Throughout history, the funeral business has been a consistent and steady field as society tries to find understanding behind death and what happens after we die. Religious ceremonies in honor of the recently deceased have grown from our ancient ancestors creating burial mounds, to modern-day church funerals and memorial services.
When someone of importance dies, bigger gestures are often shown in love and respect for the passed souls. Celebrity funerals have big business as the media covers the event, fans pour in to pay their respects, and large expenses are made towards the coffin, service and floral arrangements. Here are the top 5 most expensive funerals of all time, and just exactly how much they cost.
Princess Diana of Wales
When the beloved Princess Diana passed away suddenly following a car accident with the paparazzi, the world was in mourning. She was a princess of the people, with her funeral broadcast all over the world and watched by 2.5 billion viewers. Her funeral held on September 6th, 1997, cost $15 million in today’s currency, in comparison to the public average of a $10,206 funeral cost.
The ceremony was held at Westminster Abbey at 11:00 am British time, and lasted for approximately one hour and 10 minutes. Among the famous attendees were Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill, Hilary Clinton, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, George Michael, Luciano Pavarotti, Richard Branson, Mariah Carey, Nicole Kidman, and David Attenborough. Elton John performed the famous ‘Candle in the Wind’ for Diana’s memorial, touching the hearts of millions. Diana left a legacy of kindness behind in her two young princes William and Harry.
Michael Jackson’s death is one of those moments throughout modern history where nearly everyone can recall where they were and what they were doing when they found out. The King of Pop was a controversial figure, both loved for his music and hated for the allegations against him. As one of the highest-selling musical acts on the planet, it’s no surprise that Michael’s funeral was a high-end affair, carrying a price tag of $1,000,000. This wasn’t even for the massive fan memorial that was held after, but for the small, private burial with just his family.
George W Bush
Controversial former President Bush’s funeral proved that Presidential passings are expensive affairs. Costing upwards of $450 million in taxpayers lost productivity following the traditional Government shut down after the death of a President.
President Trump authorized Bush’s casket to be delivered on a modified Boeing 747 that serves as Air Force One, which costs $200,000 per hour to run. A 21 plane military salute added another $21,000 onto the bill. Passing on in 2018 at the age of 94, former President George W. Bush’s legacy continues through his political sons George Bush Jnr and Jeb Bush.
Grammy award-winning star Selena’s funeral had over 60,000 fans turn up to pay their respects to the fallen singer. In 1995, Selena was shot and tragically killed by her former fan club president and clothing label manager just two weeks before her 24th birthday and two days before her third wedding anniversary.
The reaction to the singer’s death was widespread, with radio stations across America playing her music non-stop. Whilst the figure for her funeral remains a mystery, the height of her celebrity would have made it a high cost. Her funeral showed just how rich in love the singer was, which is an important part of every funeral to remember.
Pope John Paul II
When a Pope passes away, the Vatican has some serious work to do. Paying respects to honor the former Pope John Paul II in the form of funeral and memorial services, and the election process of the new Pope, cost The Vatican $8.9 million. This cost included modifications of the Sistine chapel for the funeral, plus extra pay that was given to Vatican employees — a tradition after a Pope’s passing.