Royal wedding an excuse to party in Australia

Australia won't be represented at the royal wedding, but it's still going to be big news here.
Australia won't be represented at the royal wedding, but it's still going to be big news here.

Royal wedding fever will fill the living rooms of many Australian homes this weekend as Prince Harry ties the knot with American actress Meghan Markle.

More than three-quarters of Australians watched at least part of the nuptials of Harry's older brother William and Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey in 2011, according to a Roy Morgan poll.

And it looks like history will be repeated on Saturday night when TV networks beam live coverage of Harry's wedding from Windsor Castle into Australian homes.

Emily Regidor, from Greystanes in Sydney's west, is planning an English-themed viewing party with her girlfriends including crowns, a spread of scones, cake and royal wedding drinking games with wine in teacups.

The 24-year-old said the fact that former Suits star Markle is becoming a royal is just as interesting as Harry's progression from the "party person" of the family.

"I grew up with Harry being the rebel so I was always going to be interested in who he ended up marrying, and it worked out that I was interested in her too," Ms Regidor told AAP.

"We've seen her on our TV screens and all that and now we've seen her real life transition into this other role."

In Sydney's north, Jane Massam is hosting a party with Pimm's, cucumber sandwiches and Yorkshire puddings for her English husband, friends and children - including her eight-year-old son Harry, who was named after the prince.

The 42-year-old spent eight years living her Australian "rite of passage" in London and feels an affinity with the younger royals after watching them mature and start families of their own.

"I think there's a lot of affection for the monarchy, it's just a nice event, a nice celebration to sit and watch," she said.

"It's more of an entertainment thing and it's a little bit out of the ordinary as well.

"Meghan Markle is not that ordinary but she's a commoner and when she gets married, she becomes a royal, so there's something a bit magical about that."

The Nine and Seven Networks' breakfast teams will broadcast from London every day this week while SBS and the ABC will cover the wedding live on Saturday night.

The commercial networks and Foxtel have flooded pre-wedding programming with documentaries, films, interviews and behind-the-scenes footage of Meghan and Harry.

The wedding has also put Australian Monarchist League members in party mode, with events planned in capital cities this weekend.

"When people observe an event such as this, they see the unification effect that this produces, that it's a positive thing," spokeswoman Rachel Bailes said.

"A lot of people in England will care greatly about this event for patriotic reasons but this is an event that celebrates the Commonwealth, that family of nations, and that family of constitutional monarchies."

Ms Bailes said Harry has duties to Australia as a prince but is a "resounding, apolitical type of role model" and not a symbol of the republic debate.

But Michael Cooney, national director of the Australian Republic Movement, is playing down the level of interest in the latest royal wedding.

"It is a very sentimental occasion for some people or admirers of Harry's mother Diana, a guilty pleasure for some, and for others it's all a bit English and a bit remote," he said.

"It's a big occasion in England and lots of people will enjoy being part of the audience but I don't think anyone really believes it's a big occasion for Australia."

Australian Associated Press