Most and least extravagant funerals
24 April 2015
Some of the most expensive funerals of all time have been for political leaders, celebrities and royalty.
Funerals are generally extravagant when the deceased is famous or well known. For the general public, a funeral is more about being remembered.
Most recently, one of the biggest funeral events was for the passing of Michael Jackson. The king of pop sadly passed away in 2009 and his funeral was held and televised from the Staples Centre in Los Angeles. There were many celebrities in attendance as well as musical performances, almost making the funeral a concert in itself. Jackson’s funeral is estimated to have cost around $1 million.
One of the most expensive funerals in recent history was that of Ronald Reagan. It is estimated to have cost $400 million all in all, mainly because the day of the funeral was declared a national day of mourning by George W. Bush, who was president at the time. This paid day off for federal workers meant that taxpayers took a blow. This was also following the fact that Reagan’s coffin had been on display in the capital, where over 100,000 mourners had been to visit, which burdened the capital financially as well. The state funeral was held in the Washington National Cathedral and eulogies were given by dignitaries, there were many world leaders in attendance which added to security costs.
The least extravagant funerals would be pauper’s funerals. Back when they were introduced, a pauper’s funeral was paid for by the poor law and they still exist today for those with insufficient funds or assets. The law states that the local authority has a duty to fund a funeral if there is no next of kin or traceable family. If family is found, and they do not have sufficient funds then a simple funeral is held by the local authority. These are often preceded or followed by cremation of the body. To reduce public expense with these funerals, tenders are often put out to funeral directors so they can take on the arrangement of them. Friends and family are welcome to attend these funerals but are not allowed any say in the organisation of it e.g. timing or date.
Pauper’s funerals, now often known as public health funerals, are often very simple yet dignified. A simple service is often followed by a cremation or a burial in an unmarked grave, which often used to be reused up to three or four times.