw Menis of Saks Fifth Avenue.
Those who don't have millions or even thousands can go for a sapphire-like rings, sold by street vendors for about 22 bucks. Vendor Inmar Qhudar says he's sold 10 boxes of rings in the last two weeks.