‘A joyous occasion’: How Asia marked the royal wedding
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‘A joyous occasion’: How Asia marked the royal wedding

AUDIENCES across the Asia Pacific from Australia to Pakistan tuned in on Saturday night to watch Britain’s royal wedding between Prince Harry and his new wife, former US actress Meghan Markle.

At least 18 million people tuned in to watch in Britain alone, and estimates for worldwide viewership were as high as 1.9 billion according to The Telegraph. The wedding was like no other the royal family has ever staged, a mix of the pageantry that Britain does so well, and celebrity razzmatazz and African-American culture.

The couple held hands throughout, a gospel choir sang “Stand By Me” and US pastor Michael Curry delivered a passionate, lengthy address about the power of love, referencing slavery.

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According to the French social media monitoring firm Visibrain, more than 6 million people tweeted about the event, with more than 5.2 million tweets featuring the hashtag #RoyalWedding.

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Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex emerge from the West Door of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on May 19, 2018 after their wedding ceremony. Source: Ben Birchall / Pool/ AFP

The embroidery of Markle’s veil represented the 53 countries of the Commonwealth – many of which are located in the Asia Pacific including Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, India, Malaysia, the Maldives, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

Indian celebrity Priyanka Chopra was among the A-listers in attendance at the wedding along with Oprah Winfrey, George and Amal Clooney, Idris Elba, David and Victoria Beckham, Elton John and Serena Williams.

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Students of an art school give finishing touches to a painting created to commemorate the royal wedding of Britain’s Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle, in Mumbai, India May 18, 2018. Source: Reuters /Francis Mascarenhas

In India, a group of Mumbai’s famed dabbawalas, or lunch delivery men, chose a traditional sari dress and kurta jacket as wedding gifts for Harry and his bride.

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According to the Times of India, they distributed free sweets to the families of hospital patients as a way of “expressing our happiness on the occasion.” At the Gurukul School of Art children painted posters of the royal couple and Queen Elizabeth.

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Flags bearing the image of Great Britain’s Prince Harry and US actress Meghan Markle is displayed during a event to celebrate their wedding in Delhi on May 18, 2018. Source: Chandan Khanna/ AFP

In neighbouring Pakistan, the national flag carrier invited Prince Harry and Princess Meghan to travel to the northern region of the country as the late Princess Diana had done.

In Australia, where the British monarch remains the head of state, some pubs were planning wedding parties, while a cinema chain was screening the event live across its network. Viewers were encouraged to come dressed in fun finery, with prizes for the most creative outfits.

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A fan wears a mask of US actor Meghan Markle at a pub in Sydney on May 19, 2018 while watching a live screening of the wedding between Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Source: Peter Parks / AFP

In Melbourne, fashion designer Nadia Foti was planning to attend an “English high tea” where guests would wear plastic crowns and enjoy traditional British treats such as scones and the popular summer drink Pimm’s.

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Guests sit at tables as they watch on television screens the marriage ceremony of Britain’s Prince Harry and fiancee Meghan Markle at an event being held at the Royal Hotel in Sydney, Australia, May 19, 2018. Source: Reuters/ David Gray

“It’s exciting for the fashion and the spectacular,” said Foti. “It’s a joyous occasion and I’ve made a plum cake to celebrate in classic English style.”

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An Indonesian couple pose for a picture in front of a poster of Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle in Solo, Central Java on May 20, 2018. Prince Harry and US TV star Meghan Markle were married in Windsor Castle on May 19 in a star-studded and emotional ceremony watched live by cheering crowds and beamed into homes around the world. Source: Anwar Mustafa/ AFP

According to Channel News Asia, around 300 people turned up to the British Club in Singapore to celebrate the event with a town crier, street food and royal wedding paraphernalia.

As for the couple themselves, they will not be taking a honeymoon immediately. Harry and Meghan will are due to attend a charity garden party for Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.

Additional reporting from AFP and Reuters.