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Going out in style: History’s most expensive funerals

by | Jul 6, 2016 | For Families

A bouquet of flowers in front of teal wood panels

A funeral service can come in many shapes and sizes. Some are simple, others spare no expense. Let’s take a look at some of the more elaborate — and expensive — funerals throughout history.

Elvis Presley

An estimated 80,000 fans came to pay their respects to the King of Rock N’ Roll when he died. The final bill for Presley’s funeral came in at $23,789.73. That’s no small sum for somebody that is still rumored to be alive.

Michael Jackson

Another “King” on our list. The King of Pop received a funeral service fit for royalty. Michael Jackson’s funeral ended up with a total bill of more than $1 million. Expenses included a crypt that cost $500,000 and funeral clothes that cost around $35,000. The extravagant funeral matched Jackson’s over-the-top personality.

Princess Diana                                

Ok, so what does a funeral cost for actual royalty? Princess Diana, beloved by people worldwide, received a state funeral that cost an estimated $11.9 million (that’s with inflation taken into account). The four-mile funeral procession brought more than 1 million people along the route, and more than 2 billion people tuned in worldwide to watch on TV.

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II was an extremely popular figure of the Catholic Church. The attendance of his funeral was more than 3 million, making it one of the largest recorded funerals. As dignitaries and pilgrims came from all over the world, extra security measures had to be taken. The total cost of the funeral was close to $8 million.

Kim Il-sung

The infamous dictator had a pretty lavish state ceremony. The impoverished country spent $1 million alone to preserve the dictator’s body, with an extra $800,000 annually spent in the upkeep of his body since his death in 1994. If that wasn’t enough, the costs associated with the funeral also included a $100 million conversion of an assembly hall into the dictator’s personal mausoleum.

Alexander the Great

According to the history books, the most expensive funeral recorded belongs to Alexander the Great. Not too surprising for someone with a title like “the great,” but just how much was Alexander’s funeral bill? Rumor has it, after converting into today’s money, the final bill for Alexander’s funeral was around $600 million. A solid gold casket, a gold chariot, and even a brand new road built from Persia to Egypt for the funeral procession all contributed to the costs.

Do you know of any other famous extravagant services? Let us know in the comments below!

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