63% of Britons said the country would be worse off without the monarchy
As preparations step up for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, an opinion poll has shown two-thirds of British people believe the country is better
off because of the royal family.
However, only 37 percent said they were \"genuinely interested and excited\" by Friday\'s nuptials.
In bright sunshine, thousands of tourists in London took advantage of the Easter Monday holiday to flock to Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace to see the two focal points of the wedding.
There was a bustling scene around the Abbey as technicians prepared equipment for the world\'s media. A 10-foot (three-metre) camera platform was being erected and dozens of TV reporters were already broadcasting to a global audience.
Opposite Buckingham Palace, a temporary stand has been built housing 22 glass-fronted TV studios, its facade painted green so that it blends in with the trees.
The prospect of the wedding appears to have given a boost to the royal family\'s popularity, with 63 percent of those questioned in the ICM survey for The Guardian saying Britain would be worse off without the monarchy.
And three-quarters of the 1,003 adults questioned believe the royal wedding will give the country \"a strong feel good factor\", although only one third of respondents said they were \"genuinely interested and excited\" by the marriage.
With hundreds of thousands of people expected to line the wedding route, forecasters said days of unseasonably hot weather could give way to cloudier and cooler weather, meaning the wedding could be hit by showers.
\"At the moment, it is looking like temperatures will probably be a little bit above average and there is a risk of heavy showers,\" said Helen Rossington, senior forecaster at MeteoGroup.
Big screen televisions will relay all the day\'s action to an anticipated 220,000 viewers in Hyde Park and Trafalgar Square with champagne, Pimm\'s, wedding cake and a band all laid on to keep the party swinging.
Organisers have urged those watching on the giant televisions to enter the spirit by turning up in their best wedding hats.
The British media pored over the guest list, noting that while football star David Beckham -- who befriended William during England\'s failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup -- was invited, there is definitely no place for Sarah Ferguson.
The absence of the ex-wife of Queen Elizabeth\'s second son, Prince Andrew, will make the wedding a bittersweet occasion for their daughters Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, who will be attending.
Also among the 1,900-strong congregation at Westminster Abbey will be \"Mr Bean\" actor Rowan Atkinson, a good friend of William\'s father Prince Charles.
Other invitees on the eclectic guest list will be linked to William\'s charity work, such as a former homeless woman supported by charity Centrepoint of which the prince is patron.
Shozna, 20, whose surname has not been revealed, will be treated to a makeover and will take her place alongside royals, celebrities and foreign dignitaries in Westminster Abbey.
The young woman was helped by the charity after she suffered a stroke which left her unable to speak and paralysed on the right side of her body.
Bahrain\'s crown prince on Sunday turned down an invitation to the wedding to avoid causing potential embarrassment to Kate and William after protests in the Gulf kingdom were crushed by security forces in recent weeks.
Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa complained that British media had \"misrepresented\" his stance and \"clearly sought to involve my potential attendance as a political proxy for wider matters involving Bahrain.\"
It also emerged that a British Guardsman, 18-year-old Cameron Reilly, has been removed from duties at the wedding after he described Kate as a \"stuck-up cow\" on his Facebook page.