After a year of dating, much media attention, and speculation of an impending proposal, Prince Harry of Wales and American actress Meghan Markle revealed they are engaged to be married. The wedding will take place at Windsor Castle in the spring of 2018, in what will surely prove to be a wedding fit for a prince and his princess.
As for the cost of the royal affair, even conservative estimates for a modern royal wedding are well into six figures. “I can’t imagine Harry and Meghan would be able to achieve the wedding they would be looking at on anything less than $670,000,” London-based wedding planner Aimee Dunne told CNN Money.
The royal family will foot the bill for the wedding, Kensington Palace announced. This includes the church service at St. George’s Chapel, the music, the flowers, and the reception. Here’s how much the whole affair might cost, from the one-of-a-kind engagement ring to the cost to the British economy.
The engagement ring
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: The venue may be free, but the food? Six figures.
- Estimated price tag: $200,000
A reception venue has not been announced, but the family can save money and keep with tradition by going with a property owned by the queen and her family. Prince William and Kate Middleton had two wedding receptions in Buckingham Palace: a traditional lunch for 600 guests and a more intimate evening party for around 300 friends and family.
While the venue may be free, there is the cost of catering, which will run well into the six figures. A conservative estimate for the reception’s cost, based on a guest list of 500, would be $200,000 or more, reported CNN Money.
Next: This costly confection could feed an army.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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
- 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.)
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