The Royal Wedding and the cost of a monarchy

I realise this post comes quite late after the Royal Wedding has taken place at 29 April, but I was lazy with blogging and I’m clearing my backlog now. When I was in Nepal at the time the event happened I kept in touch with the news and read a lot about the subject. Obviously, prince William and Catherine Middleton do not know the meaning of the word humility. What makes them even more despicable persons is that they expended a lavish amount of money on their wedding at a time when the average Briton has to cope with budget cuts. Many sources give wildly different figures of the cost of the wedding depending on which kinds of expenditure and income are taken into account, for examples see MSNBC,  ABC News, CNN and the Daily Mail.

What is more interesting is that I learned about the British republican organisation Republic when I read the news on the subject. Their website is very convincing, the website of the Dutch Nieuw Republikeins Genootschap looks unimpressive by comparison. The website of Republic gives an interesting rebuttal of common arguments in favour of a monarchy, but most interesting is the section on Royal Finances. One of the most common arguments against a republic is that ‘a president would be just as expensive as a monarchy’. In the past I’ve been trying to find statistics to disprove this argument, but didn’t succeed as that data is difficult to find. Their report does supply this information. It turns out that the Dutch monarchy is one of the most expensive monarchies, even if they’re far behind the United Kingdom. And Ireland has a president which costs them £1,8 million. I do wonder though what their source is for the costs of the Dutch monarchy. I couldn’t find the data in a primary source, but RTL Nieuws reports that our monarchy cost us € 119 million in 2008, which translates to more than £104 million. That’s more than the figure of £88,3 Republic mentions in their report.

The morale of the story is that it doesn’t matter if government is a constitutional monarchy or a republic, both can be as expensive or as cheap as you want. From a Dutch viewpoint, I’d say that while our monarchy isn’t going away any time soon, we could take an example from our Scandinavian and Belgian neighbours. Given that they spend far less on their monarchies, we could subject our monarchy to serious budget cut. But it’s not just about money, even if a republic were more expensive I’d gladly choose it over a monarchy because of democratic principles.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *