The Washington Post

Royal Wedding means a day off for U.S. diplomats

The Band Of The Welsh Guards is slated to perform Friday as part of the official festivities for the Royal Wedding. (Tim Whitby)

Embassy personnel in London and staffers stationed at U.S. consulates in Belfast and Edinburgh had the day off Monday in observance of Easter Monday — a major British holiday — and are scheduled be out of the office again Friday in observance of the nuptials.

Despite the closure, emergency consular services will be available as they always are when the embassy is closed, according to embassy spokesman Philip Breeden.

The embassy plans to issue “a very generic notice” to staffers advising them of the parade route “and to use prudence in crowds,” Breeden said in an e-mail.

Their boss, U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Louis Susman, is scheduled to attend the wedding as the official representative of the U.S. government. But he’s going stag, because his wife, Marjorie, was not invited due to limited seating at Westminster Abbey, according to published reports.

No other U.S. government officials and no foreign heads of state are invited to the wedding. Top diplomats from Germany, Israel, Poland and other countries are also expected to attend.

As if having Friday off wasn’t enough, U.S. diplomats in the U.K. will enjoy a four-day weekend because next Monday is May Day, another major British holiday. American diplomats stationed in the U.K. observe nine federal holidays and seven British holidays, including two bank holidays.

Lest you think they’re getting off easy, remember it is customary for U.S. embassies around the globe to observe major local or national holidays. In Beijing, U.S. diplomats observe the nine federal holidays and six Chinese holidays, including the Lunar New Year, Tomb Sweeping Day and a five-day break for Chinese National Day.

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RELATED: Full coverage of The Royal Wedding

FY-Eye: Awkward: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney bungles his response as to why President Obama didn't issue an Easter message. In a speech, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. defends his record and says he’s not going anywhere. The federal government is canceling its print subscriptions to the Federal Register. The FDA plans to regulate electronic cigarettes. Yet another profile of White House CIO Vivek Kundra.

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.


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