If you have been following the news, Prince Harry (one of the Princes of the British Crown) and Meghan Markle (an American actor) have wedded. The event is estimated to have been seen by over 500 million people from around the world. Celebrations have been going on all around the world. While many have focussed on the happy nuptials some have focussed on the cost. It was revealed in many newspapers in the UK that the total cost of the event was more than £40 million. Like with any traditional wedding the father of the bride (in this case Meghan Markle’s father) should pay for the wedding. In this case, it was reported that Prince Charles paid for most of the wedding arrangements.
Here is a breakdown of the wedding cost according to a popular wedding planning company.
- £110,000 on flowers at the church and reception.
- £300,000 to hire a marquee (a big tent for hosting the reception).
- £26,000 on sausage rolls and hot tea for the 2,640 members of the public who have been invited.
- £90,000 for 20 silver-plated trumpets that were used to announce the start of the wedding.
- £50,000 on the lemon elderflower cake.
- £300,000 to £400,000 on Meghan’s dress (but this was bought by Meghan herself)
While the above was paid for by individuals the total cost is no more than £1 million, so where did the rest of the £40 million go? Apparently, due to the high risk of a terror-related event or other criminal activity, a further £30 million was spent on security measures. This money came from the local police force and extra hours for more specialist security. This was provided by the taxpayer and so, the people of the UK and all other UK paying taxpayers.
Questions which arise from this:
- The Royal family’s net worth is estimated to be around £1 billion, should they need the public to pay for a wedding?
- There are around 70,000 families in the UK who are registered homeless. Should one of the Princes of the UK be spending £110,000 flowers? What kind of image does this create?
- If you were Prince Harry or Meghan Markle, how would choose to organise your wedding?
- It was reported that the wedding has contributed £500 million to the economy of the UK, through tourism and shopping. Does this justify the cost of the wedding to the public?
- Toe the line – to follow what others have said to do
- Refine his work – to become better at something
- To work well with people – to be friendly and warm to others
- Strives for one on one time – when someone wants to get to speak to people and give each person time.
- A huge hit – a great success.
- Autographs – when you sign your name on paper, famous people do this.
- The Corgis took to her – A Corgi is a type of dog, and took to her is when they immediately liked her.
Video for discussion
Watch the video and then answer the questions below.
- What was the last TV show Meghan worked on?
- Does she have to give up her career?
- Can she use her own social media accounts?
- What is her citizenship?
- Can she give autographs?
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Answers to the video questions
- No, she must use social media accounts from the Royal Family.
- She was American, but had to give that up and became British.
Reasons for having a monarchy
- The Monarch (the king or Queen) is integrally part of a country’s national identity.
- They commit to many charities and often donate money to international programmes.
- They are popular with tourists and help the local economy.
- The most stable countries in the world have a Royal Family.
- They are important for diplomatic work where the government or ministers may not be able to openly do or say something.
Reasons to remove the monarchy
- The King or Queen has not been elected by the population. Therefore they do not rule by right, but only through birth.
- The monarch can remove the democratically elected Prime Minister.
- The monarch can secretly change the politics of the country in secret meetings that do not need to be made public.
- Having a royal family indicates the country does not believe in merit or equality.
- France does not have a Royal family and they have three times more tourists than the UK, so it is really good for the economy?
- A country with a Royal family means the population are “subject” and not “citizens”, this means they are less free.
Potential debating topics for the monarchy
- A country ruled as a Republic is more democratic than a Monarchy.
- The Royal family should not take public money for their expenses.
- The institution of the Royal family is an out of date concept and should be replaced.
- Is having a monarchy still relevant in the 21st century.
- A country should be based on merit and they all you have is from what you have earned. Having a Royal family means that this idea is not truly implemented in a nation.
While the celebrations were joyful, the larger context of the event means there are many burred lines to the topic.