Buckingham Palace says that global interest in the celebrations will more than repay the money spent
The Coronation of King Charles III is set to cost many millions of pounds – and the bill will largely be footed by UK taxpayers.
The exact cost of the coronation is yet to be revealed, and a budget for the historic event has not been disclosed by the government so the total amount of public funds due to be spent is currently unknown. As with jubilees and other such events, it is understood the total cost and breakdown of funding will not be available until after the May 6 event.
Some predictions suggest the coronation could cost the nation between £50 and £100 million.
A Palace spokesperson has said that global interest in the celebration would more than repay the money spent on the occasion. The spokesperson would not comment on the total cost, but said: “I’ve seen a number of different estimated figures floating around, some more fanciful than others. The true figures will be shared in due course where expenditure relates to the Sovereign Grant or government costs.” The Sovereign Grant is the set amount of money given to the King each year to support his official business.
The spokesperson added that one of the key lessons of the late Queen’s funeral showed that “a national occasion like this, a great state occasion, does attract huge global interest that more than repays the expenditure that goes with it, indeed it vastly exceed it in terms of the boost to our economy and to our nation’s standing.”
Taking place amid the cost-of-living crisis facing the UK and against a backdrop of strikes by doctors, teachers and other public servants over pay, the King’s coronation has been branded a waste of taxpayers’ money by critics. More than half of Brits do not think it should be funded by the government, a poll has suggested. The YouGov survey found 51 per cent of adults questioned believe the ceremony should not be funded by the government, almost a third – 32 per cent – said it should, while around 18 per cent did not know.
It is thought that security costs will form a major part of the cost of the coronation. The bill for policing the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011 was £6.3 million, while the cost of the police operation for Donald Trump’s four-day visit to the UK in 2018 was more than £14 million.
Deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden has insisted the King and the government are “mindful of ensuring that there is value for the taxpayer” and there will not be “lavishness or excess”.
The spokesperson for the Palace said planning for the coordination has been “ever-mindful that this is a time of economic challenge for many”. They added that “efficiencies have been found in key areas – for example through reusing many ceremonial elements, rather than commissioning new ones”.
Downing Street and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have declined to comment on the cost of the coronation.
How much did previous coronations cost?
The late Elizabeth II’s coronation cost £912,000 in 1953 – £20.5 million in today’s money – while Charles’s grandfather George VI was crowned at a cost of £454,000 in 1937 – worth £24.8 million in 2023 and the most expensive coronation of the last 300 years.
George IV’s coronation in 1821 was a great theatrical spectacle and the former Prince Regent, known for his extravagance, spent vast sums of money on it – £238,000 – or £20.9 million in today’s money.
His successor, William IV, had to be persuaded to have a coronation at all in 1831 and spent so little money that it became known as “the Penny Coronation” – with the bill coming to around £43,000 – worth £3.6 million today. It did establish much of the format that remains for British coronations today with a procession in the Gold State Coach to the Abbey, but he refused to have a coronation banquet as he considered it too expensive.
Queen Victoria’s coronation festivities in 1838 were a much grander affair than her uncle’s, with three state balls, two court receptions, a drawing room and state concert, and a public procession to the Abbey. Parliament spent around £69,000 – £6.2 million in today’s money – on the 19-year-old’s celebrations.