It was back in 1999 when the shy William Thacker and the pretty Anna Scott exchanged glances at the historical bookshop Notting Hill, situated in the London district with the same name. To act them were Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, two true icons of cinema but above all of comedy.
Now that enthralling film, directed by the British Roger Michell, is nearing its 20th anniversary. For twenty years fans from all over the world have come to visit the Notting Hill district, in particular the famous bookshop where William works and where he meets Anna.
The affair between the bookseller William and the film star Anna might seem little realistic and imaginative, with an ending, though, that was regarded by the critics as one of the most romantic love stories of all time.
Notting Hill in the pop culture
From the greatest love story of all, let’s move to the real London: the famous film bookshop being the set for the meeting, The Travel Book Co. (for many simply known as the Notting Hill Bookshop), gets numerous requests from young couples who want to consecrate their love story right there as is the case in the famous ’99 movie.
“The closer the 20 years of the film comes, the bigger the number of engaged young couples who dream of proposing inside the bookshop”, one of the business owners, James Malin, comments. The shop owners, indeed, have shown with a lot of proposals to feel honored to see their bookshop become a real-time scenery for the beginning of a love story. Besides, previously plenty of couples proposed inside the shop without the owners’ knowledge, but now the phenomenon is still increasing, so much that it’s almost impossible not to notice the countless sweethearts who make the fateful proposal in Notting Hill style. A name, a talent, as the saying goes.
It’s not only about British couples, but also about European and international ones: Australia, USA, China and Japan. James Malin, for instance, confided he received visits of two Chinese young people who told him that a month before, right inside his shop, they had professed their love for each other. At the time, though, they were on their honeymoon in the English capital and one of the legs of the itinerary was in fact returning to the well-known bookshop, location of the beginning of their own story.
Another German couple has recently fulfilled their dream by choosing the travel books section to exchange the engagement rings. And, still by the accounts of the owners, a young man hid the ring in one of the Harry Potter Saga books, a much-loved character by his fiancee.
With the arrival of the 20th anniversary of Notting Hill, the owners expect an increase in visits, mainly from lovers ready to make the magical proposal in front of the iconic blue shop window.
That’s not all: still according to this enquiry carried out by the English magazine Telegraph, The Travel Book & Co of Richard Curtis’s novel that subsequently inspired the film about the beautiful actress and the bookseller wearing glasses, is now highly in demand as the location for weddings planned for next year.
“Over time we have met a lot of people, each with their own story – James Malin told – so much so that nowadays we always try to satisfy all their wishes”, he added.
A 20-year-old fairy tale, so, perhaps destined to never end.