It's a week to go till the wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle, and so soon after the birth of Prince Louis, royalty fever is upon us!
Prince Harry and Megan's nuptials take place on Saturday 19th May in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle at 12pm. Whilst official commemorative china, commissioned exclusively by Buckingham Palace, went on sale in March, no doubt a million cheap mugs and tea towels will be bought to commemorate this national celebration.
Royal souvenirs are a thriving industry, with an estimated £222 million spent on memorabilia in the run-up to the 2011 wedding of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, according to the Centre for Retail Research.
Royal memorabilia really began with the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1840, perfectly timed within the industrial revolution and the introduction of factories and mass production. In addition to this the emerging middle class found any links to the Royal Family highly desirable, as they felt it would reinforce their new-found high status. In 1861, the Prince Consort's death and Queen Victoria's extensive and intense mourning period resulted in not only some of the finest Victorian architecture, such as the Royal Albert Hall and The Victoria & Albert Museum, but also memento mori jewellery and ephemera. The public followed Victoria's suit, and consequently Royal memorabilia remained extremely popular.
Since that time, any Royal event or celebration can be immortalised in the form of cups, plates, tins, glasses, coins, badges...the list goes on.
Older Royal souvenirs can have real value, depending on their quality and rarity. Look out for pre-industrial revolution pieces. Also popularity is a huge factor, any genuine wedding memorabilia involving Princess Diana remains extremely collectable.