Meghan and Harry are good for business.
Fans of the British royals spent a staggering £21.7m ($27m) on commemorative royal china in 2018/2019—an 18 percent increase of £3.5m ($4m) from £18.2m ($23m). And Harry and Meghan’s wedding is believed to be behind a massive 26 percent rise in visitors buying tickets to visit Britain’s royal palaces.
The financial figures are contained in the freshly released annual report of the Royal Collection Trust (RCT), which, in addition to looking after the Queen’s vast art collection, also manages retail and commercial operations at the palaces. The figures were reported Friday in British papers, including The Daily Telegraph.
The report says the RCT received £72m ($89m) in income from record visitor numbers in 2018-19, including £48m ($60m) from admissions to royal palaces including Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, Windsor Castle, and Frogmore House.
However it is in the arena of retail sales that Harry and Meghan have had their most direct effect on the royal bottom line. The increased spending at the palaces’ gift shops, which included “noticeable growth” from online shopping “reflecting the popularity of royal wedding-related merchandise,” the report said. New lines included silk pajamas, eye masks, and scarves featuring corgis and crowns.
A range of special commemorative china was produced to mark the royal wedding, however there was no financial upside for the palace gift shops to be had in the birth of Archie Harrison; as he has not been given an HRH title, his birth was not celebrated with official china the way Prince George’s was.
Windsor Castle and Frogmore House received a significant boost from the attention lavished on them as the venue for the royal wedding, attracting an extra 200,000 tourists to total 1.7m visitors.
Special exhibitions themed around the wedding were also popular innovations. For example Royal Mews, an exhibition space near Buckingham Palace, where the carriage Prince Harry and Meghan Markle used for their open-air ride around Windsor was put on show. It took in £200,000 ($250,000) more from paying guests than the previous year.