Royal wedding: by the numbers
Weighing in at $65 million, the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton is about 2,000 times as costly as the average British upper-middle class wedding.
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Still, the larger cost of a wedding that may garner 2 billion TV viewers will be a loss of income to national coffers, since April 29 has been declared a holiday. The Confederation of British Industry estimates a non-earnings of some $6.5 billion tomorrow. Further, the day off comes amid other Easter week holidays that leave only three working days in the period between April 22 and May 2.Skip to next paragraph
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Mark Littlewood, director general of the London-based think tank Institute of Economic Affairs, sees "substantial problems" for the wider economy.
"It sounds terribly measly and mean-spirited to begrudge anyone for a holiday, but actually for ordinary businesses this is quite problematic," he says. "We are going to see a sort of downturn in economic activity over this 11-day period."
Despite original estimates of windfall profits out of the wedding, most retail estimates put the intake of tourism and wedding merchandise at about $1 billion or slightly less.
"If you're in the business of selling Union Jacks, caps, flags, and T-shirts, or … [run] a hotel near Buckingham Palace… you're going to make money," says Mr. Littlewood.
But how to calculate overall costs and benefits is difficult. Tristam Hunt, a Labor member of parliament, argues in the Financial Times that there is substantial worth in a monarchy that encourages the development of civil society and healthy traditions. The wedding is a sort of soft power, in his view.
"This week," he writes, "billions of people around the world will come to know our Book of Common Prayer, our hymns and history, our ancient abbeys and royal palaces. They will see on display our sportsmen and designers, artists and actors. It will be a carefully crafted Britain, uniting social mobility and modernity with history and heritage. But in turn, it is hoped, viewers will want to study and invest in Britain."
View The Royal Wedding Parade Route in a larger map