Meghan and Harry claimed in their High Court battle this week against Associated Newspapers that the income from their 2018 wedding “far outweighed” the taxpayers’ contribution to security. Although the Royal Family contributed to the wedding, the bulk of the £32million occasion was covered by the taxpayer. Her lawyers also claimed that the event was “not, in fact, publicly funded, but rather personally financed by HRH The Prince of Wales”.
The couple have asserted this week that they brought in an estimated £300million in public relations value, £250million for retail and restaurants, £150million for fashion and £50million on merchandise.
In total, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex suggested that the event itself had raised £1.05billion towards tourism in Britain, an astonishing assertion which defies previous estimates.
Indeed, several experts did hail the event as a potential windfall in the lead-up to the wedding.
For instance, Brand Finance predicted approximately £200million would come from tourism, travel and hotels.
Another £150million could have come from celebrations, £50million from royal fans buying commemorative items, while the wedding itself would bring in approximately £100million in free advertising for Britain, according to the experts.
The Mirror claimed shortly after the wedding that the event brought £11million to London and Windsor through Airbnb bookings — although this is far off the estimated £1billion figure.
CNN Business explained just before the wedding that the event was unlikely to live up to the expectations of an economic boost.
The report read: “Past experiences show that grand royal events don’t usually produce the big bucks businesses would like, and they barely register in terms of the performance of the wider economy.”
Howard Archer, the chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club, told CNN: “We would be wary of over-egging the potential impact or seeking to put a hard figure on the potential gains.
“It should be kept in mind that some of the retail spending may just be switched from spending on other items.”
CNN added: “If history repeats itself, the royal wedding will fall flat in terms of economics.”
The UK Office for National Statistics also pointed out that Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding did not deliver a boost for the economy during their ceremony in April 2011.
Many workers took a holiday during their wedding, meaning there was a decrease in output that day.
PwC claimed the Cambridges’ wedding created approximately £107million in extra spending.
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Yet, the CNN report also claimed: “ONS data shows that while retail sales spiked in April 2011, they fell the following month.”
As a result, “any splurge in spending” after Meghan and Harry’s wedding “may be followed by a slump in June”.
It continued: “The boost [of the Sussexes’ wedding] could be offset by those who choose to stay home and watch the event on television, instead of going out and spending money on other activities.”
Apparently there was no significant boost to tourism either after Kate and William’s wedding.
CNN continued: “Analysts expect that any spike in visits from royal fans will be counteracted by the desire of other tourists to stay away from the crowds.”
It added that although a “feel good” factor could have promoted more spending after the wedding, it would have faded soon after.
Mr Archer explained: “This will likely be short lived as it does not affect the economic fundamentals facing households.”
Meghan and Harry’s claim follows months of frustration from the British public after taxpayers contributed to both their wedding and renovations for their home Windsor Cottage — especially as they have both stepped down as senior royals this year.