Royal flush? How much are taxpayers paying for the Royal wedding?

15 May 2018

We’ve been asked by readers to factcheck how much the Royal wedding is going to cost and how much of it will be paid for by taxpayers.

Royal weddings are primarily a private affair, paid for by the Royal Family. That was the case in 2011 when Prince William married Kate Middleton, and that will be the case when Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle this Saturday.

That means that, beyond some spurious conjecture, there’s no way to really know how much the Royal wedding will cost.

However, there is one part of the wedding that public funding, and by implication, taxpayers pay for—security.

We've asked the Home Office whether the government will be paying for anything else for this year's Royal wedding. 

We don’t know how much security will cost on Saturday but Thames Valley Police, who will be maintaining the security of the Windsor-based event, have said: “The policing operation will be amongst the largest in Thames Valley Police’s history.”

In 2018, the Press Association reported that policing costs for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton were £6.35 million, including £2.8 million for police overtime. The figures were obtained through Freedom of Information (FoI) requests which we have not seen. The Metropolitan Police reportedly said that £3.6 million was paid by a Home Office grant for “additional costs”.  

An earlier FoI from the Metropolitan Police estimated the police operation cost £7.2 million.

The Metropolitan Police said that in 2011, police were paid overtime because the Royal wedding was declared a bank holiday.

We've asked the Home Office whether the government will be paying for anything directly for this year's Royal wedding. In 2011 the government said it paid for “wider security or transport related costs.”

Also, the Ministry of Defence spent about £80,000 on armed services personnel for the parade.

Correction 18 May 2018

We originally said that security costs would be met by the government, but some or all of them may come out of police budgets which are made up of central and local funding. We have updated the piece to remove these references and to add the estimate of Home Office funding for the 2011 Royal wedding.

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