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From The Socialist newspaper, 16 May 2018

Royal wedding opulence... during longest pay squeeze in 200 years

An anti-Monarchyprotesters at the last royal wedding in 2011, photo Paul Mattsson

An anti-Monarchyprotesters at the last royal wedding in 2011, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Bea Gardner, Southampton Socialist Party

The cost of Harry and Meghan's marriage will be 110 times that of the average couple - 1,785 times including security - according to estimates by wedding planner Bridebook. This extravagance is a window into the lives of the super-rich who have not suffered the decade of austerity we have.

It should be a national outrage that the taxpayer will fork out 300,000 on just one marquee for the night, when rough sleeping has more than doubled since Harry's brother got married in 2011.

They will move into a grace-and-favour 21-bedroom "apartment" in the grounds of Kensington Palace, says House Beautiful. Meanwhile, two-fifths of their fellow Millennials are still stuck in overcrowded and extortionate private rentals by the age of 30 (see 'Young people trapped in private rental').

Just a glance at the anticipated costs of the day exposes the bitter reality of class division in Britain. Almost a year's pay on the UK median salary will go on sausage rolls alone.

And Markle - a privately educated celebrity who is soon to be the Duchess of Sussex - is not subject to the fear and insecurity that face most migrants and refugees starting out in Britain. (See 'Royal wedding exposes them-and-us visa system'.)

But while many working class people will be seething at the inequality behind the headlines, the royal wedding couldn't have come at a better time for the Tories. They hope the round-the-clock coverage will distract the public, at least temporarily, from the catastrophe that is their weak and divided government.

Royal pageantry has long been used by the ruling class to divert attention from its problems - weddings in particular since World War One. But the capitalist establishment is foolish if it thinks a wedding is enough to soothe the effects of a decade of austerity.

In 2011, some might still have been clinging to nostalgic notions that we were "all in it together." But we are now in the middle of the longest pay squeeze in two centuries according to the Trade Union Congress.

We all know the super-rich have continued to get richer while we foot the bill. There should be no place in society for freeloading feudal relics. We say: stuff the wedding - abolish the monarchy - fight the cuts!

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