Retailers hoping for a magazine sales boost after a royal engagement was announced last week say they were at the mercy of their customers’ attitudes towards the monarchy.

Express Newspapers produced an extra 50,000 copies of weekly celebrity gossip title OK! and changed the cover to an image of newly engaged Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle after news of their engagement broke on 27 November.

John Vine, of Newsworld in Church Stretton, told RN: “We live in a royalist, Telegraph-reading area – as soon as you put the royal family on the cover of a magazine, people will buy it. We usually only get six or eight copies of OK!, but we ordered 18 copies of the reprinted cover. We only sent one back.”

However, Bhavesh Patel, of Watties Newsagent in Horley, said: “I think sales of these special issues depend on your area. I didn’t pick up the reprint of OK!, but I did stock more copies of Hello! – it didn’t affect sales.”

Express Newspapers head of circulation Paul Goddard told RN the engagement cover has resulted in a 40% increase in sales.