TIMOTHY BULLARD/Daily Courier British ex-patriot Florence Johnson plans to get to bed early tonight -- or so she can be up at 1 a.m. to watch television coverage of the royal wedding.

Waking up to the royals

Florence Johnson planned to get to bed early Thursday night so she could be up at 1 a.m. to watch television coverage of the royal wedding.

"It'll go on for hours and hours, so I think I'll try to take an early sleep," she said Thursday morning in a British accent that remains distinctive, even after nearly 50 years in the United States.

Johnson will join a few billion other viewers around the world in tuning into coverage early today of the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the likely future king and queen of England.

The native Englishwoman moved to San Francisco in 1962, where she lived until her 1980 move to Grants Pass. Among her friends and relatives, some are excited about the wedding, others not so much.

"It depends if you're a royalist, and I've always been one," she explained. "I have relatives who aren't, and they disapprove of the royal family ... They feel it's outdated and costs money."

But, Johnson pointed out, the royal family and all its trappings is a huge tourist draw. Therefore, England probably comes out ahead financially.

"Because we have a real queen — or king — it makes it more authentic," she said.

Johnson last visited her native country in September 2009.

"I was a real tourist," she said. "I rode on one of those buses and everything."

During the visit, she had a chance to tour Buckingham Palace, where she even enjoyed a tea. It was the first time she had ever stepped inside Buckingham.

"I didn't even know you could get into the palace," she said, adding that tours are conducted only when the queen isn't there.

Johnson works at Primrose Lane, which is owned by Diane Harwood, who also is British.

The downtown shop features a wide variety of items for the Anglophile, including teapots and English teas, books, gifts and art. The shop also sells British food such as Yorkshire pudding mix, chip shop mix (batter for fish and chips), and piccalilli mix (similar to a relish). You will not, however, find souvenir bric-a-brac commemorating the royal wedding.

Kevin Widdison is city editor of the Grants Pass Daily Courier. Reporter Edith Decker contributed to this report.

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