weddings

Why the controversy around Princess Eugenie's wedding just keeps getting bigger.

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As the public learns about the details of Princess Eugenie’s upcoming wedding – to be held on October 12 – there’s a question that’s being asked with increasing frequency: is the extravagance really necessary?

The 28-year-old’s wedding to Jack Brooksbank will take place in St George’s Chapel, the same chapel that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry married in earlier this year, and will reportedly cost taxpayers £2 million ($3.4 million AUD).

These costs are thought to be purely for security – covering extra patrolmen and overtime charges, as well as additional firearms. Also included will be the cost to keep Eugenie, who’s ninth-in-line for the throne, safe as they make the open-top carriage procession down Windsor High Street a la Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

In a statement earlier this year, a spokesperson said, “Costs for security will be shared by individual police forces and the local council but all other costs for the wedding will be met privately.”

As the wedding date looms closer, we’ve also discovered more about the events surrounding it. Princess Eugenie’s wedding will be a two day affair, beginning with an 11am ceremony, and followed by a reception paid for by the Queen. Much like the last royal wedding, a second black-tie reception will follow – this time held at the York family home.

But it’s the second day of celebrations that’s causing the most controversy. At the Royal Lodge, the couple will host a festival-themed event. “There will be dodgems and funfair rides, coconut shies, lots of food stalls, loads of cocktails, Bloody Marys for the hangovers and a festival vibe,” a source told The Daily Telegraph

It’s expected that high profile guests will include Cara Delevingne, Ed Sheeran, and Sienna Miller.

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. Image: Getty.
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But the question, for many people living in the UK, is: why is £2 million for this event coming out of taxpayer dollars? Why are the public expected to support a family with an estimated worth, according to Business Insider, of $700 million?

The ways in which £2 million could be spent, for other worthy causes in Britain, is endless.

For that – you could house every homeless person in the UK for a week.

You could hire thousands more nurses. You could provide 10,000 hospital beds.

You could provide homes and food for refugees who have fled war torn countries, or build countless shelters to protect women escaping domestic abusers.

But instead, the money is being spent on a wedding. A two day wedding. With dodgem cars, and other expensive festival attractions.

Controversially, Princess Eugenie is also a private royal, meaning she's not required to participate in public engagements (apart from a select few), and doesn't play an official royal role. In fact, she has her own career in the art world.

In August, local UK Labour MP Chris Williamson labelled the public cost of the wedding “an outrage”.

“It really is an outrage when you’ve got people sleeping rough and gripped by poverty that people are indulging in this conspicuous consumption,” he said to The Mirror.

“They are as far as it’s possible to be from being real normal people. No one else gets their wedding paid for by the public purse and they’ve got the resources to do it themselves.”

Likewise, according to Town and Country, an antimonarchist campaign group named Republic has called for "no public funding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s wedding."

“The estimated £2 million for security is just the tip of the royal wedding iceberg," a spokesperson for the organization said.

“This money could be better spent and the government should act now in the interest of taxpayers and public services by calling for spending to be limited. The royals have shown time and time again that they can’t keep their royal wedding spending in check. Republic is calling on the government to publish a report of all costs to taxpayers so we know exactly how our money is being spent...I wish Eugenie and Jack all the best on their special day, but a debate about taxpayer funding of the minor royals is long overdue.”

What do you think of the cost of Princess Eugenie’s royal wedding? Should tax payers be required to foot the bill? Tell us in a comment.

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