Linda Colling: Lie back and think of England

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CRIKEY and I thought I was in with a chance. I’ve already got my hat.

But no gilt-edged invitation has dropped on my mat for the royal wedding. Maybe it’s got lost in the post.

I wonder ... given number one son’s latest flame is a dress designer and the word is her pal has got the job to do the embroidery on Kate’s gown.

Ah, well, it seems I will have to make do with wearing my hat in front of the TV and buying in some corgis wearing crowns and union Jacks with the slogan “let them eat cake.”

That’s just one of the mementoes Kate’s parents, Carole and Mike Middleton’s mail order firm PartyPieces has launched to cash in on the street parties on Friday, April 29. And who can blame them?

Of course the paper plates, bowls and napkins emblazoned with fake crowns, crests and coats of arms which a royal insider has written off as “downright silly,” won’t be gracing the lunchtime buffet for 600, hosted by the Queen, to which the Beckhams may well be invited after the ceremony.

At least William knows the Beckhams and apparently got on with David “like a house on fire” during last year’s World Cup, unlike some foreign dignatries who have been invited in-line with royal protocol.

Down at grass roots, I detect a distinct lack of interest in throwing any neighbourhood street party. Remember how we all pushed the boat out for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee?

Our cat climbed a tree and watched us all feast in the street on trestle tables. It was great, but we didn’t do the same for Charles and Di’s wedding day, although plenty did.

I was in Sunderland Royal giving birth to number two son.

This time there isn’t the money around. Nor is there the enthusiasm. We’ve seen three out of four royal marriages go to the wall.

But if you are up for throwing your own bash there’s now a book on how to do it, The Royal Wedding For Dummies, out next month.

Somehow I can’t see people splashing out on parties or even tacky memorabilia from plates and pies to underwear.

Buckingham Palace has issued strict guidelines on what can and cannot be used on official souvenirs and commemorative merchandise.

All such items must be in “good taste”, it said. But that hasn’t stopped a slew of unofficial memorabilia hitting the streets and internet shopping websites.

In disgustingly bad taste are “Crown Jewels” condoms, featuring a picture of William and Kate gazing into each other’s eyes and bearing the famous motto, “Lie back and think of England”.

“In years to come, they will be a timeless memento of a magical wedding day,” said a company spokesman. Not in a million years. They’re just sick and disturbing. As sick as the mind that dreamt up this novelty product which is not intended as a contraceptive.

We seem to have gone into a realm of offensiveness, hitherto unknown in previous royal celebrations. It all comes down to those who want to shock as distastefully as possible.

And just like the condoms what should also be banned are celebratory ashtrays emblazoned with the couple’s faces for sickos to stub out a cigarette on them.

Whoever conceived these disgusting ideas should be sent to The Tower and the key thrown away.