Taxpayers could pay out £2m for policing royal wedding
Taxpayers could have to pay out more than £2 million towards Princess Eugenie’s wedding in Windsor on Friday.
The 28-year-old royal is ninth in line to the throne and will tie the knot with Jack Brooksbank at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
The marriage proceedings are due to kick off at 11am, with around 850 guests expected to attend the service and 1,200 members of the public invited to the castle’s grounds for the occasion.
Princess Eugenie and tequila brand ambassador Mr Brooksbank, who have been a couple for about seven years, announced their engagement in January.
It is the second royal wedding this year, following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nuptials in May – which was watched by an estimated 29 million people worldwide.
While no official figures have been released, the cost of policing Harry and Meghan’s wedding has been estimated at between £2 million and £4 million by the region’s police and crime commissioner.
With Princess Eugenie’s wedding being held at the same venue with a similar procession through the streets, many predict security will place a similar burden on to tax payer.
But while the daughter of the Duke of York and Sarah Ferguson’s ceremony is expected to boast a more star-studded guest list, it is thought to be a smaller affair.
Celebrity guests will include former Take That singer Robbie Williams and his wife and fellow X Factor judge Ayda Field.
Other stars predicted to attend the second royal wedding of the year include singer Ellie Goulding and fiance Caspar Jopling, supermodel Cindy Crawford, David and Victoria Beckham, Harry’s exes Cressida Bonas and Chelsy Davy, model Cara Delevingne, singer James Blunt and wife Sofia Wellesley, and George and Amal Clooney.
Smaller crowds are expected to line the streets and the carriage ride is not as long as that of her cousin, with the couple not travelling up the Long Walk to the castle like Harry and Meghan did.
It is understood the Royal Family is meeting the cost of the wedding privately, but this is still going to place a hefty security bill on the taxpayer.
Sources believe the cost of policing the event will be around £2 million, at the bottom end of the amount spent on Harry and Meghan’s security.
It is well below the £6.35 million cost of policing Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton in 2011.
This included £2.8 million on police overtime, with more than 5,000 officers on duty during the event.
The Met said the Home Office provided it with a £3.6 million grant to cover “additional costs”.
There were reportedly 5,000 officers on duty during Prince Harry and Meghan’s big day – including armed police, snipers and undercover officers.
Thames Valley Police refused to say how many officers will be on duty during Princess Eugenie’s ceremony and procession.
But it has stepped up operations in the town in the lead up to the wedding, in what will be a major security operation.
- £6.35 million - the price of policing Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding
- £2-4 million - the estimated cost of policing Prince Harry's marriage to Meghan Markle
- £2 million - the estimated cost of security at Princess Eugenie's wedding
The force is using automatic number plate recognition technology and CCTV to monitor traffic and people entering the area – and will be setting up barriers to stop Nice-style terrorist attacks.
Officers with dogs have been patrolling the area, and the force said its armed officers will be more visible in the town centre.
It is understood Thames Valley Police will have to pay for security, but is able to apply for a Home Office grant to recoup some of the cash.
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead said it had used £2.6 million to improve the look of the region in time for Harry and Meghan’s wedding.
But it insisted its clean-up and improvements, which included road surfacing, came from money that had already been earmarked for the work.
The total cost of the event to the council was £1.25 million, but the authority was reimbursed nearly £1.1 million by the Government.
The biggest costs were viewing areas, crowd barriers, toilets, traffic and pedestrian signs, and temporary parking.
This means the wedding actually only cost the Royal Borough £100,000. This included cleaning up the historic town after 100,000 people lined its streets to watch the happy couple’s horse-drawn carriage ride.Crowds gathered down the Long Walk at Windsor Castle to watch a procession following the wedding of Meghan and Harry (Rick Findler/PA)
The expected cost to taxpayers has sparked fierce criticism from republicans, with the anti-monarchist campaign group Republic racking up 35,000 signatures to a petition calling on Parliament to spend no public cash on the wedding.
But former Home Office minister and ex-Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker called on the princess’s father to foot the security bill for the grand affair.