Kate Middleton’s wedding to Prince William also cost taxpayers in the region of £20m.
Prince Charles paid for most of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s 2011 wedding, including flowers, decorations and the reception, with contributions from the Queen and Kate’s parents. But the bill for policing and security was entirely paid for by British taxpayers.
The total cost, between £10 and £20 million, included 5,000 police officers, rooftop snipers, undercover police mingling among well-wishers and a thorough search for explosives, everywhere from sewers and drains to lamp posts and traffic lights.
But costs began mounting many months before the event, as counter-terrorism investigations were stepped up to ensure the big day went off smoothly.
This time, the estimated cost has ballooned to above £24 million due to the UK’s high terrorism threat, Harry’s past military service in Afghanistan and racially-charged threats targeted at Meghan.
The couple’s plan to take a two-mile public carriage ride through the streets of Windsor straight after the ceremony, allowing thousands of fans to see the newlyweds close up, also provides a headache for the security team.
“History has a habit of repeating itself,” Dai Davies, former Head of Royal Protection and Chief Superintendent of the MET Police, told E! News. “In the last thousand years there hasn’t been a King or Queen that someone hasn’t tried to murder.
“Thousands of people will be working on keeping the family and their fans safe,” he continued. “This is a time to be extremely prudent and sensible. Every precaution needs to be taken.”
Davis explained that the location of the wedding added to the soaring security costs. “Windsor is a much harder area to secure than London, which is so much better prepared. In Windsor, there are shops, buildings, houses – you name it – and there is a history of people trying to get into Windsor Castle.”
He added: “Clearly 99 percent of the population are deliriously happy but you could get a small right-wing fascist group who may object to it, so that adds to your problem. I don’t know how they are going to secure it [Windsor] to the level that I would want, but clearly, much wiser people are now doing the job and I’m sure they’ll come up with a plan.
“You can’t turn the palaces into prisons. William and Harry have grown up with protection all their lives so they are used to this. And for Meghan, well, she has been going out with Harry for quite a while. She’s a very bright and intelligent lady so I have no doubt she is taking to all of this like a duck to water.”
No expense has been spared for the upcoming nuptials, with Meghan’s custom-made wedding dress expected to cost just under £400,000. That’s said to be £150,000 more than Kate’s iconic Alexander McQueen gown.
Meghan is also said to have spent £100,000 on wedding celebrations, including a lavish spa-themed hen do, and £120,000 on her honeymoon. The cost of the honeymoon is thought to have come from her own savings, as a present to her new husband.
Meghan is estimated to be worth £3.7 million, most of which came from her role in Suits for which she was paid £37,000 per episode.
Harry, of course, is worth a lot more. His fortune is currently estimated to be just under £30 million.
The Queen is expected to give the prince the title of Duke of Sussex on his wedding day, making Meghan the first ever Duchess of Sussex.