Social Justice

How much will the Queen's funeral cost?

It could cost the taxpayers millions of pounds, and potentially billions if we count the cost of the extra bank holiday

The Queen's funeral

Queen Elizabeth sadly died after a 70 year reign. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Queen Elizabeth’s state funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey on September 19. It will cost the country millions of pounds – and potentially billions more if we take into account the economic impact of the bank holiday.

Just how many millions the Queen’s funeral will cost is hard to estimate. After all, there hasn’t been a monarch’s funeral since the death of her father more than 70 years ago.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral was relatively modest because of coronavirus restrictions. But two decades ago, the Queen Mother’s funeral reportedly cost £5.4million.

A royal expert told the Big Issue the Queen’s funeral will certainly cost at least that sum – and “probably a fair bit more” than that.

Elizabeth Norton, a royal historian specialising in the queens of England, said: “It is really difficult to give an estimate for the Queen’s funeral. No British monarch has died for 70 years and the monarch’s funeral always tends to be on a considerably larger scale than funerals for other members of the royal family.

“Prince Philip’s funeral was obviously fairly simple, due to Covid, but the funeral of the Queen Mother in 2002 reportedly cost around £5.4m. A large portion of that sum was in relation to policing, while the lying in state was also expensive. Although it is impossible to say exactly what the Queen’s funeral will cost, it will certainly be at least that sum and probably a fair bit more.”

Policing costs amounted to £4.3m and the Queen Mother’s lying in state came to £825,000, according to a House of Commons research briefing paper.

More recently, policing for Prince William and Kate’s wedding cost more than £6million, according to figures obtained by PA news agency. A total of £2.8m of that was spent on overtime costs.

What are the plans for the Queen’s funeral?

Plans for the Queen’s funeral are currently being put in place, as she makes her final journey from Balmoral to Windsor. She will lie in state in Edinburgh’s St Giles’ Cathedral for 24 hours. She will then be taken to Edinburgh Airport, from which she will travel to RAF Northolt in London. 

The coffin will be taken to Westminster Hall, where the Archbishop of Canterbury will give a short service and she will lie in state for four days. 

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The coffin will be draped in the Royal Standard and, once in Westminster Hall, it will be topped with the Imperial State Crown, orb and sceptre. The crown itself has an estimated worth of somewhere between £3billion and £5bn.

From 6.30am on September 19, she will no longer lie in state in public. The state funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey at 11am that morning. 

According to the BBC, the day will begin as the Queen’s coffin is carried from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey on the state gun carriage of the Royal Navy. Senior members of the royal family are expected to follow in procession. 

How much will the bank holiday cost the UK economy?

Simon French at investment bank Panmure Gordon, told The Sunday Times that previous one-off bank holidays in 2002, 2012 and earlier this year had lowered economic output by at least £2bn.

“There are few parallels for this moment and that makes forecasting particularly difficult,” he said. “We may not simply be talking about an extra bank holiday. There could be a prolonged period of national mourning.”

In 2011, a national holiday was declared for William and Kate’s wedding. At the time, the department for business, innovation and skills predicted that the extra holiday would cost the UK around £2.9bn. 

Although the Centre for Economics and Business Research has previously found an extra bank holiday would add £500 million to the economy, this would be a very different bank holiday. Some businesses have already announced they will be closing on September 19 out of respect for the Queen – these include John Lewis and Primark.

A number of pubs across the country shut for 24 hours following the Queen’s death last week. It is up to them whether they close again on the day of the funeral, or whether they open so that customers can get together to raise a pint to the Queen.

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