The royal wedding made for a summer spectacle which captured the hearts of the world. In a somewhat unlikely union, an American TV star married a British prince less than two years after they started dating. However, amongst the cheer and joviality, the £32m ($45m) price tag also hit the headlines.
But the British taxpayer has always been the benevolent benefactor of the royals’ escapades, who have long lived a satin-clad life of luxury. Furthermore, with the news that Harry and Meghan are expecting, the astronomical cost of the pregnancy is equally baffling.
Seeing as we have neither a name nor a sex of the baby, I will henceforth refer to him as “baby Kevin” and believe me, this is going to be one expensive baby. His parents have already decided upon a hand-picked team of around 20 specialists to help with the pregnancy. The crack team of baby wranglers were reportedly subjected to rigorous interviews and had to complete several questionnaires in addition to thorough background checks.
Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Harry and Meghan) will turn one of their rooms into a nursery at their home in Kensington Palace’s “Apartment 1”. Of course, considering their starter home was an entire farm, “Apartment 1” is in no way an apartment. This 21-bedroom mansion is located on the west side of the palace and recently underwent a £1.4m ($1.8m) renovation.
While I was born in the same delivery room as my sister, it was novel that there was actually a picture of her on the wall. However, I’m a mere mortal and it would almost be surprising to hear that there aren’t any pictures of baby Kevin’s family members on the wall in the $9,750-a-night Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London. This is the private delivery room where both of his cousins were born. The en-suite rooms provide “a modern, homely environment in which to start your new or expanded family life," according to the unit's website.
The cost of this - excluding the recent renovations to Kensington Palace’s Apartment 1 - will be around £1.2m ($2m) according to OK. While the cost of the material goods would seem astronomical to most people, the bulk of the expenditure is going towards the team of specialists.
“She will have a huge team to make sure that all the bases are covered should anything go wrong," a source at the hospital revealed, according to the magazine. "There will be a team of people behind each speciality and everyone has been vetted in advance and sworn to secrecy." The 20-strong team are reportedly to give up alcohol around the time Meghan is expected to give birth, in case they are needed last-minute.
Again, the British taxpayer is thought to be picking up this considerable bill and while the majority of people will be delighted to see a happy, healthy baby Kevin delivered to his adoring parents, others will be grumbling about the enormous cost of the royal family.
In fact, Buckingham Palace release annual accounts to show how much they’re spending. The latest figures, which cover April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, show that head honcho HM Queen Elizabeth II received a 13 per cent raise.
However, it’s actually Prince Charles who costs the most - with a single trip racking up £362,149 ($469,905) of expenses. He used the family’s private jet, the RAF Voyager, to visit India, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore (on official royal business). He also used the royal train, the most expensive mode of transport, on seven occasions. While all these costs clearly add up, they pale in comparison to the almost £5m ($6.5m) Prince Charles spent overall, which was up 40 per cent from last year.
However, even this figure is eclipsed by the overall cost of the royal family which stands at around £345m ($450m) per year, according to campaign group Republic. This estimation is around 10 times higher than figures published by the royal family but includes their security bill, which is picked up by the metropolitan police, and the cost to local councils when they come to visit.
The £45.7m ($59.47m) sovereign grant which goes directly to the monarchy costs each taxpayer 69p on average. However, the royal family also receives money from their various estates and enterprises, the vast majority of which goes back to the treasury, in addition to private business from which they may keep the profits but do, of course, pay tax. For instance, their commercial property arm - the Crown Estate - returned £329.4m ($428.63m) to the government last year.
However, even the figure of £345m ($450m) is eclipsed by the estimated £1.1bn ($1.4bn) that the royal family brings in for the country. This figure is only arrived at after a plethora of complex calculations and estimations which include their PR value - which drives millions in tourism revenue.
While this has been a known phenomenon for decades, more recently, “the Kate effect”, "the George effect", "the Charlotte effect" and now "the Meghan effect" drive millions of sales in fashion and beauty and also generate thousands of stories for magazines, newspapers and websites. So baby Kevin is, as stated, going to be one expensive baby. But he’s also going to make a fortune.