With Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's royal wedding set to take place in Windsor this May, the English city is prepared to be in the global spotlight. Or, is it?
After one politician spoke out against what he perceived as the city's issue with homelessness, tongues have been wagging about the town's fitness for hosting such a high-stakes event, along with the tourists that will pour in to witness it.
To review: Simon Dudley, council leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, recently penned a letter to the Thames Valley Police. In the controversial note, Dudley made reference to "aggressive begging and intimidation” that tourists (allegedly) encounter from homeless people in the area. He also mentioned “bags and detritus” that he'd noticed on Windsor's streets.
“Obviously, the level of tourist interest is set to multiply with the royal wedding in May 2018, and there are increased concerns from our residents about their safety,” Dudley wrote. “The whole situation presents a beautiful town in a sadly unfavorable light.”
The politician had also tweeted about the issue of homelessness in the area, and pled with officials to tackle the perceived problem before the #RoyalWedding.
To say that Dudley's remarks were not cosigned by all is an understatement. In response to the politician's aired grievances, some pointed out that Windsor is believed to have only eight homeless residents. Others made note that Dudley's comments in themselves painted the town in an "unfavorable" (and perhaps uncompassionate) light — and still others deemed it wrong to implicate the royal family into an "issue" they had apparently not remarked on at all.
Since the uproar, Dudley has apologized for his comments — and for his ill thought-out hash tag. "I [shouldn't] have put a hashtag in a tweet that said Royal Wedding. I [should] not have done that. I think that allowed people to look at it in a certain way when it really wasn't about that,” the politician said on BBC's The Andrew Peach Show.
Dudley continued: “'It wasn't the wedding, it was the fact that the situation is deteriorating, clearly, and in my view, and consulting with other colleagues as well, is something which is going to get worse given that there will be more people there.” He maintained that Windsor should, in general, provide more housing options for its homeless residents.
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