Lady Thatcher’s ceremonial funeral with full military honours cost the taxpayer an estimated £3.6m, Downing Street has said.
About £500,000 was spent on the service at St Paul’s Cathedral, a reception for guests at Mansion House, and the printing and circulation of invitations to the congregation of 2,300 guests.
The provisional figure includes £2m “opportunity costs” for police who would have been on other duties on the day. A further estimated £1.1m was spent on providing additional security and policing for the ceremony and funeral procession from the Palace of Westminster to St Clement Danes, the RAF chapel in the Strand, where Thatcher’s coffin was transferred from a hearse to a gun carriage and then given a military escort to the cathedral.
The scale of the funeral for Britain’s first and only female prime minister was for a politician second only to Sir Winston Churchill’s state funeral in 1965. It was attended by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, leading politicians and guests drawn from about 170 countries.
Her family are understood to have paid for the funeral flowers and the undertaking costs. No figure has been released for those.
The Cabinet Office said that the ceremonial costs of £500,000 also included costs incurred by the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office. The department is collating the final total of all public money spent and the confirmed figures are to be published before the summer recess, but are not expected to be vastly different to the estimated costs released on Thursday. The amount is considerably less than the £10m figure which had been suggested by some in the media.
More than 4,000 police officers were deployed in a huge security operation on the day of the funeral, on 17 April, two days after the Boston marathon bombings. Fears of major protests and disruption were not realised and there were no arrests.
Six police forces from outside London sent specialist officers to help with escorting foreign dignitaries.
Following the funeral service, Thatcher’s close family and friends, led by her daughter Carol, son Mark and his two children, attended a private cremation at Mortlake crematorium in south-west London.
Thatcher died on 8 April, aged 87, following a stroke while sitting in bed reading in the Ritz hotel suite she had been staying in while recuperating from a bladder operation.