Princess Eugenie’s wedding is stretching public support for the royal family “to breaking point”, campaigners have claimed, after nearly 50,000 people signed a petition protesting the cost to taxpayers.
Friday’s wedding, expected to leave police with a security bill of about £2m, could “damage the royals for a long time to come,” warned anti-monarchy pressure group Republic.
Eugenie is to marry long-term boyfriend Jack Brooksbank, a tequila brand ambassador, in a lavish ceremony in Windsor.
The cost of the wedding itself will be covered by the royal family, but the bill for policing, traffic management and stewarding will be picked up by the taxpayer.
Thames Valley Police is to deploy armed officers, specially trained search dogs, mounted horses, and high-visibility patrols in a major operation.
Eugenie and Mr Brooskbank will take a 1km open-topped carriage ride to Windsor following the ceremony at Windsor Castle’s St George Chapel. The decision has raised eyebrows because it requires road closures and will significantly increase the force’s costs.
Police will be using automatic number plate recognition technology and CCTV to monitor traffic and people entering the area, and has set up barriers to safeguard against vehicle attacks.
Thames Valley Police said it could not estimate the cost of its operation until after the wedding, but it is reportedly expected to be about £2m.
The force picked up a bill of between £2m and £4m when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wed in Windsor in May.
Republic urged the royal family to “step forward and pay up” the full cost of Eugenie’s wedding. It said the ceremony should be treated as a private event because the princess is not a working royal who carries out public duties.
“There is a strong feeling, even among monarchists, that we shouldn’t be paying for Eugenie’s big day,” a Republic spokesman said.
“Most Brits opposed taxpayer funding of Prince Harry’s wedding but as with all royal events were forced to accept it. But there’s something different about Friday’s royal wedding, and people aren’t happy.
“The monarchy is stretching its public support to breaking point. There’s a real risk Friday’s wedding will damage the royals for a long time to come.”
He added: “There is still time for the royals to step forward and pay up. It’s without question the right thing to do.”
More than 46,500 people have signed Republic’s petition calling for “no public funds” to be spent on the wedding.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment.
The Metropolitan Police spent £6.35m on policing Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton in 2011.
The cost included £2.8m on police overtime, with more than 5,000 officers on duty during the event.
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