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For fans of the British royal family, 2018 has felt like a windfall. It’s only September, and the Queen has already welcomed two new great-grandchildren-Prince Louis and Lena Tindall, who arrived in April and June, respectively. And we’ve already seen our first royal wedding. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot back in May in a ceremony that was watched by just over 29 million people in the United States alone.
October will bring the second of two royal nuptials at Windsor Castle this year, when Princess Eugenie marries her fiancé Jack Brooksbank. But not everyone is so thrilled with the upcoming event.
Princess Eugenie is not a working royal. While she is the daughter of Prince Andrew and the granddaughter of the Queen, Eugenie does not carry out engagements in support of the monarch and does not play an official royal role.
On occasion she makes appearances at large family events such as the annual Trooping the Colour parade, but she has her own career in the art world. And yet, the public will pay for security at her wedding, a cost estimated to be around 2 million pounds, given her choice to take a celebratory carriage ride around Windsor after she and Brooksbank say "I do."
As a spokesperson shared in a statement earlier this year, “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.”
Even though the royal family, most specifically the Queen and Prince Andrew, will pay for the bulk of the day’s price tag, the security bill is causing controversy.
“Who’s heard of Princess Eugenie anyway?” Chris Williamson, a member of Parliament said in an interview with Sky News. “She carries out no royal functions, no useful purpose to the public sphere and yet we’re having to spend this kind of money.”
“There is no need to have such glamorous events," he continued, calling the cost "completely unacceptable."
Williamson isn’t the only one opposed to the taxpayer expense. More than 18,000 people have signed a petition addressed to the House of Commons requesting that the royal family pay for Eugenie's wedding in full.
"We petition the House of Commons to urge the Government to commit no public money to the wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, and to publish a report of all costs to taxpayers," reads the campaign, which was started by an Republic, an antimonarchist group.
Republic previously 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.”
But Eugenie shouldn't take Republic's stance too personally. They'd like to see the whole monarchy abolished in favor of a democratic republic.
At this point it is unclear if any anti-monarchist protests are planned for the day, but we'll be sure to update should one become announced.
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