PORT STANLEY, Falkland Islands (Reuters) - From the windswept Falkland Islands, battered by the South Atlantic and home to colonies of penguins, to the heat of Kenya, India and Australia, people around the world celebrated Britain’s glittering royal wedding on Saturday.
The scenes of pageantry and romance in Windsor, where Prince Harry married his American bride Meghan Markle, were beamed to locations across continents where people dressed up, raised their glasses and enjoyed the fun of a uniquely British event.
“We are very fond of our royal family and it’s lovely to celebrate an event like this,” said Falkland Islander Leona Roberts, a member of the local assembly and one of the organizers of a wedding party in the tiny capital, Port Stanley.
Children dressed up as princes and princesses for the party, where they received special gifts.
Argentina disputes Britain’s sovereignty over the Falklands, which lie 300 miles (500 km) from the Argentine coast, and the two countries fought a war in 1982 over the islands. Many islanders are fiercely patriotic about Britain.
“As a Falkland Islander I definitely feel a bond with the royal family as a symbol of Britishness. I am a staunch royalist,” said Arlette Betts, at her home on the waterfront in Port Stanley, home to most of the archipelago’s 4,000 inhabitants.
On the other side of the world, 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, while at the Gurukul School of Art children painted posters of the royal couple and Queen Elizabeth.
In Australia, where the British monarch remains the head of state, some pubs held wedding parties, while a cinema chain screened the wedding live across its network. Viewers dressed in finery, with prizes for the most creative outfits.
At the Royal Hotel in Sydney, guests celebrated with a fancy banquet and burst into a spontaneous chorus of “Stand by Me” when a gospel choir sang the Ben E. King hit during the ceremony in Windsor.
“I just think the monarchy as such brings everyone together,” said retiree Bernie Dennis, one of those attending the banquet. “It’s like a family wedding.”
In Melbourne, fashion designer Nadia Foti attended an “English high tea” where guests wore plastic crowns and enjoyed traditional British treats such as scones and the popular summer drink Pimm’s.
“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.”
There were lavish celebrations at the Windsor Golf and Country Club on the outskirts of Nairobi, where guests had shelled out 1 million shillings ($10,000) to view the wedding on a giant screen, enjoy a seven-course banquet and fly to Mount Kenya by helicopter for breakfast the following morning.
Trainee lawyer Odette Ndaruzi, who is preparing for her own wedding later in the year, said she wanted to pick up some tips.
“I’m excited to see how the maidens in England are dressed, the jewelry and colors they are wearing,” she said.
The event drew criticism from some Kenyan media, however, due to the hefty price tag in a country where millions live in slums.
But perhaps the greatest interest in the royal wedding, outside of Britain, was in the bride’s home country, the United States.
In New York, revelers headed to Harry’s Bar to watch the ceremony on TV, surrounded by U.S. and British flags. Many posed for photos alongside cardboard cutouts of the bride and groom.
In Los Angeles, a lively crowd at the English-style Cat and Fiddle pub in Hollywood enjoyed pints of beer, royal-themed cocktails and British staples like sausage rolls and scones.
Popular tipples included the “Bloody Harry”, billed as a modern take on the Bloody Mary, but with added ginger as a cheeky nod to the prince’s red hair.
Reporting by Marcos Brindicci in Port Stanley, Rajendra Jadhav and Sankalp Phartiyal in Mumbai, James Redmayne and David Gray in Sydney, Alana Schetzer in Melbourne, John Ndiso in Nairobi, Roselle Chen in New York, Jane Ross and Lucy Nicholson in Los Angeles; Writing by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Giles Elgood