The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton
“Wedding is the most special day of your life”.
The wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton definitely redefined the word ‘special’ in this quote in terms of grandeur and cost.
The royal wedding, held on 29th April 2011, was the third most expensive wedding in the history with the total bill coming to over $ 34 million. Here is a summary of the Royal Wedding.
Prince William, the groom, is the oldest son of Prince Charles and the second in line to the throne of England. Catherine (or Kate) Middleton, the bride, was a commoner who has now become a worldwide celebrity. They had met during their undergrads in St. Andrews. Thus began the courtship of the soon-to-be royal couple.
THE ENGAGEMENT AND THE RING
Princess Kate and Late Princess Diana wearing the ring
The couple got engaged on a private holiday trip to Kenya in October 2010. The special ring exchanged had a special history of its own. The ring given by Prince William was the same engagement ring that his father had given to William’s mother, Princess Diana. It is an 18-carat White gold ring with a 12-carat Sapphire and 14 round Diamonds. The estimated price of the ring in 2011 was $ 136,000. But it was, of course, free!
GUEST LIST OF THE WEDDING
The celebration on the streets
Three sets of guest lists were prepared in name of the Queen of England. The first list, consisting of about 1,900 people, attended the wedding ceremony; the second list of approximately 600 people were invited to the lunch reception at Buckingham Palace, hosted by the Queen; and the final list, of about 300, was for the evening dinner hosted by the Prince of Wales.
Most of the guests to attend the wedding were family members and friends of the couple. Also, there were a significant number of leaders, heads of government, diplomats and military officials.
The couple also wanted the public to be deeply involved in the celebration of their union. So they invited 100 guests from the public which were to be randomly chosen.
And obviously the general public (minus the lucky 100 guests) rejoiced the event on the streets. Who needs an invitation to celebrate?
THE ROYAL COST OF THE WEDDING
- The wedding cake: it was an eight-tiered cake with an elaborate floral pattern and a price tag of $ 80,000. And that wasn’t enough! The groom had another cake also, made according to his preference.
The wedding cake
- The wedding ring: a modest $ 11,000 simple, elegant, gold band was presented to the bride by the prince at the wedding.
- The bridal gown: a white, beautiful and elegant gown was worn by Catherine Middleton for her dream day. The simple, yet pricey, $ 434,000 dress was designed by Sarah Burton, a London-based designer.
Catherine Middleton’s wedding dress
- The wedding flowers: $ 800,000 were spent on flowers to decorate the Westminster Abbey and the Buckingham Palace.
- The reception: the queen hosted a Lunch Reception for 600 guests and a Dinner Reception for 300. The cost of both the parties was $ 600,000.
- Security: most of the wedding cost was towards the security. After all it was the question of the royal family’s security and a matter of national pride. The security operations called for thousands of guards to line the streets from Westminster Abbey to the Buckingham Palace. With $ 32 million spent on security, the wedding was the most expensive security event staged in Britain.
Cleaning up the mess was also royally expensive! An estimated $ 64,000 was spent on cleaning up after the ceremony and the procession.
(Just in case, if you want to compare; the average expense on an average wedding in UK would be around $ 30,000.)
THE EXOTIC HONEYMOON
The couple after marriage
The couple chose a tropical island in Seychelles as their honeymoon getaway. The week-long trip started in a private jet to the tropical mainland followed by a helicopter ride to the small island. The cost has been estimated to be over $ 6,000 per night.
THE REAL COST
Love is blind and the real cost of the wedding was blinding. The royal wedding cost the general public too. The bank holiday itself led to a loss of £ 5 billion in production, as per the CBI. A part of the actual wedding expenses was borne by both the families but the other part came out of the public purse.
On the other hand, predictions were also made about the benefit of this wedding to Britain in terms of increase in tourism, image formation, boost to the wedding industry, sale of merchandise etc.
A NOBLE GESTURE BY THE COUPLE
The couple asked that donations be made to charities in place of traditional wedding gifts. They established The Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton Charitable Gift Fund, which focuses on assisting charities.
The $ 34 million spent on the wedding may seem like a big deal but it was not the most expensive wedding in the history. Prince William’s parents had the most extravagant wedding ever. The wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana in 1981 cost around $ 110 million (current value). It seems that the children are more frugal than the parents. And one doesn’t expect anything less. It was a Royal Wedding after all.
With all this said, a marriage can’t be valued by the expenses incurred on it. After all, the royal love is priceless.