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The British public is ‘sick’ of the royal family and shouldn’t have to spend millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on Princess Eugenie’s wedding.
That’s the – perhaps unsurprising – view of the anti-monarchy pressure group Republic, which says this week’s wedding is further evidence of Britain’s growing indifference towards the royals.
Eugenie is to marry Jack Brooksbank at Windsor Castle, the same venue as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding, on 12 October.
Costs around the ceremony and reception – including the flowers, dress, food and drink etc. – will be footed by the Eugenie’s father, the Duke of York.
However, all security elements, such as additional policing and road closures, will be paid for by the taxpayer and are thought to be in the region on £2m.
Dani Beckett, Vice Chair of Republic, said: “For me, it’s not about the wedding, the dress or how she chooses to spend the money, as long as it is her money and not mine.
“Prince Andrew may very well pay part of the money but he is also funded by taxpayers’ money.
“There’s real fatigue now of the royal family, I think the British public is sick of being told that this is great.”
Ms Beckett added it remains very difficult for the public to find out what the royals actually spend their money on.
“The lack of transparency is intentional,” she said.
It is widely thought the royals have experienced a surge in popularity among the British public – driven predominantly by interest in the younger royals.
According to Ipsos Mori, which has run frequent polls about the popularity of monarchy for the past 25 years, 76% of Brits polled in 2016 said they want to keep the institution.
This was down from the 80% peak of royal popularity in 2012 (probably driven by the London Olympics) but compares favourably with anytime during the 1990s.
A poll by YouGov in May this year showed it is overwhelmingly the ‘top-tier’ Windsors who drive this support.
The Queen was named the most popular royal with a 92% approval rating, followed closely by her grandchildren Prince Harry (87%) and Prince William (83%). The Duchess of Cambridge (82%) also has a vast bank of supporters.
However, less ‘high-profile’ royals do not have anywhere near the same level of public support.
And Eugenie’s father, Prince Andrew, came in last place with only an 18% approval rate.
What about the wedding?
There is some evidence of a backlash against the scale of Eugenie’s wedding.
Princess Eugenie and her sister, Princess Beatrice, are no longer working royals and are therefore rarely in the public eye.
And because they no longer carry out any royal duties in the Queen’s name, that means they shouldn’t receive any public money.
Instead they are working royals with full-time jobs – Eugenie currently works as a director at Hauser & Wirth art gallery in London. Beatrice is employed at a US-based company called Afiniti.
A recent Good Morning Britain poll on Twitter showed that out of 8,150 people who voted, nearly 90% did not believe that the taxpayer should foot the security bill.
Security at Princess Eugenie's wedding next month will reportedly cost £2m. Should the public be paying?
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) September 18, 2018
And more than 34,000 people have signed a petition – set up by Republic – calling for the royals to cover the whole cost of the wedding, including the security.
The money trail
This is the second royal wedding in the space of just five months.
The cost of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day in May was estimated at around £32m by wedding planning service Bridebook, with security costs predicted at more than £30m.
In the run-up to the event, a YouGov poll showed 57% of Brits felt the royal family should pay not only for the wedding but also for the cost of policing.
On the day itself, around 18 million Brits, nearly one-third of the population, tuned in to watch the nuptials, which are thought to have given the local economy an £11m boost.
However, it is unlikely that this upcoming wedding will have anywhere near the same impact, with interest nationally and globally much lower – the BBC has even refused to broadcast the event because they do not believe enough people will tune in to watch it.