Meghan Markle says UK made £1bn out of wedding to Prince Harry

Meghan Markle claims Britain made a profit out of her £32million wedding to Prince Harry because it made £1BILLION in tourism windfall

The Duchess of Sussex has claimed that her royal wedding to Prince Harry at Windsor Castle raised more than £1billion in tourism revenue for Britain.

Meghan Markle also said the income generated for the public purse ‘far outweighed’ the contribution of taxpayers’ money towards crowd security in May 2018.

The claim was made within the latest documents released as part of her High Court battle against The Mail On Sunday over an article which reproduced parts of a letter she had sent to her father Thomas Markle in August 2018. 

UK taxpayers contributed to the estimated £32million cost of the wedding, although the church service, flowers and reception were paid for by the Royal Family.

The majority of the estimated figure – £30million – was funded by the taxpayer and mostly spent on security measures, including costs on protecting Windsor with a heavy police presence, crowd control and restrictions placed on businesses.

Prince Harry and Meghan after their wedding at Windsor Castle in Berkshire on May 19, 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan after their wedding at Windsor Castle in Berkshire on May 19, 2018

Meghan’s legal team said they had already confirmed that she had been ‘a working member of the Royal Family and to some (relatively nominal) extent publicly funded’.

Her lawyers also said the royal wedding was ‘not, in fact, publicly funded, but rather personally financed by HRH The Prince of Wales’ – Harry’s father Prince Charles.

The submission added: ‘Any public costs incurred for the wedding were solely for security and crowd control to protect members of the public, as deemed necessary by Thames Valley Police and the Metropolitan Police.’

However, consulting firm Brand Finance previously estimated that the royal wedding would provide a boost to UK tourism of only £300million. 

The experts said at the time of the wedding that the £1billion figure would only be reached if other sectors of the economy such as retail and fashion were factored in.

Harry and Meghan ride in an Ascot Landau after their wedding ceremony in Windsor in 2018

Harry and Meghan ride in an Ascot Landau after their wedding ceremony in Windsor in 2018

It estimated an overall boost to the UK economy of £1.05billion, which also included £300million in public relations value, £250million for retail and restaurants, £150million for the fashion industry and £50million on merchandise.

Experts at Bridebook, who calculated the £32million wedding cost figure, also found that Meghan’s dress, the flowers, food and drinks came in at nearly £1million.

They said 20 silver-plated trumpets to announce the event would come in at £90,000 and the glass marquee for the evening reception would cost £300,000.

The lemon elderflower cake from Violet Bakery in East London was estimated at £50,000, while flowers at Windsor Castle cost about £110,000.

Harry and Meghan wave as they ride through Windsor on a carriage following their wedding

Harry and Meghan wave as they ride through Windsor on a carriage following their wedding

Other costs footed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport included about £230,000 on a PA system and £4,000 on staff travel and expenses.

The Government also paid £1,084,512 to the local council for “stewarding, crowd control barriers, big screens, waste disposal, barriers and associated costs”.

Tourism authority VisitBritain also estimated that about 50,000 Americans were in the crowds lining the roads in Windsor and enjoying the atmosphere in London for the wedding.

Retailers in the capital had expected a £60million sales boom from tourist spending.

Mugs featuring the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are pictured on sale in Windsor. The royal wedding is thought to have boosted the economy in merchandise sales by £50million

Mugs featuring the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are pictured on sale in Windsor. The royal wedding is thought to have boosted the economy in merchandise sales by £50million

Airbnb said people would rake in £12million from renting out their properties, while extended hours for pubs meant an estimated £10million sales boost according to the British Beer and Pub Association.

Brand Finance has also said the Royal Family generates at least £2billion of annual revenue to the UK economy from promoting endorsements to bolstering power. 

The couple are said to be worth about £24million according to Money.com, while Meghan is believed to have accrued a net worth of £4million from her acting career.

The Duke and Duchess have now signed up with a top American public speaking agency which has a raft of A-list clients on its books.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ride in an Ascot Landau after their wedding in May 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ride in an Ascot Landau after their wedding in May 2018

As part of their break with the Royal Family, Harry and Meghan will earn their own income and they are expected to do so in part by giving speeches.

It is thought the couple wish to focus on social issues, including racial and gender inequality, the environment and mental health.

They have now signed up to the Harry Walker Agency, reported the Los Angeles Times. Founded in 1946, it bills itself as the ‘world’s leading speakers bureau’.

The New York-based agency already has a string of famous faces on its books including former US presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

In recent months Harry and Meghan have both taken part in video calls with charities they support and are planning to launch their charitable foundation Archewell.

The Duchess of Sussex has also provided a voiceover for a Disney film about elephants that was released in April.

Prince Harry is working with Oprah Winfrey on an upcoming series on Apple TV.

Earlier in June Meghan told graduates at her alma mater Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles that she was saddened by racial divisions in the US and that she was moved to speak out following the death of George Floyd.

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