The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has confirmed that licensing hours across England and Wales will be relaxed to mark the royal wedding in May.
The announcement, which came after a four week consultation, will mean that pubs, bars and other licensed premises can serve alcohol until 1.00am on the morning of the nuptials, and again, once Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have tied the knot.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on Saturday 19 May 2018, and as such licensing hours will be extended on the nights of Friday 18 May and Saturday 19 May from 11pm until 1am the following mornings.
Those who argued against an increase in licensable hours expressed concern that the wedding, which takes place on the same day as the FA Cup Final, would result in 'increased disorder'. However, there have been no reports of 'increased disorder' as a result of previous extensions to licensing hours, which have also coincided with major football fixtures.
The Home Secretary has the power to make an order relaxing licensing hours for licensed premises in relation to a 'celebration period' to mark an occasion of exceptional international, national or local significance. Since the introduction of the Licensing Act 2003, the power has been used to mark the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and, more recently in 2016, to mark the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations.
Representatives from the licensed trade were extremely supportive of the proposed order and felt that extending licensing hours during the royal wedding would give a boost and have a positive effect on the pub sector.
This extension is in place for the royal wedding alone and licensed premises are urged to check their premises licence to ensure compliance. Breach of the licensed conditions can be a serious offence punishable with a fine and/or imprisonment.