Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

US Networks in Despair as Palace Insists on Wedding Night Lights-Out

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

US Networks in Despair as Palace Insists on Wedding Night Lights-Out

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Prynn Consumer Business Editor

BUCKINGHAM PALACE is caught in a furious row with American broadcasters over plans to plunge the building into darkness at the climax of their royal wedding coverage.

Lights illuminating the front facade of the Palace will be switched off at 12.30am, just as tens of millions of Americans sit down to watch primetime evening bulletins presented from London.

Networks such as CBS, NBC and ABC have paid up to [pounds sterling]50,000 to build temporary studios to cover the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29, with the Queen's official residence as their backdrop. But courtiers insist the lights must be turned off just after midnight to save electricity and let royal staff sleep.

US and Canadian broadcasters have asked for the lights to stay on all night, claiming their coverage will be damaged.

A correspondent at one US channel said: "We all want to show off Buckingham Palace in all its glory, but that's obviously impossible if no one can see it."

Lengthy negotiations between courtiers and representatives of the networks resulted in the normal 11pm switch-off time being extended to midnight in the days leading up to April 29, and 12.30am on the big day.

A spokeswoman for the Palace said: "We have tried to be as accommodating as possible. There was a request to keep the lights on all night but there's nothing more we can do about that. There are residential concerns as well as environmental. We have staff living within the Palace facing The Mall. The decision won't change."

Thomas Kennedy, bureau chief with the Canadian Television Network, said: "This is an issue for everyone in the North American time zone. The Palace gave us a sympathetic hearing, but the answer was no." The row has overshadowed preparations for what will be the biggest TV event ever staged in Britain, with thousands of foreign correspondents and back-up staff pouring into London from all over the world. …

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