Royal wedding is a billion-dollar business

Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle’s royal wedding this Saturday isn’t just the pop culture event of the year – it’s also a miniature industry worth more than $1 billion across multiple sectors of the U.K. economy, according to a brand consulting firm’s estimates.

The upcoming nuptials at Windsor Castle in England have caused an influx of spending on royal family-related tourism, retail, restaurants, fashion and merchandise, Brand Finance said. The brand valuation and strategy consulting firm estimates that the royal wedding will be directly responsible for 1.05 billion pounds, or $1.43 billion, in total spending.

“It is natural that Meghan Markle’s royal wedding is attracting a lot of attention across North America, both in her native USA and in Canada, where she lived for several years,” Brand Finance CEO David Haigh said in a press release. “But the event’s appeal extends far beyond those geographies. With the recession a memory of the past, global mobility increasing, the pound depreciated, and an incredible media interest in the event, tourist numbers are likely to exceed expectations.”

With a 3% rise in non-business visits to the U.K. by American tourists – a “conservative estimate,” according to the firm – the country’s tourism industry alone will see an estimated spending boost of 300 million pounds (roughly $405 million). The royal wedding will be worth roughly the same amount of money in free advertising for “Brand Britain” through international media coverage.

U.K. retailers and restaurants will earn a projected 250 million pounds (roughly $338 million) from spending by wedding revelers. Fashion brands associated with Markle are expected to see a “Meghan Effect’ worth 150 million pounds (roughly $200 million), while spending on Royal Wedding merchandise such as commemorative mugs or stamps will reach a projected 50 million pounds (roughly $68 million).

Haigh told MarketWatch that Brand Finance based its estimates on data from the 2011 edition of the royal wedding, when Prince William married Kate Middleton, as well as its own work with commercial brands.