Last weekend, the King’s coronation showcased the enormous wealth accumulated by the British monarchy. There were golden carriages, priceless jewels and custom-made designer outfits that cost more than some people will ever make in their lifetime. Meanwhile, citizens across the country are struggling to pay rent, afford food, and find it near impossible to pay for the bare necessities. A day of celebration for a family whose net worth is estimated to be at £22.2bn turned out to be a stark reminder of the economic disparity Britain is terribly struggling with.
But of course, the King’s coronation wasn’t the first time the royal family blew the bank on something that most of us don’t care about – and it certainly won’t be the last. A new report by Aura Print has crunched the numbers on some of the monarchy’s most extravagant events, and it doesn’t make for good reading.
Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee – £29.6 Million
Last year, the Queen’s platinum jubilee weekend was estimated to cost the UK around £2bn across all the events, with £28m (£29.6m in 2023 due to inflation rates) being spent on the event itself – all paid for by the public purse (obviously). The Metropolitan police were funded with £8m alone just to police the event. Given all of the recent reports surrounding our policing system, it’s safe to say that the money probably could’ve been put to much better use. There were talks that the jubilee would provide a helpful boost to the UK economy thanks to the tourism opportunity it offered, but it was revealed by the government department for digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) that there was an estimated £2.39 billion fall in GDP (Gross Domestic Product) for the UK for the royal celebrations. Money well spent.
Prince William and Kate Middleton Wedding – £37.2 Million
Next on the list is Prince William and Kate Middleton’s 2011 wedding, which cost an estimated total of £27m, as reported by Insider, which equates to £37m in today’s market. Kate’s Alexander McQueen wedding dress cost an estimated £250,000, while £1m was spent on floral arrangements at Westminster Abbey. And as for the cake, well that cost £80,000 alone…
Prince Harry & Meghan Markle’s Wedding – £38.9 Million
Another royal wedding also makes the list, this time Prince Harry’s and Meghan Markle’s 2018 ceremony, who dropped over £32m on their big day, according to Business Insider. The pair, who married in St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle in 2018, spent a large chunk of the budget on security, including snipers, undercover police, military technology and security drones. Bridebook estimated that of all the total costs, security made for 94% of the wedding budget, but there was still enough left over to fork out £50,000 on their lemon and elderflower wedding cake. Like Will and Kate’s wedding, aspects of the celebration such as the dress, reception and flowers were paid for by the Royal Family, but security costs were ultimately funded by the taxpayer.
Queen Elizabeth II’s Funeral – £84.5 Million
It’s an understatement to say that the Queen’s death in 2022 shocked the nation; it seemed it was the only thing anyone talked about for weeks. However, when the Economic Times took into account funeral expenses, bank holidays as well as the coronation, the Queen’s death cost the UK economy at least £6bn. And taking inflation into account, the funeral itself cost £84.5m. Unsurprisingly, again it was state-funded security forces that made up most of the expense, which came to £75m according to an exclusive investigation conducted by National World.
King Charles’ Coronation – £97.4 Million
Last but certainly not least, the big one – King Charles’ coronation. While official numbers are being kept under wraps at this moment in time (no surprises there), it’s estimated by ABC News that proceedings cost around £97.4m in the event that was years in the making. The publication also reported that as a state event, British taxpayers footed the bill. We hope it was worth it, Charles.