Cynicism and celebrations greet royal wedding

By Ian Dunt

The political world reacted in a predictable manner to the announcement of a royal wedding today, with party leaders celebrating the news while political journalists asked if the government was trying to bury bad news under the ensuing media onslaught.

The Cabinet meeting this morning was interrupted by the news that Prince William would marry Kate Middleton next year.

David Cameron was passed a piece of paper during the meeting, at which point he informed the various Cabinet members at the table, who cheered and thumped the table in celebration.

But eyebrows were raised when the news was reported to the public, as the government had been labouring under two pieces of bad news – David Cameron’s U-turn on hiring a ‘vanity’ photographer on the public payroll and the payout of millions of pounds to former Guantanamo detainees.

On Twitter, party workers, political journalists and bloggers all started weighing in with conspiracy theories about bad news being smuggled out under the wall-to-wall media coverage of the wedding announcement.

But Downing Street insisted it had only learned of the news at 10:30 GMT, 20 minutes after it briefed journalists on the ‘vanity photographer’ announcement.

Meanwhile, political leaders were quick to celebrate the announcement.

Mr Cameron said: “I am delighted to hear this wonderful news. I am sure the whole country will join Samantha and me in wishing them great joy in their life together.”

Speaking to journalists outside Downing Street, Mr Cameron said it was “a great day for our country”.

He continued: “It’s great to have a piece of unadulterated good news that everyone can celebrate.

“I’m sure it’ll be something the whole country will get together. I’m sure lots of people will want to celebrate in lots of different ways.”

Ed Miliband tweeted: “Delighted for Prince William and Kate Middleton on their engagement. The whole country will be wishing them every happiness.”

Nick Clegg said he was “thrilled” for the couple and that he and his wife Miriam sent their “very best wishes”.

London mayor Boris Johnson and Scottish first minister Alex Salmond also sent their congratulations.

“Really pleased for Prince William and Kate,” Mr Johnson tweeted.

Mr Salmond said it was “a match made in St Andrews”. The university says one in ten of its graduates meet their future spouse while studying there.