With just about one month to go before the royal wedding, London is gearing up for one of the largest celebrations in its 2,000-year history. However, protests over the weekend have heightened concern over the security for the upcoming event.
Nearly half-a-million people filled the streets of London to protest budget cuts, but as CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella pointed out, it did not end well, as vandalism and looting broke out in the city. More than 200 arrests were made, and Scotland Yard is now warning that violent anarchists might be targeting the royal wedding. Even more protesters are expected on the wedding day.
London will spend $33 million on security to make sure Prince William and Kate Middleton don't run into the same problems Charles and Camilla did when protestors managed to disrupt their motorcade last December. There will be snipers on rooftops, barricades on the wedding route, and armed police dressed as royal footmen on Kate and William's carriage, Cobiella reported.
Princess Diana's former bodyguard, Ken Wharfe, told CBS News, "It won't be a question of just turning up and watching the royal wedding. People must be prepared to be searched and there will be a much much heavier police presence than there was 30 years ago for Charles and Diana."
On "The Early Show," Dai Davies, the former head of security for the royal family, during the '90s and through the ordeal of Diana's death, said the city will be ready for the royal wedding day.
He told co-anchor Erica Hill, "I am convinced that my former colleagues at Scotland Yard will get their act together. I think the events of the weekend were most distasteful. I think that will act as a prelude to getting the act together. And, indeed, I think they'll put even more police officers on the streets now. There will be a ring of blue around this whole area, and I'm happy that the Metropolitan Police will do their job well."
Davies, Hill noted, took some issue with the way the situation with Prince Charles and Camilla was handled back in December. He says the couple should not have been attacked in the first place.
"Whoever was in charge on that day clearly got it hugely wrong," Davies said. "And I've no doubt heads have ... fallen as a consequence. And, again, the prince and his wife shouldn't have been in a car like that in that scenario. They shouldn't have been anywhere near it. I simply could not understand how royalty would allow the situation to happen. I've no doubt they will get it right. And they'll get it right for the wedding."
The same car used when Charles and Camilla were attacked will be used by Kate Middleton on her way to Westminster Abbey. And, the plan is for Kate and her new husband to ride in an open carriage through the streets of London. Many have criticized this decision, Hill said, because the security of the couple may be compromised.
Davies said security official will take "huge precautions" to ensure the couple's safety.
"There will be thousands of policemen on duty, there will be marksmen en route, there will be plainclothes officers. You name it. This government and this nation can't get this wrong," he said. "The world and its eyes are on us. The Metropolitan Police, Royalty Protection, have to get it right. And I'm happy they will."
Davies said the total royal command could be anywhere from 500 to 550 officers, but they're teaming up with other security forces for the royal wedding.
He explained, "The whole inspector's command and the protection command is much bigger - several thousand. But they will be supplemented by ordinary officers who are the eyes and ears. They will act as the outer cordons and the inner cordons will be protected by the police, and indeed, aid and abetted by the military."
The wedding is expected to have a worldwide viewing audience of four billion people, Cobiella reported. London is anticipating a crowd of 600,000 - the same number that celebrated Prince Charles and Lady Diana's marriage - along with an economic boost of $80 million. But the number of spectator scould be larger, Cobiella said.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said the event is "going to be fantastic."
He said, "We're expecting hundreds of thousands of people to come to London. The transport system is going to run on rails - we're going to make sure of that - there's going to be street parties around the city, and I hope very much that people will enjoy themselves in a suitably dignified fashion."Cobiella did note, though that, "At this late date, hotels are not sold out here. About 100,000 hotel rooms are still available"