Whether you’re a die-hard royal fan or not, there’s no denying the hype whipped up by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s May 19 nuptials. From Emma Bridgewater mugs to Kensington Palace-approved merchandise, the nation is already cashing in on the biggest event of 2018.
And despite a 600-strong exclusive guest list, the lack of a royal invitation won't stop millions of flag-bearing tourists from across the globe flying in to witness the big day.
But nothing could anticipate the surge in bookings across a quiet Berkshire town. Yes, unlikely tourist spot, Slough, graced the headlines this week after Airbnb reported a 1,438 percent increase in interest. And just ten minutes from Windsor, where the couple will tie the knot at St George’s Chapel, there is no greater place to celebrate.
The travel giant also noted a spike in interest across neighbouring towns, Reading and Maidenhead, thanks to major train connections.
Unsurprisingly, Windsor will cash in on the upcoming nuptials too with locals renting out their homes at an average starting price of £353 for the weekend.
According to Airbnb, current search levels could enable Windsor to generate a total host income of approximately £126,800. Meanwhile, Slough could be looking at an average of £141 per host over the wedding weekend.
The royal wedding is expected to inject over £500 million into the economy so it’s not surprising to learn that travel agent – Opado – has also noted a 33 percent rise in travellers flying into the capital on 17, 18 and 19 May.
But a word of warning for those hoping to catch a glimpse of Meghan Markle's wedding dress, you may need to perch on a friend's shoulders for the perfect Instagram snap.
Back in 2011, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding saw a 266 percent increase in flight bookings as royal fans flocked to London. And that's not even touching on the street parties which took place.
But for those of you desperate to take part in the big day, make sure to book your trip as soon as possible. Word has it, Slough is set to become the nation's hot spot.
NOW READ: Prince Harry And Meghan Markle's Relationship Timeline
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met in London in July 2016.
They were introduced by mutual friend Markus Anderson, who is the director of Soho House.
In October 2016, the Express became the first newspaper to publish news that Prince Harry had a new girlfriend.
On November 8th 2016, Kensington Palace released an unprecedented statement which referring to Markle as Harry's girlfriend for the first time.
In the statement, Prince Harry condemned the 'wave of abuse and harrassment' faced by Markle, saying that he was 'worried about Ms. Markle's safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.'
'It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm,' the statement continued.
The couple were papped together for the first time in December 2016, shopping for a Christmas tree in London at the Pines and Needles store.
Later that week, they were seen on London's West End, catching a performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
In February, Prince Harry wore a his 'n' hers bracelet on the cover of Town & Country magazine, just weeks after Markle was pictured wearing the same one on Instagram.
In March 2017, Meghan joined Prince Harry in the Caribbean for the wedding of his friend's Tom 'Skippy' Inskip and Lara Hughes-Young.
It was the first time that Markle accompanied Harry to a wedding, marking another milestone occasion for the couple.
The first public event attended by the couple was the polo at Coworth Park in May 2017.
Later in May, Markle attended the party portion of Pippa Middleton's wedding to James Middelton.
Prince Harry was seen driving her to the event after the church ceremony.
The couple made their first official public appearance in September, when Markle attended the opening of Prince Harry's Invictus Games.
Meghan wore a maroon midi dress with a pleated chiffon skirt by one of her favourite Canadian brands Aritzia.
She teamed it with a matching burgundy biker jacket by Mackage.
Although Prince Harry was sat next to First Lady Melania Trump at the event, rather than his girlfriend, she was only seated a few rows behind him.
The couple were photographed together the following day at the wheelchair tennis.
Much was made of Markle's choice of outfit: ripped jeans and a white blouse called 'The Husband'.
The couple 'broke with royal protocol' by holding hands and appearing affectionate while at the Invictus Games.
Prince Harry reportedly spent time with Meghan's mother Doria while at the Games too.
The couple indulged in some PDA at the closing ceremony.
Prince Harry was photographed kissing Meghan.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Meghan referred to Harry as her boyfriend numerous times, saying: 'We're a couple. We're in love. I'm sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people understand is that this is our time.'
In late September 2017, it was reported that Meghan had met the Queen, prompting speculation that the relationship was getting serious.
In early November 2017, it was reported that Meghan Markle was leaving Suits after seven series.
In mid-November 2017, bookies suspending betting on an impending royal engagement, as speculation grew that an announcement was about to be made.
On November 27th 2017, Prince Charles announced the engagement of his younger son Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after 15 months of dating.
The couple later appeared at a photocall, with Markle wearing a white dress coat by Canadian brand Line The Label. The website has subsequently crashed.
The engagement ring, by Cleave and Company, was reportedly designed by Prince Harry himself, using two stones that belonged to Princess Diana.
When asked by waiting photographers if the proposal was romantic, Harry joked 'of course!'