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Royal wedding poll: Who should pay for Harry and Meghan? And who really cares?

Royal wedding poll: Who should pay for Harry and Meghan? And who really cares?
[Photo: Carfax2/Wikimedia Commons]

If monoculture feels like one of those quaint concepts that went out of style with the fragmentation of media some three decades ago, the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would at least seem to challenge conventional wisdom that a single cultural event can no longer capture our collective attention.

The royal wedding, set to take place on Saturday at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, has been a driving area of coverage at virtually every major media outlet for the last several days, with more angles and hot takes than any internet dweller should have to endure. It may seem like harmless voyeurism, but the allocation of resources–both from newsrooms and the British taxpayers who have to shoulder some of the costs–raises real questions about who should pay and whether the event actually warrants the level of attention it’s getting.

To help put those questions into perspective, the British anti-monarchist group Republic commissioned an online poll of about 1,600 people to gauge public sentiment, minus the bells and whistles of the Royal Wedding Media Industrial Complex. Depending on how much you personally care about the whole thing, the results may or may not surprise you.

Here are the key takeaways:

  • 66% of respondents said they are not interested in the wedding.
  • 57% of respondents said they think the royal family should pay the full cost of the wedding, including security costs.
  • 27% said they will watch some or all of the wedding online, on TV, or on the radio, and another 3% said they will watch it in person.
  • 76% of respondents said they would not want to contribute their own taxes to the wedding if given the choice.

Worth noting: The royal family has said it will pay for the wedding, although British media outlets report that security costs will fall on the shoulders of taxpayers. Estimates vary, but the entire affair could run in the neighborhood of $33 million to $43 million.

As an anti-monarchist group, Republic is naturally spinning the survey results as evidence that the wedding is more trouble than it’s worth. The group called it a “shock poll” in a blog post, but is it? Granted, 66% of people said they’re not interested in the wedding, but almost a third said they are–and that’s a pretty sizable percentage these days. Elections have been decided on less.

Also, that final statistic is not very compelling. If given the choice to pick and choose how our taxes are spent, I would venture to guess that at least 76% of people would choose not to contribute to many individual resources, but that’s not how taxes work. This is not to say that the poll doesn’t reveal a sizable lack of support for, or disinterest in, the British monarchy, but like anything else in the age of fragmentation, you have to take it with a grain of salt–and a little bit of spin.

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You can check out the full results here.

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