Flashy funerals: The world’s most expensive funerals ever
When it comes to that final send-off, it is extraordinary the lengths and the expense to which some people may go. It is not just the final resting place – think of the great pyramids of Egypt – but the pomp, ceremony and majesty of getting there.
For most of us, of course, our concerns about meeting the ever-increasing costs of a funeral are rather more modest – and the modern development of prepaid funeral plans has brought with it the opportunity of paying for the final farewell at today’s prices, rather than the inflated prices of tomorrow.
Taking a look down the long history of expenditure on lavish send-offs, however, there are some which were never destined to be covered by even the most imaginative or forward-looking of prepaid funeral plans.
Ever one to court outrageous behaviour when he was alive, Michael Jackson’s funeral could be said to be similarly over the top.
According to American sources, the total affair cost around a million dollars, and featured a crypt that cost half a million whilst funeral costumes alone ran to $35,000.
If he really is still alive and well somewhere, the “King” might be forgiven a smile to reflect on the fact that more than the equivalent of some £18 million is reputed to have been spent on his send-off in a funeral which attracted some 80,000 fans.
Pope John Paul II
From King to Pope, John Paul’s funeral drew a massive crowd of more than three million pilgrims – probably the largest funeral party on record, requiring a security operation to match.
The cost was of the whole affair was more than an estimated £6 million.
From Kings to Popes and Princesses, the funeral for the “Queen of Hearts” attracted more than one million people to line the route of her final journey for a ceremony that is said to have drawn more than two billion television viewers worldwide.
At today’s prices, the total expenditure on her funeral is estimated to have been more than £9 million.
Not to miss out on lavish expenditure when it comes to state funerals, some US Presidents also claim record sums on the amount spent.
According to the American website Success Story, a massive $400 million (that’s the equivalent of more than £300 million) was spent on his funeral in 2004.
Reclusive as the North Korean dictatorship may be, no expense is spared when it comes to the funerals of members of its dynasty.
Having ruled the country with an iron fist from 1994 to 2011, supreme leader Kim Jong-Il was embalmed by Russian embalmers specially flow in for the occasion and laid to rest in an intricate glass casket – to the tune of some million pounds – before finding his final home in the so-called Towers of Eternal Life.
Alexander the Great
The top prize for what is believed by some to be the most expensive funeral ever goes to Alexander the Great – and that was some 2,300 years ago.
A golden chariot, a gold casket and a funeral procession along a specially built road from Persia to Egypt all helped to take the bill – in today’s money – of an estimated £450 million or so.