A combination of factors is likely to lead to greatly increased demand on the UK’s energy system, but not on the scale of the 1981 wedding of Charles and Diane, according to researchers from the National Grid.

The 1981 event saw an energy surge of 1800 megawatts equivalent to 720,000 kettles being boiled at the same time, as the nation stared at TV sets and made pots of tea.

However, the National Grid control centre is predicting a boiling-kettle-driven pick up in power of between only 1200 and 1600 megawatts as the pair exchange vows in Westminster Abbey.

Power will, say National Grid, rise steadily throughout the morning, but as the televised coverage begins there will be an overall decrease in demand as millions of people watch television rather than pursuing their usual, more energy-intensive, activities.

Sudden surges in demand will come after viewers have watched specific moments in the ceremony such as Kate’s arrival and procession up the aisle, the couple’s vows and the moment they appear on the steps of Westminster Abbey as a married couple.

According to National Grid after these significant moments, viewers will leave their television sets to switch their kettles on, and this activity will result in an increase in demand.

A spokesman said: “While public interest around William and Kate is greater than it has been around more recent royal events.

“The forecasting team isn’t expecting the impact on demand to be as big as for Charles and Diana’s wedding, which belongs to a different era.

“The entire forecasting team at National Grid is proud of the role they play in making sure families across the country can enjoy watching this special day.”

There is still likely to be more energy used than for lesser royals Edward and Sophie’s wedding, more recently in 1999, which saw just a 750 megawatt increase.

Luke Walsh

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