The cost of reinterring the remains of King Richard III was just over £3.1 million.
The bulk of this – £2.54 million – was raised and spent by Leicester Cathedral on a major remodelling of the cathedral’s interior to create a space fitting for a former monarch. The majority of this money was raised through a £2 million fundraising effort (the other £500,000 coming from the capital funds of the Diocese of Leicester). The cathedral’s fundraising appeal closed recently having achieved its target.
The remaining costs – approximately £577,000 – have been borne by the four major organisations who worked in partnership with the cathedral and diocese on the reinterment. The University of Leicester spent £32,000 during reinterment week (largely on the ‘farewell’ service that took place on 22nd March). Leicestershire Police spent £86,500 across the week. The remaining £458,000 has been covered by Leicester City Council – £259,000 – and Leicestershire County Council – £199,000.
The High Court decision that King Richard III should be reinterred at Leicester Cathedral conferred a significant, once-in-a-lifetime responsibility upon the partnership that was set up to plan and manage the process. The Leicester Cathedral Quarter Partnership Board – comprising both the City and County Councils and also the University of Leicester, Leicester Cathedral and the Diocese of Leicester, all assisted by Leicestershire Police – saw itself as reinterring King Richard not simply on behalf of Leicester and Leicestershire, but on behalf of the whole nation. In this way, the Board saw the reinterment as a ‘local event’ to which the entire nation (and indeed, the whole world) was invited.
The national and international significance of this project, coupled with the fact that there was no precedent to guide the Board’s thinking and planning, meant that a very careful balance had to be struck between organising a reinterment week that reflected the status of Richard III as a former anointed King of England whilst, at the same time, acknowledging that, for local authorities particularly, these are still times of austerity. It would not have been right or fitting for the reinterment to be carried out ‘on the cheap’. Equally, however, it would not have been appropriate to spend vast sums of public money on the re-burial of somebody who died 530 years ago, albeit a former monarch. The Partnership Board believes it managed to strike the right balance.
The Board took an early decision that the reinterment service should be the centre-point of a week-long series of events that would give the people of Leicester and Leicestershire an opportunity to engage with this totally unique set of events and get close to history in the making. The Board also acknowledged and welcomed the tremendous amount of national and international interest in the King Richard III story and, in making the arrangements for reinterment week, wished to create an environment where visitors to Leicester and Leicestershire would be warmly welcomed and would see the Leicester and Leicestershire at their very best.
The city and county have both seen a very significant increase in the number of visitors since the start of reinterment week (22nd March). As a result, there will be a welcome boost to the local economy, an increase in the number of paying visitors to attractions such as the King Richard III Visitor Centre and Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre and a general increase in the sales of King Richard III merchandise across many city and county outlets. Work is currently being carried out on a detailed economic impact assessment to determine the value of reinterment week to the local economy and this will be published in due course. It is, however, expected to show benefits for the Leicester and Leicestershire economy of many millions.
Recognition should also rightly be given to the efforts of over 400 volunteers who, during reinterment week, provided such a warm and positive welcome to visitors and, without whom, the events would not have been possible. If given a monetary value, this volunteering effort would equate to tens of thousands of pounds, and the lasting legacy and impact on local people and local communities, in terms of stronger social capital, is hugely significant.
Leicestershire Police’s additional costs for the reinterment events between Sunday 22 March and Friday 27 March were £17,565. These costs are those incurred over-and-above the normal policing service and includes overtime, vehicle hire, food costs and payment for the services of the Mounted Unit of the City of London Police.
The total cost of the reinterment week to the Leicestershire Police operation was £86,500 but, because the Force reprioritised its resources, the vast majority of that expense was met within normal policing budgets. This included counter-terrorism searches, supporting the safety of the huge crowds and also the great honour of lining the route for the reinterment. The Force also used officers from the Special Constabulary wherever possible and received exceptional support from Specials during the reinterment events, especially on Sunday 22nd for the procession through the county and city.
With regards to the £458,000 that has been covered by the City and County Councils, the following list illustrates the wide range of largely unavoidable costs associated with organising a major national event such as this, particularly one which took place over a number of days and in multiple locations across the city and county.
Security and crowd management £59,090
Crowd barrier fencing £40,539
Additional local authority staffing costs £17,000
Bosworth Battlefield ceremony and village events (22 Mar) £60,850
Paramedics and First Aid £11,040
Reinterment procession £10,703
Street dressing – city and county £26,882
Volunteer costs (refreshments, expenses) £ 7,248
Closed Circuit Television £10,098
Leicester Glows evening event (27 March) £83,000
Temporary toilet facilities £ 9,135