Sun, May 01, 2011 - Page 6 News List

Persian Gulf Arab press covers the royal wedding, minus the kiss on the balcony

AFP, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

Persian Gulf newspapers yesterday gave front-page coverage to the glittering royal wedding in London, but also left out the crowd-thrilling moment when Britain’s Prince William kissed his wife, Kate.

The privately run al-Khaleej, published in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE), did not give front page treatment to the British royals, instead putting them on page 36 to share space with a story on the woes of Venice, Italy, and flood control.

The Arabic-language al-Bayan, which is based in Dubai, front-paged a postcard-size picture of the newly weds riding in their carriage and devoted three quarters of page 33 to more coverage, but the iconic kiss was noticeably absent.

English-language dailies in the UAE had more of the nuptials and carried big pictures of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the front pages, but the public show of affection was consigned to the inside.

The UAE is seen as liberal compared with the ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia and some of the other neighbors, but the display of affection in public is not encouraged.

Some of the 100,000 Dubai-based British expatriates were seen partying away into the night on Friday after watching the royal wedding on giant screens set up at almost every bar and restaurant frequented by foreigners.

However, local celebrations were muted.

At a bar in the fashionable Walk area in Dubai, hotel staff were taking down Union Jack decorations with photos of the royal couple even before the last remaining party-goers left.

One party organizer said on Friday that the political violence in the Middle East had not affected the party mood in the UAE, which remained insulated from regional troubles.

In the run-up to the wedding, Persian Gulf newspapers were lukewarm in their coverage. Not a single Arabic-language newspaper published in Dubai had a story about the royal wedding on the front page on Friday.

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