British experts expressed hope that the upcoming wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton this summer could generate as much as $985 million in tourism, shlocky merchandise and sales of celebratory comestibles.
The speculation had the tone of Christmas morning anticipation in a country weary of recession, bank scandals and record unemployment. There were plenty of scolds, however, cautioning that it would be unseemly for the government to fork over the $120 million some have estimated the wedding could cost when so many people are facing unprecedented austerities.
It is most likely that Prince Charles will tap his $1 billion pound fortune from the Duchy of Cornwall Estate to fund the wedding of his eldest son, without asking for a contribution from the parents of the commoner bride, the Daily Mail reported.
Professor Gary Slapper, an English constitutional expert, told the paper that the tab could be legally paid with public funds, but given the monarchy’s need for public goodwill, that was unlikely.
“It will be difficult to suggest that a particularly extravagant wedding should be borne by the public.”
Even if Charles, whose 1981 marriage to Princess Diana topped $50 million, should pick up the tab, the security costs to taxpayers could run up to $20 million pounds.