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How To Watch The Royal Wedding In The Way That's Right For You

Prince Harry, the sixth in line to the British throne, is marrying American actress (and former Suits star) Meghan Markle on Saturday, May 19. If you don't know much about Markle, there's an excellent profile of her in the Washington Post; we won't belabor the details, but she is biracial and divorced, both of which have made her a subject of increased interest from the time she and Harry started dating. Now, however, it's wedding time. Wedding fever! Or else, of course, wedding lack-of-interest, which is also entirely valid, not only for Americans but for British people as well.

Fortunately (?), there are as many ways to watch the wedding as there are episodes of Suits (that's not literally true, I don't think, but let's go with it as hyperbole), and we're here to help. Whatever kind of watcher you are, there's a way for you to watch — and take note, this is not even exhaustive! All times listed here are Eastern, so if you're in the Pacific time zone, you might be looking at "stay up late" rather than "get up early." Or take a nap before? Or after? Who knows how you survive out there.

The minimalist

Says: "I just want to watch the wedding on TV. It seems like a thing! I sometimes enjoy a thing."

Plan: The major broadcast networks, plus news networks including CNN, are showing the wedding beginning around 4 or 5 AM, depending on the network. You can pretty easily click on the news provider of your choice and watch TV wherever you normally do. Have your morning coffee, eat your eggs or your cereal or what have you, and pretend you're just getting up really early.

The mobile viewer

Says: "I know what royals are, but what's a television?"

Plan: Can you stream the wedding? Yes! As a matter of fact, you can watch it right here at NPR.org. But if for some reason you don't want to spend the morning with us (or if we get squirrels in our internet cables), CNN.com is streaming it, as are ABC, NBC (at Today.com), CBS, PBS, and others including NYTimes.com. This is one you will be able to find online. Again, most of them will kick in around 4:00 or 5:00 AM.

The glitz enthusiast

Says: "I think of it like an awards show. Can I see it treated like an awards show?"

Plan: Absolutely! You may know E! as one of our primary red carpet coverage purveyors; they're also broadcasting the royal wedding. (If you're starting to get the feeling that everybody short of the gas pump at the Shell station is showing the royal wedding, you're not entirely wrong.) Their coverage starts at 5 AM.

The somewhat-Anglophile

Says: "I hate American coverage of British things. I want British coverage of British things! Sorry, Gayle ... King."

Plan: This is entirely fair. BBC America will be simulcasting the BBC One coverage beginning at 4 AM.

The deep-dive Anglophile

Says: "I try as hard as I can to feel British. Every day of my life. I start with Cheerios for breakfast. ...Get it? Hey, why do actual British people keep punching me?"

Plan: There are two different streaming services, AcornTV and Britbox, that specialize in British content (or whatever more dignified thing British people call "content"). Britbox is streaming the wedding live, and both have other wedding-adjacent and royal-adjacent content you can check out.

Obviously, you should have morning tea instead of morning coffee. But don't let any British people taste it.

The openly ironic viewer

Says: "I can't see this as anything other than a total joke."

Plan: HBO has you covered! Their coverage of the wedding begins at 7:30 AM, starring Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon as Cord and Tish, the fake commentators previously known for their coverage of the Rose Parade.

The pre-gamer

Says: "The rest of the world is very depressing, so I want to just sink into as much royal content as I can. Give me all your beautiful quality material and all your delightful trash, television!"

Plan: PBS is running a series of specials this week called Royal Wedding Watch, and you can either catch them on television (check your listings) or watch them online. BBC America has an avalanche of stuff. Or you can watch the Lifetime movie Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance. Or you can watch Hallmark's Royal Movie Marathon, starting at 6:30 AM on Saturday — which, at 10:30, will include Daters' Handbook, one of the two (!) movies they've made with leading lady Meghan Markle. (The other is called When Sparks Fly, and it's explicitly Fourth Of July-themed.)

The abstainer

Says: "I don't care. I can't believe anyone cares."

Plan: Did you read this far and think I forgot you? Or did you read the headline, not read the piece, snark that I forgot you, receive advice that you should read the piece, and then realize six seconds ago that you may have — pun intended — royally played yourself? If so, welcome. Of course I didn't forget you. Not only are many Americans indifferent about the royal wedding, so are many Brits! Opinions of the monarchy vary enormously there, so of course great swaths of people can't even understand why we'd care over here. In fact, they might point out that we fought a war in order to avoid having to think about monarchies! (Is that what your comment said? Ouch. Sorry, buddy.)

If you're not into the royal wedding, it's incredibly easy to avoid. The plan: don't watch it. Begin by sleeping in. If you wake up at, say, 8:30 or 9:00 on Saturday, much of the hullabaloo will be in the past. And if you think, "I'd really like to fill my head with something substantive in specific protest of the royal wedding," I can recommend two recent shows that are available on demand that you might have been missing. One is Vida, a Starz half-hour drama about two sisters who come home to the bar their recently deceased mother owned. The other is Killing Eve, an exciting spy drama about a deadly assassin and the intelligence agent chasing her. Want something a little lighter? Nat Geo Wild has a bunch of great shows about veterinarians. I like Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet. You can watch all of the on demand episodes, and learn a lot about moose abscesses, in the time it will take other people to think and talk about the royal wedding!

In closing: When it's all over, we'll have a special Pop Culture Happy Hour episode in which some of our pals will help us run down the whole thing. Until then, grab your tea, grab your flags, and have a good time.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.
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