One of the big debates about the royal family is if they deserve all the money taxpayers provide them.
On one side of this debate, there are people who believe that the entire royal family is an outdated throwback to a bygone era and that taxpayers should no longer have to foot the bill for the lavish lifestyles of royalty. On the other side, there are those who believe that the royal family is a cherished and time-honored part of British culture and that the expense is worth it.
Finally, there is a practical perspective that simply argues the royal family brings in more revenue than they cost, making them a financial asset — regardless of one’s personal feelings about it.
Now that Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry have bucked tradition and taken a step away from their royal duties, the debate has centered on the expense of their royal wedding.
Taxpayers contribute a lot to royals
The British taxpayers are definitely helping to support the lavish lifestyles of the royal family. This is one of the reasons they feel entitled to information about their personal lives. After all, they’re the ones who paid for them to live in those homes and build these lives.
The priciest royal family members might not be who you’d expect, however. While the tabloids have often focused on Prince Harry and Meghan to highlight their excess, it is actually Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall who have cost taxpayers the most.
The travel budget is a large portion of the expenses the public covers, and Prince Charles and Camilla ate up nearly half of that all on their own. These expenses were justified, at least according to a royal aide, because Prince Charles is such an important ambassador: “His overseas travel was at the behest of the Foreign Office who realizes he is a terrific ambassador for Britain.”
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had an extravagant wedding
When Prince Harry and Meghan were married in May 2018, it was an extravagant event. Of course, that’s to be expected for royal family members as the wedding is also a very public cause for celebration and a major draw for tourism.
The wedding took place at Windsor Castle, which was free for the royal family to use, but the cost of securing and decorating was around $500,000. Meghan’s dress — one of the most expensive in royal history — was an astounding $420,000. The catering alone cost a staggering $400,000.
All told, the event cost around $35.7 million. Obviously, that’s an enormous expense — and it far surpassed Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding, which came in around $26 million. Thinking about this price tag and knowing that the royal pair exited from their public duties not long after tying the knot, there are some who are outraged at having paid for such a lavish event.
Meghan defends her wedding expense
It’s hard to argue that the wedding wasn’t expensive for the adoring public, but was it really money poorly spent? Even though Meghan and Prince Harry decided to step away from their royal duties in order to protect their privacy and focus on their family, the wedding itself was still a tremendous draw for tourism.
In fact, newly revealed court documents show just how much the wedding earned for the British public. “The Duchess’s lawyers allegedly state that the royal wedding generated £1bn in tourism revenue, thus far outweighing the cost to the taxpayer,” the report explains.
This is the equivalent of $1.24 billion dollars. If those numbers hold true, there is no question that the wedding was a smart investment for the British public, and Meghan and Prince Harry — who were on display as much as they got to enjoy their big day — helped bring in a lot of money.