As the UK grapples with a cost-of-living crisis and widespread strikes on the pay, some Britons have questioned why taxpayers are footing the bill for Saturday’s lavish coronation of King Charles III.
“They got the money, why are they taking it from me?” asks Delaney Gordon, a 50-year-old building site manager.
The cost of the coronation has been kept secret and the total amount is not likely to be revealed until after Saturday’s event.
By some estimates, the cost would be between £50 million and £100 million ($63 million and $126 million) on top of the cost of the massive security operation.
“I’m spending 26p (0.33 US cents) on my lunch today,” Gordon tells AFP, showing a bread roll he just bought from a north London supermarket.
Another Londoner, Eden Evitt, says she cuts costs by cooking only two days a week and eating sandwiches the rest of the time.
“We are not living the same life as before…people are struggling,” says the 38-year-old. “Some people are not eating at all. It is very difficult.”
Others have turned to charitable organizations such as The Trussell Trust, which operates a vast network of food banks across the country.
The NGO said it provided nearly three million emergency food parcels to people in distress between last April and March – a 37 percent increase from the previous year.
– ‘slap in the face’ –
King Charles in December donated an undisclosed amount to a charity in memory of his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, helping those unable to pay fuel bills and personally donated £1 million to food banks Donated
However, with the fate of the royal family sitting on the line, a recent poll indicated that many Britons do not want the coronation to be funded by the taxpayer.
An April YouGov poll said 51 per cent of respondents believed Charles and Camilla’s coronation ceremony should not be paid for by the government.
Buckingham Palace has said the “true figures” for the coronation will be “shared in due course”.
But a spokeswoman said such a national occasion “attracts huge global interest that more than pays for the expense that goes with it”.
The British Beer and Pub Association estimates that the coronation will generate an additional £120 million for pubs across the country, with the hospitality industry also expected to receive a significant boost.
Government minister Oliver Dowden had previously insisted the government and the king were “conscious of making sure there is value for the taxpayer” and there would be no “grandiosity or excess”.
Charles III’s ceremony will be limited to 2,300 guests, compared to the more than 8,000 who attended Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953.
Buckingham Palace has also stated that “efficiencies” were found in key areas, such as reusing many ceremonial elements rather than introducing new ones.
But for Graham Smith, a leading activist for the anti-monarchy group Republic, the cost of the coronation is “a slap in the face of millions of people struggling with the cost crisis”.
“A coronation is a celebration of hereditary power and privilege, it has no place in modern society.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)