LONDON – The British government has not yet revealed how much Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral will cost on Monday, saying only it will provide details “in due course”.
But the price tag, which includes elaborate processions, vigils and rituals, is expected to be significant and covered by the state.
Even adjusted for inflation, her funeral is expected to cost more than the last state funeral in Britain, that of Winston Churchill in 1965, and the ceremonial funeral of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 2002. landscape and £4.3 million ($5 million) for security, according to a report from the House of Commons.
The high price tag for Queen Elizabeth II comes as consumer prices in Britain are rising at the fastest pace in four decades, with inflation exceeding 10 percent. Many people worry about how they will pay for heating this winter, as the average household bill rises by 80 percent next month, buoyed by rising energy prices. The Bank of England predicts a prolonged recession later this year.
Britons can “live very well with that contradiction,” says Anand Menon, professor of European politics and foreign affairs at King’s College London. That’s “because the funeral is the funeral and it is her,” he said, referring to the Queen, “and also because it gives us the opportunity to host the biggest diplomatic jamboree ever.” A large number of princes, prime ministers and presidents, including President Biden, are expected to travel to London for the funeral.
Perhaps a bigger problem for the British public is the lack of transparency about the royal family’s finances, including that its members are not subject to estate taxes. (Brits normally pay 40 percent tax on anything they inherit above £325,000.)
The British Treasury gives the royal household a payment called a sovereign grant; the latter was about $100 million. The family has used the grant for official royal duties, such as visits, payroll and housekeeping, but does not cover security costs, which are also paid for by the government and kept secret.
King Charles III has said that he wanted the monarchy to be leaner and more modern. “Doing both things without talking about financial transparency and the vast wealth and where it comes from, and what’s fair and what isn’t, seems unlikely to you,” Professor Menon said.
The royal family’s fortune is worth an estimate $28 billion.
On Monday, the day of the funeral, the Queen’s coffin will be transported from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey on the Royal Navy’s State Gun Carriage. The coffin is then taken to Wellington Arch and a hearse takes it to St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.