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Queen's funeral to be paid for by British taxpayers as inflation soars in the country

Akshata Kamath
Akshata KamathSep 19, 2022 | 11:36

Queen's funeral to be paid for by British taxpayers as inflation soars in the country

Queen Elizabeth's funeral will be held on Sept 9 among 7.5 lakh people.(Photo: AP)

The Queen's royal funeral at Westminster Abbey on September 19, 2022, will be paid for by British taxpayers, even though the royal family is worth £28 billion and can fund the funeral. Security costs seem to be a major component of the high funeral costs since most international state leaders are expected to attend the funeral.

Though the UK government has not yet disclosed how much Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral will cost, history has led Britishers to expect that Queen Elizabeth's once-in-a-lifetime kinda funeral will be a royally costly affair. The Queen will be buried on September 19, 2022, in a lavish funeral amidst the presence of not just her family, but also in the presence of UK officials, international heads of state, dignitaries, and about 7,50,000 people in London. 

Photo: AP

Why so costly? The Queen's state funeral will include ceremonies, rituals, a military procession, and large screens streaming the events to the crowds gathered in London’s parks. But the main cost will pop up from the policing and security that will be engaged to manage international state leaders, dignitaries and the crowds. Since state leaders and Presidents from most countries of the world have been invited to attend Queen's funeral, handling the risk of potential threats like terrorism requires money and resources.

How costly will it be? As per a conversation between a royal expert and The Big Issue, The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in April 2021 was relatively modest because of Covid restrictions while that of the Queen Mother in 2002 cost around £5.4 million at that time (around Rs 50 crore). Today, that amount is equivalent to £9 million (around Rs 81 crore). The royal expert has said that the Queen's funeral costs will be ''probably a fair bit more”.

Why are security costs so high? Security costs will be high because a large number of heads of state and dignitaries are expected to arrive for the funeral. Invites have mostly gone out to the heads of state of all countries except 6: Russia, Belarus, Myanmar, Venezuela, Syria and Afghanistan. Also, in the case of North Korea, Iran, and Nicaragua, invites were only sent out to their ambassadorial representatives and not the head of state.

Expensive or not, the royal security are great to look at. (Photo: AP)

The UK Police also expects about 7,50,000 people to be in London to throng the city and catch a glimpse of the Queen one last time. And if you consider how many people are thronging in queues to London’s Westminster Hall (where the Queen is lying in state), the line stretches over four miles (6.5 kilometers) along the Thames river which is leading police to expect that London might be ''full'' for the first time ever. 

People queue up to have a glimpse of the Queen. Photo: AP

What are the other funeral costs?  The UK has declared a bank holiday on the day of the funeral and this is costly for UK's economy. Institutions like schools, hospitals and pharmacies will close and chain stores (McDonald’s 1,300 outlets to apparel shops like Zara) will shut their doors. But small private businesses like pet shops, nurseries and food banks will also close down which is not going down well with Twitter.

The ethical problem has not even begun. The Queen’s lavish send-off is a bitter contrast to the UK’s high inflation and cost-of-living crisis as Britons face their worst inflation crisis ever. While many Britons are angry about having to choose between food and heating as winter sets in and witnessing thousands of tax payer's pounds being splurged on the funeral, another set of loyal royals is defending the expensive funeral. 

The loyal royals: Just like we have a craze for watching Shah Rukh Khan outside Mannat every once in a while in Mumbai, Britishers are attached to the Queen. 

While the angry Britons are feeling down for a lot of reasons.  

  In your opinion, who should really be bearing the cost of the funeral? And why?

Last updated: September 19, 2022 | 11:45
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