Before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: The Most Expensive Royal Weddings Ever

Another royal wedding will be taking place in May 2018 when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tie the knot. Of course, everyone is buzzing with speculation about their upcoming nuptials including how much the affair might cost. With every royal wedding comes a royal price tag, so we’re sure the event will not only be grand, but also expensive.

Here’s a look of some of the priciest royal weddings ever from the least to most costly. Click through to see where Harry’s brother and sister-in-law, Prince William and Kate Middleton, rank compared to his parents, Prince Charles and Diana.

7. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Daniel Westling

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Prince Daniel, Duke of Vastergotland pose after their wedding in Storkyrkan Church on June 19, 2010 in Stockholm, Sweden.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Prince Daniel, Duke of Vastergotland pose after their wedding. | Jonas Ekstromer/ Pool/Getty Images

Wedding cost: $3 million

This pair certainly aren’t the most famous of all the royals, but Princess Victoria of Sweden and Daniel Westling still spent a healthy amount of around $3 million when they said “I do” in 2010.

The princess married her fitness trainer in a wedding that was dubbed by many as the biggest since Prince Charles and Diana’s. The royal and Westling said their vows at the Stockholm Cathedral in front of family and friends, which included six kings and nine queens.

6. Prince Pavlos of Greece and Marie-Chantal Miller

Princess Marie-Chantal on her wedding day.

Prince Pavlos of Greece and Marie-Chantal Miller enjoyed an expensive wedding. | Royal Fashion Channel via YouTube

Wedding cost: $7 million

The Crown Prince Palvos of Greece and Marie-Chantal Miller were married in 1995 during a lavish affair that cost upwards of $7 million in today’s dollars.

The bride wore a custom-made Valentino gown that required 12 types of lace and took four months to create. Royal watchers noted that the dress alone cost more than $225,000.

5. King Felipe of Spain and Queen Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano

Prince Felipe of Spain in a limo with his wife on his wedding day.

King Felipe of Spain and Queen Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano celebrated in royal style. | Graeme Robertson/Getty Images

Wedding cost: over $25 million

In November 2003, then-Prince Felipe and Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano announced their engagement, and on May 22, 2004, the former news anchor and prince wed in a celebration at Madrid’s Almudena Cathedral. The entire church was decorated with millions of flowers and the price tag was also in the millions; costing over $25 million.

The wedding was attended by a number of other royals from all over, including Prince Charles, King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip, Princess Madeleine of Sweden, and Princess Caroline of Monaco.

4. Prince William and Kate Middleton

Kate Middleton and Prince William on their wedding day.

Prince William and Kate Middleton had to hire plenty of security for their wedding. |  Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images

Wedding cost: $34 million

The royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011 made our list as one of the most expensive with a steep price tag of about $34 million.

The beautiful ceremony, watched by millions around the world, took place at Westminster Abbey and was followed by a parade of Britain’s future king and his new bride in a horse-drawn carriage through the streets of London. As extravagant as that may have been it wasn’t why the price was so high. The reason for such a hefty cost was due to security, which reportedly took up about $32 million of that.

3. Prince Albert II of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock

The royal couple waves at their guests not heir wedding day as they make an appearance together.

Prince Albert II of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock threw a lavish wedding. | Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Wedding cost: $65 million

Prince Albert of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock‘s nuptials a few months after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s cost almost double at a reported $65 million. However, the prince and former Olympic swimmer (now Princess Charlene) did have two weddings over the course of as many days.

Designers such as Karl Lagerfeld and Giorgio Armani were on the guest list ,as well as politicians like Nicolas Sarkozy, who served as the president of France.

2. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Princess Salama

Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan stands while greeting guests at an event.

Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s wedding cost millions. | NMTV India

Wedding cost: $100 million

One of the most expensive weddings in modern-day history was the 1981 union between Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Princess Salama. No expense was spared for the crown prince of Abu Dhabi as it costs a staggering $100 million in inflation-adjusted dollars.

The wedding was a seven-day long celebration which brought in many ambassadors and royals from other Arab and African nations, all who were flown in on 34 private jets.

So, who’s wedding could possibly top $100 million? The one that was dubbed the “wedding of the century” of course.

1. Prince Charles and Diana Spencer

Princess Diana and Prince Charles kiss on their wedding day.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ wedding was an unforgettable affair. | Getty Images

Wedding cost: $110 million

Yes, Prince Charles and Diana Spencer‘s union that same year cost a whopping $110 million in today’s dollars, although some estimates put it closer to $70 million. Either way, it was definitely the most extravagant of all the royal affairs.

Lady Diana’s dress had a 25-foot train, and the couple and their guests enjoyed a five-foot-high wedding cake. But hey, when over 750 million eyes around globe are watching and you have millions to spend, you can be flashy.

Next: Will Harry and Markle’s wedding costs anywhere near that much? Let’s take a look at how much their wedding items could cost, starting with the six-figure ring.

The engagement ring

Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle during an official photocall to announce their engagement

Prince Harry chose the center diamond for a special reason. | Daniel Leal-Olivias/AFP/Getty Images

Estimated value: Up to $350,000

It all starts out with the ring. And Meghan Markle’s new sparkler doesn’t disappoint. The prince traveled to Botswana last summer to procure the center diamond, which experts estimate is a five-carat stone worth up to $200,000. What makes the ring even more special is the center stone is flanked by two surrounding diamonds that came from the late Princess Diana’s personal jewelry collection. While it’s said this makes the ring priceless, at face value, with the three diamonds, it could be worth as much as $350,000.

The couple talked about the proposal and the ring in an interview:

Next: Which dress will Markle say “yes” to?

The wedding dress

  • Estimated price tag: $40,000

“I personally prefer wedding dresses that are whimsical or subtly romantic,” Markle told Glamour magazine in 2016. The Suits actress was trying on wedding gowns back then for scenes from the show, in which her character Rachel Zane was engaged to the character Mike.

Markle told Glamour her favorite celebrity wedding dress was the one worn by Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy when she wed John F. Kennedy Jr. in 1996. The dress was a $40,000 Narciso Rodriguez slip dress.

Just based on that, we’re estimating Markle’s dress may cost the same amount – which may be quite the conservative figure, considering that was more than 20 years ago. Also, it’s worth noting that Daily Mail reported Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, custom-made by an Alexander McQueen head designer, cost $400,000 when she married Prince William in 2011. So, the sky may be the limit when it comes to the wedding dress budget.

Next: This costly wedding staple could feed an army.

The cake

Royal Wedding

William and Kate’s wedding cake was incredibly elaborate. | Lewis Whyld/WPA Pool/ Getty Images

  • Estimated price tag: $80,000

If Prince Harry and Markle go with the same bakers as Prince William and Kate Middleton, the confection(s) would run at least $80,000. Huffington Post reported Prince Charles paid that amount for William and Kate’s two wedding cakes back in 2011: a fruitcake and a chocolate biscuit cake.

The fruitcake featured eight tiers, and it mirrored Buckingham Palace’s architecture. It sported 900 sugar flowers and white icing. (A slice auctioned in 2014 for $7,000.) Royal watchers will surely be eager to see whether the new royal couple chooses a similar confection or maybe something more modern.

Next: Peonies are the bride’s favorite blooms.


Meghan Markle’s favorite flowers | Markle via Instagram

  • Estimated price tag: $500,000

Peonies may be Markle’s flower of choice, as they should be in full bloom in the month of May. “Meghan loves flowers, so they will play a HUGE role in the big day,” Blooms By the Box posted. The wedding bouquet is likely to have myrtle in it, which is a tradition for royal brides. The bride may also go with some forget-me-nots, a favorite flower of Princess Diana.

As for estimating the flowers’ price tag, the reported cost of William and Kate’s flowers for their 2011 royal wedding was $800,000. Markle and her prince may spend that much, or they could possibly bring down the cost somewhat if they so choose. We went with a more conservative estimate of $500,000.

Next: This hefty expense eclipses all others.


Heavy security at the royal wedding

It takes incredible security for an event of this size. | Paul Hackett/AFP/Getty Images

  • Estimated price tag: $32 million

We’ve taken a look at some of the extravagances associated with a royal wedding. However, there is one additional crazy-expensive cost tied in inevitably with Prince Harry’s wedding: security. The cost of protecting the royals and onlookers from a potential terrorist attack could cost around $32 million, according to reports.

When Prince William and Kate Middleton tied the knot in 2011, the security operation cost $26 million, and the cost of security for a royal wedding seven years later could dwarf that. “Since we have begun to see these sporadic, low-tech vehicle and knife attacks, the threats have increased,” David Videcette, a former Scotland Yard counterterror detective, told Newsweek.

Next: Where will the romantic honeymoon destination be?

The honeymoon

Botswana sunset

Maybe they’ll head back to where it all started. | stillwords/iStock/Getty Images

  • Estimated price tag: Five to six figures

The newlyweds may decide on a romantic honeymoon in Botswana to celebrate their nuptials, having been there once together when they were newly dating. The two have also already traveled together to Norway, Jamaica, and Toronto. Basically, they can choose to honeymoon anywhere in the world, and money will likely be no object. One African budget travel site lists a Botswana tour at $5,406 per person, but no matter what, the royal couple’s options are endless.

Some speculate the newlyweds will head to the United States, but that wouldn’t likely provide them with much privacy. They may take a page out of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s book and head to a secret hideaway. Prince William and Kate Middleton honeymooned on an undisclosed island in the Seychelles.

Next: Will there be a cost to the economy?

Cost to the economy

Prince William and Catherine Middleton walk out of Westminster Abbey

There aren’t any plans to make the next royal wedding a public holiday. | Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

  • Estimated price tag: $0

With past royal weddings, the day was declared a special holiday, and Brits were given the day off work. However, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed there are no plans to make the upcoming royal wedding into a work-free holiday. Had it been declared a holiday, this would have come at a cost of $3 billion in lost production nationwide, as estimated by the Centre for Economics and Business Research. (Although, it could be argued that any such cost could be offset by money brought in by foreign tourists coming in for the wedding.)

Follow Michelle Kapusta on Twitter @philamichelle.

Additional reporting by Karen Bennett.

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