'She's worth every penny': £185,000 cost of Queen's visit revealed
A little more than £185,000 was spent hosting last year's royal visit to mark the start of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebration, it has emerged.
The costs to Leicester City Council and De Montfort University of welcoming the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duchess of Cambridge to the city in March were revealed in Freedom of Information requests, submitted by campaign group Republic.
The Queen chose the city to start her nationwide tour celebrating 60 years on the throne and sent a message of thanks to the people of Leicestershire, who turned out in their thousands to see her.
Republic has criticised the £85,851 expense of the visit met by the council and the £100,000 spent by the publicly-funded university.
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However, city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby and the university both said it was money well spent because of the high profile of the visit.
Sir Peter, who on the day received the royal party in front of thousands of people in a crowded Humberstone Gate, said: "It's great value for money. So many thousands of people from Leicestershire came to the city to enjoy the visit and they had the most wonderful day.
"It was a great honour for the city to be chosen by the Queen to start her jubilee tour. The cost was a small price to pay for having the honour of being the first place on the jubilee tour."
A city council spokesman said: "The scale of this visit, and the public interest it had generated, meant the crowd safety and security requirements were considerable.
"We took on-going advice from the police and the royal household.
"In the end, costs associated with road closures, barriers, security, crowd safety and associated staffing accounted for over £65,000 of the total costs to the council.
"It was a special moment in the city's history and a unique opportunity for us to show our strengths as a proud, diverse and modern city."
De Montfort University, which hosted the royal party for part of the visit, was yesterday unable to say what it had spent the £100,000 on.
In its Freedom of Information response it revealed the £10,000 had come from external sponsorship.
A university spokesman said: "We believe the money spent on hosting the visit was money well spent on a historic day for our students, staff and for the city.
"We also believe the visit will generate many more thousands of pounds in income for the university from students coming here as a result of the great profile we received."
He said that in the days immediately following the visit, media coverage reached more than 779 million people and had continued to bring attention to the university since.
"That included featuring in round-up of the year features broadcast on national television."
Republic, which campaigns for the abolition of the monarchy and its replacement with an elected head of state, said the money spent on the royal visit should have been used to protect council and university jobs or improve facilities.
Spokesman Graham Smith said: "There is no value for Leicester in these royal visits yet the council and university have wasted tens of thousands of pounds that could be spent on jobs and student facilities.
"Both the council and university are facing cuts yet they still went ahead and spent thousands of pounds on a single day.
"Jobs could have been saved with this money. Instead, it was wasted on celebrating our undemocratic head of state.
"Students facing possible cuts to resources will wonder why the university is spending £90,000 on a royal visit. This is part of a national pattern – when the royals come to town local taxpayers can usually expect to be left with a hefty bill."
Leicester Cathedral also hosted the royal party and provided lunch for them. The Diocese of Leicester, which is not required to answer Freedom of Information requests, said it was unable to say what it had spent on the royal visit.
It said much of its preparations were done by volunteers.
Leicestershire Police was asked how much it spent on managing the royal visit, but yesterday was unable to provide a figure.