Elizabeth II 1926-2022 | Expensive funerals

The Queen’s death could cost the British economy “billions”.

Posted at 6:00 a.m.

(London) Big funeral, big bill.

As we prepare to bury Queen Elizabeth II, after 12 days of national mourning in the United Kingdom, some are beginning to wonder about the economic issues linked to the event.

The price of the operation has still not been disclosed by the government. But in the media, speculation is rife.

Some estimate that the funeral will cost between 9 million pounds (13 million CAN), and 30 million pounds (45 million CAN), while others mention outright several “billions”, The Economic Times going so far as to advance the sum of 6 billion (approximately 9.2 billion CAN)!

This impressive figure can be explained.

All the ceremonial surrounding the mourning and the succession (procession, burial, coronation) will cost a fortune. We are talking about 6.5 million pounds (9.9 million CAN), just for the security arrangements planned for the funeral, which will involve 10,000 police officers and the help of the army.

It is also estimated that the national holiday, decreed Monday for the funeral, will deprive the British economy of several million, even if tourist income will compensate for part of it. Not to mention the multiple costs of changing banknotes, coins, passports, stamps, etc.

Note: the expenses of this national funeral – the first since those of Winston Churchill in 1965 – will be covered by the State.

Ultimately, the note will therefore be passed on to the taxpayers.

Historic inflation

At other times, it would have been less shocking. But you should know that the United Kingdom is currently going through a historic cost of living crisis, with inflation approaching 10%, a record for 40 years.

Gas and electricity prices are on the way to exploding (announced 80% increase in the tariff ceiling!) and poverty is more visible than ever, while social discontent is beginning to rise.

Despite government aid promised 10 days ago by new Prime Minister Liz Truss, the English institute Legatum estimates that 1.3 million Britons could slip below the poverty line during the winter, bringing the total to more 16 million (one in five people) in the UK.

In short, the Queen’s funeral will do nothing to help an economy already weakened by soaring prices. According to projections by think tank Pantheon Economics and reported by Global News this week, the event could even end up pushing the country into a “technical recession” in the coming months.

Disturbing contrast: according to a magazine survey Forbes released last year, the royal family’s fortune is said to be £24 billion (C$36.7 billion), roughly the price of four state funeral celebrations. And his finances, opaque, continue to raise questions, particularly with regard to his tax privileges (taxes on inheritance).

Better use of that money

In the United Kingdom, however, this is not the time for criticism.

We are obviously waiting for the dust to settle before discussing this sensitive subject.

Sign of unease: charities, quite willing to comment on the cost of living crisis just a week ago, have systematically declined our requests for interviews regarding the lavish expenses of the event.

Despite everything, there are those who denounce this injustice. This is the case of Ann Murphy, head of a food bank in Vauxhall (central London), met Wednesday at noon.

This community worker, who is nicknamed Nanny Ann because she is like the mother of everyone in the neighborhood, has lived alongside poverty on a daily basis for years. She sees increasing misery, mental illness and that the number of “customers” for the Vauxhall food bank continues to grow because of the economic situation.

In this context, she says she is “outraged” by the scale of the funeral and considers that Buckingham Palace should have kept a little embarrassment.

“She deserved something big. But maybe not as big, she says, toasting a cigarette. We know it was Her Majesty the Queen. We know that 70 years on the throne is an achievement. But couldn’t we make better use of this money? Why not give a little to the homeless and people struggling to pay their bills? »

“People who are here wonder where all this money is coming from,” adds Emily Duff, a volunteer at the food bank.

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PHOTO JEAN-CHRISTOPHE LAURENCE, THE PRESS

Emily Duff, food bank volunteer

[Les gens] wonder why we manage to find 6 billion for a funeral while they are struggling to survive. For them, this situation makes no sense.

Emily Duff, food bank volunteer

Bitterness? Anger ? Neither, slice Emily. “Rather a feeling of weariness, and the impression that nothing will ever change. They don’t expect much anymore. What they see is that there is a reality for the rich and a reality for the poor. »

Despite everything, we don’t completely blame the royals.

Sitting on a parapet outside the food bank, pale-skinned and toothless, Dylan tells us that he swore allegiance to the Crown when he was in the army. It was a long time ago, in another life.

But for him, this oath must not be broken, injustice or not.

“She was my queen,” he concludes. there is nothing else to say. She was my queen…”

What’s going to happen on Monday

The Ardent Chapel ends Monday morning at 6:30 a.m. local time.

The Queen’s coffin will then be moved from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey on a Royal Navy carriage, for a ceremony attended by dignitaries and heads of state, including United States President Joe Biden, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and “royals” from all over Europe.

Then the coffin will be transferred to Wellington Arch, where a hearse will transport it to St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, a few miles from London, where the Queen will be buried in the evening and will rest alongside her husband and his predecessors. .

Completed in the XVIe century, the chapel has served as the final resting place of the kings of England since George III in 1820.

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Elizabeth II 1926-2022 | Expensive funerals