Image: Bus test
Matt Dunham  /  AP
Adrian Morton, the owner of Mortons Travel, poses inside one of his coaches at the company's offices in Little London, England, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011.
By
updated 1/11/2011 9:38:11 AM ET 2011-01-11T14:38:11

Kate Middleton's picturesque country village of Bucklebury is never going to be the same.

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Starting Sunday, tour company operator Adrian Morton plans to send bus tours to Bucklebury, where Middleton was raised in privileged style some 55 miles (90 kilometers) west of London.

He hopes they will be filled with visitors looking to experience what he dubs "Kate Middleton country," figuring the home of a likely future queen of England should provide a draw.

Americans in particular seem transfixed by the upcoming royal spectacle of Middleton's April 29 marriage to Prince William at Westminster Abbey in London.

Slideshow: A royal couple’s long courtship (on this page)
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"There seems to be more interest in the States than in our own country," said Morton, who has long-standing ties to Bucklebury. "I've been contacted by an American tour operator about possible tours. You can see the places where she went to school and where she was christened. And locals are interested too."

The bus tour idea came from Morton's twin brother, who lives in the United States and has seen an explosion of public fascination with the royal wedding.

Adrian Morton anticipated some local resistance to the plan but claimed that none has surfaced.

Slideshow: Kate Middleton’s princess style (on this page)

"I was thinking we might get some bad press, like 'What do you think you're doing sending great big coaches round our little country roads?' but I haven't heard anything negative or positive," he said. "I imagine from a business point of view the pubs and restaurants will probably cash in on it, but as far as locals are concerned, they might not want the intrusion."

He predicted, however, there's nothing Bucklebury can do to avoid the changes.

"It's going to happen. The press is already camped out on their doorstep. We're going to be very much in the background," he said.

Morton may not have asked enough people in this affluent town of 2,000 what they think. The bus tours, which will begin on a small scale but grow as the wedding nears, are just one reminder of how life in this pastoral village is changing now that Middleton is set to join the world's most famous — and famously difficult — royal family.

"I wish they'd leave her in peace," said Sue Fidler, who along with her husband runs the Bladestone Butchery, which features beautifully dressed rabbits and pheasants hanging in the window for sale. "We don't want it."

She said the tour operators, like others, are just trying to cash in on the royal wedding without considering the impact on village life. Her husband, Martin Fidler, raised questions about where the buses will park and what the tourists will actually see.

Video: No coach for Princess Kate on wedding day (on this page)

He said he could not sell his goods for two days after the engagement was announced because so many reporters and live television crews descended on the town from all over the world. Regular customers could not park amid the chaos, he said.

Still, he was no curmudgeon.

"The wedding has put a smile on everyone's face. It's fantastic, not just for the village but for the whole country. It's great to see two young people deeply in love," he said.

Once tranquil Bucklebury — a place where Aston Martins and Jaguars are common — has already seen reporters who think nothing of barging in and sitting down with patrons dining at one of the local pubs and asking probing questions about Middleton's private life. So many have done so that the rustic Old Boot Inn has banned interviews on the premises — anyone brandishing a tape recorder or camera is politely but firmly told to stop so people can eat and drink in peace.

The town is near a major highway and would be a convenient stopping off point for tourists visiting popular tourist attractions like Bath, Windsor and Oxford. But visitors may be disappointed because it is not possible to get a clear view of the Middleton family home, which is on a private drive mostly obscured by trees.

Interactive: A history of British royal weddings (on this page)

Some locals were unconcerned about the outside world's sudden interest in Bucklebury.

"It won't bother me, the tourists aren't going to come to see the pig farm," said Julian Taylor, who manages the extremely muddy pig division at a sprawling Bucklebury farm.

Simon Kelly, owner of the popular Bladebone pub and restaurant near the Middleton family's home, said most locals are amused rather than upset by the attention.

"It's good because it will bring more trade in, but bad in the sense that people here like a quiet life, that's why they're here," he said.

The pub's phone rang as he spoke — a TV news reporter asking if Middleton would be at the pub that weekend.

Kelly politely said he had no idea, without pointing out that Middleton doesn't clear her schedule with him in advance.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: A royal couple's long courtship

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  1. William and Kate

    On April 29, 2011, Prince William and Kate Middleton were married, eight years after they first met at university. The prince popped the question five months earlier to his longtime girlfriend during a vacation to Kenya. Take a look at their top moments.

    Official wedding photo The online version of the royal wedding's official program includes a never-before-seen portrait of the couple, shot by Mario Testino. Testino also shot their official engagement pics. (Mario Testino / Art Partner) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. A pre-wedding outing

    Kate Middleton, or the Duchess of Cambridge as she is known after the wedding, waves as she walks with Prince William in Darwen, England, on April 11, less than three weeks until the royal wedding. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Royal couple mania!

    Excited fans line up to see Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton arrive at the Darwen Aldridge Community Academy in Darwen, England, on April 11. The prince was in the town to officially open the school. (Lindsey Parnaby / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Weather or not

    Heavy rain didn't prevent Kate Middleton and Prince William from thrilling the crowd that gathered to see them as they arrive at the Darwen Aldridge Community Academy in northern England on April 11. (Phil Noble / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A perfect flip

    Prince William looks on as Kate Middleton tosses a pancake during a visit to City Hall on March 8, 2011, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Indigo / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Wedding blooms

    Britain's Prince William and his fiancee, Kate Middleton, speak to wedding florist Rachel Gibson during a visit to the Greenmount Agriculture & Food College, in Antrim, Northern Ireland, on March 8, 2011. (Paul Faith / Pool via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Remembering Christchurch

    Prince William looks on as his fiancée Kate Middleton signs the book of condolence in memory of those who lost their lives in the Christchurch earthquake at the New Zealand High Commission in London. (David Parker / WPA Pool via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Romantic homecoming

    Prince William and Kate Middleton returned to the university where they met and fell in love on Feb. 25 with an official visit to St. Andrews on the east coast of Scotland. (Danny Lawson / WPA Pool via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Pouring some bubbly

    Prince William and his blushing bride-to-be Kate Middleton performed a bit of royal duty, making a rare public appearance in Anglesey, Wales to christen Trearddur Bay Lifeboat Station’s brand new lifeboat, the "Hereford Endeavour" on Feb. 24, 2011. (Phil Noble / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Official engagement portraits

    The couple pose in their official engagement portraits, taken by photographer Mario Testino in the Cornwall Room at St James's Palace in London on Nov. 25, 2010. (Mario Testino / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Engaged at last

    William and Kate pose for the media at St. James's Palace in London on Nov. 16, after they announced their engagement. The couple are to wed April 29, 2011. (Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Diana's ring

    This close-up shows that the engagement ring Prince William gave Kate Middleton was the one that had belonged to his mother, Princess Diana. The ring is an oval sapphire surrounded by diamonds. (Paul Hackett / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Royal couple

    Months of speculation about William and Kate's engagement grew more intense when the couple attended Harry Meade and Rosie Bradford's wedding at the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul on Oct. 23, 2010, in Northleach near Cheltenham, England. (Indigo via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Chic chapeau

    In an eye-catching hat, Kate Middleton attends the wedding of Nicholas van Cutsem and Alice at The Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks on Aug. 14, 2009, in London. Middleton had been named to Vanity Fair's international best-dressed list in July 2008. (Indigo via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Wedding guests

    Prince William and Kate Middleton attend the wedding of friend Chiara Hunt in Salzburg, Austria, on Sept. 6, 2008. Two years and two months later, it was announced that the prince and his longtime girlfriend had finally become engaged. (Ikon Pictures via Rex USA) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. A jolly good time

    Prince Harry, Prince William's girlfriend Kate Middleton, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall laugh together as they watch the Order of the Garter procession at Windsor Castle on June 16, 2008. (Tim Graham / Pool via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Together again

    Prince William and Kate Middleton at a Royal Air Force graduation ceremony held at RAF Cranwell, England on April 11, 2008. Middleton's accompanying the prince as he was awarded his RAF wings was a clear indication that the couple had reconciled after a widely reported split a year earlier. (Michael Dunlea / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. A day at the races

    Kate Middleton attends a horse race at the Cheltenham Festival in Gloucestershire, western England, in this March 16, 2007, photograph. (Eddie Keogh / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. On the slopes

    Prince William and Kate Middleton were spotted skiing in Klosters, Switzerland, on March 19, 2008, one of a number of public appearances together that showed that they had reconciled after a reported April 2007 breakup. (Rex USA) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. They're off!

    Prince William and Kate Middleton on the first day of the Cheltenham Race Festival in Gloucestershire, on March 13, 2007. One month later, the media reported that Middleton and the prince had broken up. (Stephen Lock / Rex USA) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Separate seats

    Prince Harry (front left) and Prince William (on Harry's left) are clearly enjoying a performance at the Concert for Diana at Wembley Stadium in London on July 1, 2007. So is Kate Middleton (upper right corner). At the time, rumor had it that William and Kate had reconciled after their split in April 2007, but they sat separately, insisting that they were "just good friends." (Leon Neal / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Sports fans

    Prince William and Kate Middleton attend a rugby match in London in this Feb. 10, 2007, photo. (Richard Heathcote / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Paparazzi prey

    Photographers snap pictures of Kate Middleton as she leaves her Chelsea home on Jan. 9, 2007, her 25th birthday. The growing media attention that she attracted at this time prompted warnings to the press from Prince Charles, Prince William and Middleton's lawyers. As a result, two newspaper groups decided to cease publishing paparazzi photos of Middleton. (Solo via ZUMA Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Lady in red

    Kate Middleton arrives at the Sovereign's Parade at The Royal Military Academy in Camberley, west of London, on Dec. 15, 2006. (Ben Gurr / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Guest of honor

    Kate Middleton is seen at the wedding of Laura Parker Bowles and Harry Lopes at St Cyriac's Church, Lacock on May 6, 2006, in Wiltshire, England. (Tim Graham / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Model behavior

    Kate Middleton models on the catwalk at a student fashion show attended by Prince William on March 26, 2002, in St. Andrews, Scotland. The prince reportedly paid 200 pounds to sit in the first row and watch Middleton model a sheer dress over a black bandeau and bikini bottoms. (M Neilson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Heads on a platter

    In November 2006, British retailer Woolworths showed a china plate representing Prince William and Kate Middleton as a commemorative gift for their wedding. Four years later the prediction finally came true when the royal family announced that the couple were engaged. (Woolworths via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Mario Testino / Art Partner
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Timeline: A history of British royal weddings

Take a look back at the gorgeous and famous British royal weddings in the last 80 years.

Video: No coach for Princess Kate on wedding day

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