The BBC has announced that it will waive licencing fees for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s upcoming wedding, which will be broadcast live on the channel, as it’s a special broadcast of national importance.
“I’m delighted to announce that we have decided to offer a one-off dispensation for the Royal Wedding on May 19,” Pipa Doubtfire, the BBC’s head of revenue management said in a statement.
Doubtfire noted that a dispensation to waive the licensing fee for a television broadcast could be granted in exceptional circumstances, “so long as the viewing is for the sole purpose of screening an event which is judged by the BBC to be of national importance.”
The upcoming Royal Wedding meets that criteria and allows “the public to enjoy live coverage of the occasion at special events like street parties, where TV is not usually watched, without needing to buy a licence.”
In regular circumstances, if any premises wants to air a programme from the BBC, they’d need to be licenced to broadcast TV in order to do so.
This will allow people watching from street parties, pubs, agricultural shows, and other special events designed to celebrate the Royal Wedding to see the nuptials live.
According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, there have been applications for 60 street parties in Bromley, 54 in Richmond and 12 in Reading. Hundreds more are planned throughout the UK.
The wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also saw its licence fee waived by the BBC. When they married, there were a reported 5,500 street parties throughout the UK.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry on 19 May at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Following the ceremony, they will take a carriage ride through the town of Windsor before a reception back at St George’s Hall.