07/28/2011

Message to royal gawkers: Stay away

Zara church

Police presence intensified this week around Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh in preparation for the wedding of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall. (Getty Images)

In case you didn’t know, the Royal Family is having a wedding this weekend. And now that you do know, please stay away.

The family – and the police – are going to great lengths to discourage royal gawkers from venturing to Edinburgh, where Zara Phillips, Princess Anne’s daughter, and Mike Tindall will exchange rings on Saturday.

Police are warning would-be spectators that the streets around Canongate Kirk – the church where the couple will marry – are very narrow and there will only be room for perhaps 2,000 to view the procession. Phillips, Princess Anne’s daughter, will be spending the night at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, then she and the royals will be driven about a quarter mile to the church.

Police have set up barricades along the route and, in keeping with the low-key approach wanted by the family, there will be no TV cameras allowed inside the church and limited photo opportunities.

About 300 guests are expected for the wedding, including Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the newlywed Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry.

Security will be tight around the royals, with some estimates putting the cost of extra police protection at more than $700,000.

Still, this is a far cry from the pomp and ceremony of William and Kate’s wedding, where millions lined the streets from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey, and hundreds of millions more watched it unfold on TV.

Regardless of the royal connection, Tindall and Phillips nevertheless are British celebrities. He’s one of Britian’s top rugby players and she is a top equestrian with sights set on the 2012 Olympics.

“As far as we are concerned this is a traditional Scottish wedding like any other,” police superintendent Ivor Marshall said. “At the end of the day, Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall are sports personalities. It just so happens that the bride’s family is also the Royal Family.”

The bride holds no royal title and performs no royal duties, though she is 13th in line for the throne.

Tindall and Phillips will host a reception on Friday night aboard the former royal yacht, Britannia, with the post-wedding reception set for Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official Scottish residence.

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