The Princess and the PCs: What will policing Princess Eugenie’s wedding cost?

Published: 24th Aug 2018

In brief

Claim

Taxpayers will pick up a £2 million security bill for Eugenie’s wedding.

Conclusion

This hasn’t been confirmed, but seems in the right ballpark based on reported costs for previous weddings.

 “Taxpayers will pick up a £2 million security bill for Eugenie’s wedding,”

Daily Mirror, 16 August 2018.

The cost of security at Princess Eugenie’s forthcoming wedding hasn’t been confirmed, but £2 million seems in the right ballpark.

While the cost of the wedding itself is normally covered by the Royal Family, security costs are met mainly by police forces, and by implication, taxpayers.

This October’s Royal wedding in Windsor between Princess Eugenie and James Brooksbank will be policed by Thames Valley Police, and their spokesperson told us: “At this stage it is not possible for us to provide a cost of policing the Royal Wedding until it has all concluded.” They also told us that a number of organisations will be involved in delivering the wedding.

In May the force’s Police and Crime Commissioner reportedly estimated that the security cost of Prince Harry’s wedding was “between £2m and £4m.”

Princess Eugenie’s wedding is expected to be similar to Prince Harry’s, encompassing a carriage procession and service at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. So the £2 million figure quoted in the Mirror seems in the right ballpark.

In 2018, the Press Association reported that policing costs for the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton were £6.35 million, including £2.8 million for police overtime. The wedding was held in London, and declared a Bank Holiday—meaning some officers were paid double—which may explain the higher cost.  The figures were obtained through Freedom of Information (FoI) requests which we have not seen. An earlier FoI from the Metropolitan Police estimated the police operation cost £7.2 million.

The Metropolitan Police reportedly said that £3.6 million was granted by the Home Office for “additional costs” of policing the 2011 Royal wedding. 

Police and Crime Commissioners are allowed to apply to the Home Office for this additional special grant funding to cover additional costs of “exceptional events” that are above 1% of their annual budget. Thames Valley Police’s budget in 2018/19 is around £390 million.

So,  for example, if the force made an application for £5 million to cover additional costs, generally, the force would be expected to pay the first 1% (around £3.9m) with a special Home Office grant providing the balance (in this example a special grant of £1.1 million).

We've asked the Home Office  whether the government will be paying for anything directly for this year's Royal wedding or whether Thames Valley Police have applied for special grants for their role in policing both Royal weddings this year. We haven’t yet received a reply.


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