The One Royal Wedding That Was Not Paid For With British Taxes

In addition to the standard taxes to the king, taxpayers of the U.K. have contributed over £400 million to the government for major royal events of 2022 and 2023 — Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee celebration, her funeral, and King Charles III's coronation, the Daily Mail reports. Charles' coronation was purposefully smaller than coronations of the past, but it still cost a lot more than Elizabeth's 1953 coronation: Hers would be £47 million if it was held today, compared to the approximate £250 million for Charles' coronation.

A survey conducted by YouGov prior to the coronation posited the question, "Do you think the coronation of King Charles should or should not be funded by the government?" Out of the over 4,000 responses, 51% said the government should not pay for the ceremony. Some people, like Graham Smith of the anti-monarchy political group Republic, said that due to the recent economic issues in the U.K., the coronation money should have gone back to helping people, not " ... on one parade for one man" (via Time). Only 32% of survey respondents said yes, the government should pay for it. The final 18% voted that they were unsure which option was best.

Royal weddings are quite an expense to taxpayers as well, as the weddings' security costs usually come from taxes. Security for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding, for example, was estimated to have cost taxpayers around £30 million (via New York Times). However, one member of the royal family paid for their own wedding — without using tax dollars.

The government did not fund Princess Beatrice's 2020 wedding

Princess Beatrice is the daughter of Prince Andrew and Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson. In September 2019, it was announced that Beatrice was engaged to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. Beatrice's wedding was unusual for a few reasons. Unlike the weddings of her cousins Prince Harry and Prince William and her sister Princess Eugenie, Beatrice's wedding was not paid for by the government, and was instead paid for by the families of the bride and groom. The couple got married in July 2020, in a socially-distanced ceremony at the Royal Chapel of All Saints. Due to COVID-19, the guest list consisted of only 20 people.

In addition to the small guest list, Beatrice wore one of Queen Elizabeth II's vintage Norman Hartnell dresses and did not have one specially made for the event. Beatrice's wedding tiara also had a connection to the queen — the important piece of jewelry once belonged to Elizabeth's grandmother Queen Mary, and it is the same crown both Queen Elizabeth and Princess Anne wore on their wedding days. A source told People, "The Queen saved this grand tiara specifically for Beatrice. It was always reserved for her as they are exceptionally close."

The plans to privately pay for the wedding were set pre-coronavirus

Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi's wedding was unique in a few other ways. Because of COVID-19, no one was allowed to sing at the ceremony, but Sarah Ferguson and Mozzi's mother each recited a love poem for the couple. The ceremony's reception also had a small list of guests — 14 friends of the newlyweds attended the after-wedding celebration.

Prior to the coronavirus, Beatrice and Mozzi had plans for a larger wedding and reception, set for May 2020. However, even before changing their plans and shrinking their celebrations, the couple always planned to not use tax money to pay for the wedding. It was announced in fall 2019 that the couple and their families would be paying for it themselves. This may be because Beatrice's sister, Princess Eugenie, caused a stir when £2 million in taxes were used to pay for security at her ceremony. Prior to Eugenie's wedding, a petition was signed by 14,000 people to protest the cost for her big day.