In Brief

How much will the royal wedding cost taxpayers?

Tens of thousands sign petition demanding Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day gets no public funding

More than 30,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Government to prevent taxpayers’ money being used to fund Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.

Set up by campaigning group Republic, which wants an end to the monarchy in the UK, the online petition is also demanding that the Government “publish a report into how much the event will cost the public purse”, reports The Independent.

“A royal wedding is a private, personal event, dressed up as a national occasion,” says the petition, launched last month. “That lets the Royals use the wedding as a PR exercise and to expect the taxpayer will pay a large part of the costs.

“The exact details of royal wedding funding are shrouded in secrecy, but we do know - at the very least - that expensive road closures and policing will be required. And we know local councils and the taxpayer will end up footing the bill.

“Taxpayers should not be funding a private wedding, no matter who is getting married.”

So how much will the wedding cost?

In March, Kensington Palace announced that the Royal Family would pay for the celebrations, “though that is unlikely to include security costs”, says The Independent.

A total of 1,200 members of the public will be among a crowd of 2,640 allowed into the Windsor Castle grounds to witness the wedding, on 19 May.

Although exact figures are hard to come by, the 2011 marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton saw an estimated 5,000 extra police on duty to guard the public on the big day, according to CNN.

Figures obtained by the Press Association through a Freedom of Information request shows that, in total, £6.35m was spent policing that wedding.

The wedding of Harry and Meghan “is expected to be on a smaller scale - but with a similar price tag”, says Sky News.

Do they pay for themselves?

Past royal weddings “have had little impact on the economy, or even held back growth, as was the case with Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in April 2011”, says the Financial Times.

For that occasion, the UK was granted an additional public holiday, which came a few days after Easter and just before the May Day bank holiday. This resulted in a downturn in the UK’s economy as people took extended breaks over the period.

Some argue that increased tourism from abroad would help offset the cost of a royal wedding, “but the Office for National Statistics found only a little evidence of the phenomenon in 2011”, says CNN.

However, “with the current slump in the pound and the spring wedding of Prince Harry to American Meghan Markle, it is almost impossible not to agree that tourists (particularly those from the US) will be drawn – by royal invitation – to Britain in 2018”, says tourism expert Liz Sharples, from Portsmouth University’s Business School, in an article for The Conversation.

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