Royal wedding could cost taxpayers more than £30m

The public purse will cover the security costs of the royal wedding

Caitlin Morrison
Wednesday 16 May 2018 14:39
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle 'look lovingly into each other's eyes' on royal wedding coin

The final countdown to the wedding of the year has begun, and in just a few days Prince Harry will marry Meghan Markle in Windsor.

The cost of the big event has been estimated at as much as £32m by wedding planning service Bridebook, with security costs predicted at more than £30m. Other estimates have put the security bill at closer to £24m.

The policing for Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton in 2011 cost £6.35m, according to figures obtained by the Press Association. This included £2.8m in police overtime and covered approximately 5,000 extra police on duty on the day.

An earlier freedom of information request revealed the total cost of the security operation undertaken by the Metropolitan Police was closer to £7.2m.

However, the actual cost of all the security that was necessitated by the wedding is estimated to be somewhere between £10m and £20m, which would cover a heightening of counter-terrorism activity in the run-up to the event.

This time around, despite the fact that the wedding is not being held in central London, the estimated cost is higher due to heightened threat levels in the UK, following a spate of attacks over the past 18 months, as well as the risk arising from Prince Harry’s link to the British military. Another factor bumping up the bill is the plan for more than 2,000 members of the public to attend celebrations at Windsor Castle on the day.

The cost of security is of note, because it is the bill that will be paid by the taxpayer. Duncan Simpson, policy analyst at the TaxPayers' Alliance: "The Royal Wedding is an exciting moment in the UK. Whilst the couple and those out for the day in Windsor should feel safe with the public festivities, all efforts should be made to ensure that the costs of security are kept to a minimum."

The Royal family will pay for the remainder of the wedding from their own funds - however, as they also receive funding from the public purse it makes it more difficult to quantify how much of the money being spent on the wedding comes from the taxpayer.

Meanwhile, according to data from Euromonitor, the wedding is unlikely to generate an increase in tourist spending, although Alexander Goransson, a consultant at the group said: “The expected media coverage will play an important part in the “brand building” of the UK as a visitor destination. Megan & Harry’s wedding will continue to keep the UK in focus, especially from a US perspective, which is likely to sustain the current momentum.”

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