Friday, May 05, 2023
As the UK continues to face a cost-of-living crisis and widespread strikes over pay, some Britons are questioning why taxpayers have to foot the bill for King Charles III's lavish coronation on Saturday.
The cost of the coronation has been kept under wraps and the total sum is unlikely to be revealed until after the event. The estimated cost is between £50 million and £100 million on top of the price of a large-scale security operation.
Many British people do not want the coronation to be funded by taxpayers, with an April YouGov poll indicating that 51% of respondents believe the ceremony to crown Charles and Camilla should not be paid for by the government. The Royal Family, who sits on a fortune, has previously given undisclosed sums to charity. King Charles in December gave an undisclosed sum, donated in memory of his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, to a charity helping people unable to pay fuel bills and personally donated another £1 million to food banks.
The rising cost of living has caused people to struggle to make ends meet. According to Delany Gordon, a 50-year-old building site manager, "They got the money, why are they taking it from me?" The cost of the coronation contrasts with the struggles of some Britons. Eden Eawit, a 38-year-old, says she cuts costs by cooking only two days a week and eating sandwiches the rest of the time. Many others have turned to charitable organisations, such as The Trussell Trust, which operates a vast network of food banks across the country. The NGO said it provided nearly three million emergency food parcels to people in difficulty between last April and March, a 37% increase compared to the previous year.
Despite the opposition, Buckingham Palace has said that "efficiencies" were found in key areas, such as reusing many ceremonial elements rather than commissioning new ones. Compared to the over 8,000 people attending the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, the ceremony for Charles III will be slimmed down to 2,300 guests. The British Beer and Pub Association estimates the coronation will generate an extra £120 million for pubs across the country, with the hospitality industry also expecting a significant boost. Government minister Oliver Dowden has previously insisted the government and the king were "mindful of ensuring that there is value for the taxpayer" and there will not be "lavishness or excess".
However, for activist Graham Smith, head of the anti-monarchy group Republic, the cost of the coronation is a "slap in the face for millions of people struggling with the cost-of-living crisis". "The coronation is a celebration of hereditary power and privilege, it has no place in modern society." Buckingham Palace has said that the "true figures" for the coronation "will be shared in due course", but a spokesman said a national occasion like this "does attract huge global interest that more than repays the expenditure that goes with it". The debate continues as to whether the cost of the coronation is justified or whether it is an unnecessary burden on taxpayers.