As U.K. citizens grow ever more restless with the monarchy, King Charles III and his son William, Prince of Wales, have gone above and beyond to try and reassure members of the Commonwealth that their generation of royals will be different from those that came before. Efforts have been made to denounce colonialism and its atrocities, for one, and Charles in particular has preached a more sustainable, pared-down monarchy with less pomp and ceremony, fewer working royals, and—one would think—a lower toll on the already strained pockets of the U.K. public.
Unfortunately for all that messaging work, a new report from Time estimates that the cost of the upcoming three-day coronation celebration will be at least $125 million for U.K. taxpayers (£100 million in the local currency). The report acknowledges that Charles’s affair will indeed be a stripped-down version of the coronation celebration held in 1953 when the late Queen Elizabeth II took the throne—but it’s stripped-down in terms of the number of attendees and its duration, not its cost. The £100 million cost, estimated by British media outlets, is twice the cost of the 1953 coronation, which cost only £56 million and was the monarchy’s most expensive ceremony ever held at the time. The additional costs of this 2023 coronation are attributed in part to a far greater need for security than there was in 1953, but that may not be a compelling enough argument for those already primed to be critical of the royal family’s cost to the British state.
Indeed, a recent YouGov poll showed that 51 percent of Britons did not believe that the government should fund the coronation. Royal experts explain that the coronation isn’t funded by the royals themselves because it’s a state event, not a royal event, given King Charles’s role as head of state under Britain’s constitutional monarchy.
While neither Downing Street nor Buckingham Palace would confirm the cost of the upcoming ceremony, noted anti-royalist Graham Smith told Time that it might be even more than the estimated $125 million.
“I suspect it’ll be at least that,” Smith said. “It’s an inordinate amount of money for the taxpayer to be spending.”