Kate Middleton: The Princess and Her Budget

Even soon-to-be members of the royal family face sticky money challenges.

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Little girls now have a new role model in Kate Middleton, the popular soon-to-be princess of Britain. But unlike the fairy tale fantasy depicted in Cinderella and Snow White, real-life princesses face budgets, money awkwardness, and financial stress. Here are a few of the money challenges Middleton will face as she navigates her new royal title:

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Who will pay for the wedding?

While tradition dictates that the bride’s family usually foots most of the wedding bill, expense-sharing becomes more complicated when you’re marrying the future King of England. Royal officials have announced that Middleton will marry Prince William at Westminster Abbey on Friday, April 29; the high security demanded by the venue is only the beginning of the additional expenses. According to the official website of the British Monarchy, “The Royal Family will pay for the wedding, following the precedents set by the marriages of The Prince and Princess of Wales in 1981 and Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 1947.”

The AP reports that the Middleton family will contribute to the costs, as well, and that the public might be on the hook for security, but little else. Meanwhile, a survey by the Daily Mail found that 82 percent of respondents believe the Royal Family should pay almost all of the wedding expenses, and not taxpayers.

Will Middleton have any of her own money?

Just because Middleton will marry Prince William doesn’t mean she will sacrifice all of her autonomy. She will likely still have access to her own funds and bank account. Queen Elizabeth, Middleton’s future grandmother-in-law, maintains her own bank account, and the Sunday Times of London reports that there is an ATM machine inside Buckingham Palace. It’s not clear what the Queen spends that money on, since she has assistants to make every purchase on her behalf, as Middleton will, as well.

According to the book What’s in the Queen’s Handbag, Queen Elizabeth carries no cash in her pocketbook, instead filling it with keepsakes such as family photos and lucky charms. Middleton might choose to follow that example.

[For more money-saving tips, visit the U.S. News Alpha Consumer blog.]

Will Middleton be able to earn her own money?

Probably not. She is about to take on a full-time, challenging job as the wife of Prince William, which will probably occupy all of her time and energy, just as it does for first ladies in the United States. Middleton has pursued various careers in fashion, photography, and her parents’ party-product business, however, and she continues to work on her photography skills. She will likely pursue her photography and fashion passions as hobbies only, given the demands of her new position.

Is she allowed to buy whatever she wants?

Technically, she could, but her biggest restriction is the importance of winning the approval and love of the British people. Members of the royal family have felt forced to defend their very existence in recent years, given their expense and waning political importance. Queen Elizabeth has earned a reputation as being a very frugal-minded monarch, which has helped boost her approval ratings. In fact, the Times of London has reported that she collected coupons for her own wedding dress in 1947 and stores her cereal in Tupperware. If Middleton follows that example, she’ll probably win over a few of her more hesitant subjects.

Kimberly Palmer is the author of the new book Generation Earn: The Young Professional’s Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back.